FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots are never short on surprises.
Most of the NFL considered Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, who played left tackle in college, a guard. The Patriots drafted him No. 23 overall and announced him as a tackle. Hmm.
Wynn is just 6-foot-3 (6-foot-2 and 3/4 inch, to be exact), 313 pounds, but he has 33 3/8-inch arms, which are the same length as last year’s third-round pick Antonio Garcia, a tackle. Wynn allowed just five total pressures on 328 pass-blocking snaps at left tackle in 2017. He let up two sacks, no QB hits and three hurries.
The Patriots’ biggest need is at left tackle. They let Nate Solder walk in free agency and have Garcia, LaAdrian Waddle, Cole Croston, Matt Tobin, Ulrick John and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart to potentially replace him. Marcus Cannon is entrenched at right tackle.
The Patriots could at least try Wynn out on the blindside over the summer. If he can’t play the position in the pros, then they could always move him to guard. The Patriots likely are a year away from needing a right guard since Shaq Mason is entering free agency in 2019. Wynn could even potentially overtake Joe Thuney as the Patriots’ starting left guard in 2018.
Wynn started one game at tight end as a freshman, eight games at left guard and five games at left tackle as a sophomore, 12 games at left guard in 2016 and all 15 games at left tackle in 2017. The SEC is a tough place to play, and Wynn proved he could play left tackle against the toughest competition. But the NFL is different, and pro teams value length at offensive tackle. Nate Solder is 6-foot-8. The Patriots’ previous left tackle, Matt Light, was undersized at 6-foot-4. A 6-foot-3 left tackle is a different story altogether.
The Patriots are masters of keeping the masses guessing. And we’ll be left guessing where Wynn will line up until the Patriots publicly take the field in late May for organized team activities.