The New England Patriots are simply stockpiling offensive linemen at this point.
It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s a significant amount to give up for Brown. On the draft trade value chart, the 95th overall pick is worth 120 points, and the 143rd overall pick is worth just 34 points. The 86-point differential is the equivalent of a top-five pick in the fourth round.
Brown played right tackle with the 49ers, and it’s hard to envision him playing anything other than that or guard in the NFL because of a lack of elite athleticism. He certainly has the size at 6-foot-8, 355 pounds. The Patriots already have Marcus Cannon at right tackle, Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney at guard, David Andrews at center and no clear-cut left tackle.
Wynn could play left tackle, as could Antonio Garcia or LaAdrian Waddle, but all come with question marks. Wynn is undersized at just 6-foot-3, Garcia is coming off an illness that kept him out all of his 2017 rookie season, and Waddle mostly has played right tackle in the NFL. It’s also not ideal to move Cannon to left tackle.
So, what happens now with Brown if neither he nor Cannon can play on the left side?
The Patriots already appeared to have plenty of depth at offensive tackle with Wynn, Garcia, Waddle, Cole Croston, Ulrick John, Matt Tobin and Andrew Jelks. Brown certainly is a step above most of those players as a legit NFL starter, but he’s currently blocked by a better player at his ideal position.
Brown’s contract is cheap at $1.9 million, but he has just one year left on his deal.
DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline reported Friday that Brown reported to the 49ers “terribly out of shape” and that San Francisco has “reservations about him off the shoulder surgery.” That’s why they drafted Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey ninth overall.
Brown is worth a flier as a starting-caliber offensive lineman, and it was smart to trade for a veteran offensive tackle. But the equivalent of a fourth-round pick is more than just a flier.
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said after the first round that the Patriots simply will put the best five offensive linemen on the field. That’s easy to say now, but there’s a certain degree of athleticism and length needed out of a left tackle.
It does seem the Patriots will have an open competition to replace Solder. Wynn, Garcia, Waddle, Croston and maybe even Cannon and Brown will be part of that battle. And the best man will come out on top come September.