The New England Patriots offense is undergoing a partial rebuild for 2019 season. With Rob Gronkowski’s retirement and an overhaul at wide receiver, there’s obvious holes to fill.
But the most gaping void with perhaps the biggest question mark – left tackle.
The Patriots acquired Trent Brown ahead of last season on a one-year deal, and the 6-foot-8 athletic behemoth impressed enough to get a record contract in Oakland. Along with Brown, the Patriots drafted Isaiah Wynn in the first round to add depth at the position.
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However, Wynn tore his Achilles in the preseason and missed his entire rookie year. Now working his way back and nearing full health, Wynn is set to be the Patriots’ starting left tackle.
There’s a little doubt amongst fans over Wynn’s overall ability and lack of proper dimensions for today’s left tackle. But his skillset should not be forgotten as the former Georgia lineman is set to prove the doubters wrong.
You Shall Not Pass
Isaiah Wynn was among the most dominant pass blockers in college football during his four years at Georgia. According to Pro Football Focus, Wynn played 1,104 snaps at offensive linemen for the Bulldogs, allowing 20 QB hurries, four sacks, and only two QB hits.
Those stats combine his time playing at left guard and left tackle. We’ll get to his versatility shortly, but he downright bullied pass rushers and hardly allowed any pressure on his quarterbacks.
During his Senior Bowl performance, he raised the eyebrows of many pro scouts, including NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock. Considering he played through a torn labrum as a senior while still transitioning to left tackle, there’s no doubting his toughness and ability when healthy.
Inside And Out
Yes, Wynn’s height is the most glaring concern when looking at him for left tackle. He stands only 6-foot-2 and was recruited originally as a guard. But he transitioned to the outside as a senior and didn’t miss a beat.
Other than his height, he meets all the average criteria for an NFL left tackle. He’s a perfect size for a left guard should the Patriots choose to go that route, though all signs point to Wynn playing outside and Joe Thuney as the guard right next to him.
And that versatility could pay dividends when it comes to injuries or different protection packages. Wynn is comfortable shifting to the inside if needed and would allow for an additional lineman to be positioned on his outside for a goal-line package or short-yardage rush.
Size Doesn’t Matter
When he first arrived at Georgia, head coach Kirby Smart was not impressed by Wynn’s presence but was swayed given Wynn’s talent on the field.
With Wynn as a left tackle, Georgia went 19-2 including an SEC Championship for the 2017 season. He’s even drawn rave reviews from Patriots’ defenders already without having played a regular-season snap.
In his return to camp, he has looked comfortable going against NFL-caliber players, showing his mobility in run protection and saw his most competitive snaps against pass-rushers. In time Wynn will become one of the top linemen in Patriots history and could already be among the best in the NFL.