FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots needed to take an offensive tackle at some point on the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft. They waited until their last pick in the third round to take West Virginia’s Yodny Cajuste at 101st overall.
Prior to selecting Cajuste, the Patriots had Cole Croston, Cedrick Lang, Ryker Mathews and Dan Skipper backing up projected starters Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon. That wasn’t ideal.
Cajuste, who’s 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, didn’t work out before the draft after a quad surgery. Cajuste started 31 games at left tackle for the Mountaineers. He missed parts of two seasons with knee injuries early in his career with West Virginia.
Cajuste didn’t allow a sack during his senior season, according to Pro Football Focus. He let up just two quarterback hits and 10 pressures in 11 games.
Cajuste allowed just three sacks in his entire college career. Two of those came when he was starting as a freshman. He allowed just four quarterback hits and 32 hurries in 31 career games.
Cajuste has 34-inch arms. Pro Football Focus graded him well as a run and pass blocker.
Cajuste only played left tackle at West Virginia, but draft analysts believe he could move to right tackle in the NFL. He could have the ability to serve as a swing tackle, backing up both Wynn and Cannon in the NFL.
There’s also no guarantee Wynn can step in from Day 1 as a starter at left tackle. He didn’t play as a rookie after tearing his Achilles in the preseason. Cajuste could even compete with Wynn for the starting role at left tackle with an impressive spring and training camp.
It’s possible Cajuste would have been valued and drafted higher if he had been able to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine and at his pro day. If Cajuste can get and stay healthy, he could wind up being a steal at the end of the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.