The New England Patriots will be without their starting right tackle for at least the next three games.
The Patriots on Wednesday placed Jermaine Eluemunor on injured reserve. Eluemunor exited Sunday’s 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos with an ankle injury after quarterback Cam Newton landed on him while being sacked.
A bottom-of-the-depth-chart guard in his first season with the Patriots, Eluemunor surprisingly earned the starting right tackle job in training camp following Marcus Cannon’s opt-out, and he’s performed well thus far.
The 25-year-old has allowed one sack and three total pressures in 80 pass-block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, and is PFF’s sixth-highest-graded run blocker among tackles. Eluemunor also boasts the sixth-highest overall PFF grade in his position group.
Eluemunor has started four of the Patriots’ five games this season, sitting out their Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with a migraine. Sixth-round rookie Justin Herron started in his place.
Expect either Herron or fellow sixth-rounder Mike Onwenu to get the nod Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, depending on the status of New England’s interior O-line. If center David Andrews and right guard Shaq Mason both can play, it likely will be Onwenu.
The Patriots designated Andrews, rookie linebacker Josh Uche and defensive tackle Beau Allen to return from IR after all three practiced Wednesday. The team has 21 days to add them to their 53-man roster, and all three are eligible to play against San Francisco if activated.
Mason, defensive tackle Byron Cowart and outside linebacker Derek Rivers all were removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday after missing Sunday’s game.
The severity of Eluemunor’s injury has not been reported. If healthy — and barring any additional COVID-related scheduling changes — he will be eligible to return for New England’s Week 10 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
Eluemunor, who started his career with the Ravens, hinted on Twitter that he plans to be back by then.