By Tim Graham
New England Patriots left guard Logan Mankins' importance to the Patriots was plainly illustrated when he stood up to head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft and got away with it. In 2010, Mankins didn't report to the team until Week 9 because of a contract dispute. The next season, the Patriots made him an offensive co-captain along with Tom Brady.
Mankins is a mauler and known as one of the fiercest competitors in crunch-time situations like goal-to-go and third-and-short. He is a substantial reason why they can put darn near any running back on the field and get production on the ground. In Makins' seven seasons, five different backs have led the Patriots in rushing.
STATS Inc. tagged Mankins for 5.5 sacks allowed last season, the most of his career. He also had a career-high five false starts. But Mankins played next to four different centers and was forced to start at left tackle once because of injuries across the offensive line. Over the last seven regular-season games, the Patriots changed their starting center four times.
Mankins has been a Pro Bowler four of the past five seasons. Even though he played only nine games in 2010, he was voted first-team All-Pro. The Patriots averaged 19 more rushing yards per game with him in the lineup that year. He has been selected second-team All-Pro three times, including last season.
In his seven seasons as a pro -- all as a starter -- the Patriots have finished in the top 10 in total offense six times.
Selected in the first round (32nd overall) in the 2005 draft.
Hint about No. 8
If you filter only the AFC East representatives who appeared on the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2012 list, then he rated much higher than No. 8 in the division.
Picks to date
9. Logan Mankins, Patriots left guard
10. Cameron Wake, Dolphins outside linebacker
11. Fred Jackson, Bills running back
12. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets left tackle
13. Kyle Williams, Bills defensive tackle
14. Sione Pouha, Jets defensive tackle
15. Jairus Byrd, Bills safety
16. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots receiver
17. Stevie Johnson, Bills receiver
18. Reggie Bush, Dolphins running back
19. Jerod Mayo, Patriots inside linebacker
20. Randy Starks, Dolphins defensive lineman
21. Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots right tackle
22. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots tight end
23. Marcell Dareus, Bills defensive tackle
24. Antonio Cromartie, Jets cornerback
25. Eric Wood, Bills center