Isaiah Wynn called this year’s College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama the best game he played as a Georgia senior. He’s not wrong.
The New England Patriots draft pick was fantastic in his final game as the Bulldogs’ starting left tackle, manhandling a Crimson Tide defense that was overflowing with NFL talent.
As we project what Wynn will bring to the Patriots, who selected him 23rd overall with their first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, let’s revisit the dominant conclusion to his collegiate career.
— Many draft analysts predict the undersized Wynn (6-foot-3, 313 pounds) will need to move to guard at the NFL level. That still might be true, but his relatively long arms (33 3/8 inches) and success at tackle in the SEC (26 pressures allowed on 2,609 college snaps, per Pro Football Focus) suggest a position change might not be necessary.
Against Alabama — the best competition college football has to offer — Wynn played every offensive snap without allowing a single sack, quarterback hit or pressure. He spent most of the game matched up against Rashaan Evans (22nd overall pick), Da’Ron Payne (13th overall), Da’Shawn Hand (fourth-round pick) or sophomore Quinnen Williams.
The Tide still managed to sack Jake Fromm four times in their 26-23 overtime win, but none of those came against Wynn. He was the best player on Georgia’s O-line, and it wasn’t close.
— Wynn’s footwork, awareness and patience as a pass blocker are some of his greatest assets, and all of those were apparent on film against Alabama. Here’s one example against Evans, who tries to elude Wynn (left tackle, No. 77) with a spin move:
Here’s another against Williams, whom Wynn diverts behind Fromm, allowing the QB to complete a strike downfield on third down:
— Wynn’s lateral quickness is impressive. Safety/cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick — another first-round draft pick — tried to beat him twice with blitzes off the edge, and both times, Fitzpatrick wound up on the ground.
— Wynn is known more for his skills in pass protection than his run blocking, but he did a fine job clearing the road for fellow Patriots first-round pick Sony Michel, who finished with 98 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Watch here as he double-teams down on Payne — whom he called the best defensive lineman he faced in college — before getting to the second level to seal off Evans:
On this next play, Wynn, who started at left guard as a junior before switching back to tackle, pulls around the tight end to wall off cornerback Anthony Averett, giving Michel a lane to scamper for a first down.
— Transitioning from college to the pros is a big adjustment for every NFL rookie, and we should expect Wynn to experience some growing pains, especially if he’s asked to immediately replace Nate Solder as the team’s starting left tackle. But after seeing him perform this well against Alabama’s uber-talented defense, fans certainly should be optimistic about the young lineman’s potential.
Here are Wynn’s full title game highlights, courtesy of Cut Up Corner:
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images