By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Yodny Cajuste says he’s coachable. Good thing he landed with two of the best in the business.
The Patriots’ new offensive lineman, who should be in the mix for a significant role at tackle as a rookie, was asked during his introductory conference call last week about his biggest strength as a player. His answer didn’t involve anything physical, but an intangible quality that could go a long way for him in New England.
“I would say I work extremely hard. I take coaching. I would say that would be my biggest strength,” Cajuste said.
Cajuste is long and athletic, widely described as having the tools to be an effective left tackle in the NFL. It’s a matter of refining those tools, and who better to learn from than Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia?
“I always knew about Dante Scarnecchia and the guys he’s coached, so that’s how I knew about him,” said Cajuste. “I know he’s one of the greatest football coaches in the NFL right now. I’m just ready to learn as much as I can from him, soak up as much as I can from him.”
The ability to take coaching is often under-appreciated, especially when it comes to rookies and new draft picks. Physical abilities take precedent over most everything else because they’re right there in front of you. Coachability doesn’t usually send prospects flying up draft boards because players like that are everywhere. But there’s value to be found in players like Cajuste, whose physical talents give him a chance to outperform his fourth-round draft stock under Scarnecchia’s tutelage.
What makes the former West Virginia left tackle an interesting pick for Bill Belichick is that he’s generally projected as more of a pass-protector than a run-blocker. Belichick typically likes all of his offensive linemen to open running lanes with aplomb. Cajuste has the potential to excel in both areas thanks to his athleticism, but protecting Tom Brady should be his No. 1 priority.
The potential is there. Fortunately, he’s a guy who’s willing to take the coaching that Scarnecchia is going to give him. That’s a good omen for a 2019 Patriots squad with relative uncertainty at left tackle.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.