By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots’ roster turnover extends to a key offensive position in 2019. On the offensive line, four spots are set in stone – but the door to left tackle remains open for 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn.
After Trent Brown’s departure for the Raiders and a quiet start to NFL free agency at tackle, the Patriots appear to be pegging Wynn as Tom Brady’s blind-side protector for 2019. And, as reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Wednesday, Wynn has been a regular at Gillette Stadium. Most players won’t report back to Foxborough until the official start of offseason workouts in April.
The 23rd overall pick a year ago, Wynn missed his entire rookie season due to a torn Achilles suffered in Week 2 of the preseason. Unfortunately, he was playing in an unfamiliar spot at right tackle on the play that injured him. But merely trying him on the right side is a sign of his intelligence and versatility, and of Dante Scarnecchia’s confidence in Wynn and desire to find a role for him so early in his career.
Despite Wynn’s 6-foot-2, 310-pound frame projecting more like a guard at the NFL level, he played left tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs and regularly faced NFL-caliber competition in the SEC. So you can expect the Patriots to at least attempt to park him on the left edge.
“He’s played left tackle in the best conference in America. Played it pretty good,” Scarnecchia said last May (via Mike Reiss). “We’re going to take a look at it, and see how it goes.”
The Patriots didn’t just lose their left tackle. Swing tackle LaAdrian Waddle signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills, leaving Cole Croston as the only other feasible option at left tackle. Croston should get an opportunity to make the 53-man roster in Waddle’s role. But it may also behoove the Patriots to sign a depth free agent or draft a tackle in April.
Barring a setback, the likelihood is that the Patriots move forward with Wynn seizing the left tackle role. With the rest of the O-line maintaining continuity, Wynn will be the key to whether they can repeat their excellence as a unit in 2019.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.