The New England Patriots addressed one of their biggest needs with their first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, drafting offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn out of Georgia. Wynn fits the Patriots perfectly, as his versatility allows the Patriots multiple options when creating the 2018 offensive line.
Breaking Down How Isaiah Wynn Fits the New England Patriots
One of the best features of Wynn’s game is his versatility. Anybody who knows anything about Bill Belichick knows that he loves players that can do multiple things. Wynn bleeds versatility, as he played at both guard and tackle in college.
How the Patriots will use him is anyone’s guess. For what it’s worth, the team introduced Wynn as a tackle. However, just a few hours after making the Wynn selection, the team traded for former San Francisco 49ers right tackle Trent Brown. Wynn even said that the Patriots didn’t tell him which position he’d play, so let’s break down what he offers at both positions. It is Belichick, after all, so he’ll likely see time in both roles.
Wynn at Tackle
The reason Wynn wasn’t touted as one of the best tackles entering the draft is because of his size. At 6’2”, Wynn is undersized relative to the prototypical NFL tackle. Factor in that the Patriots former left tackle, Nate Solder, was 6’8”, and there’s a staggering height drop at the left tackle position.
However, look past the height factor and there are several reasons to believe in Wynn as a left tackle. Looking purely at his measurables, his arm length of 33 3/8” compares very favorably with the other top tackles in the draft. By comparison, Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, the first tackle off the board, has an arm length of 34”.
Looking at his on the field play, Wynn held up against the best competition. Playing left tackle his whole senior season, Wynn allowed just five pressures all season long. By comparison, McGlinchey and fellow top-15 selection Kolton Miller allowed 16 and 15 pressures, respectively. While the previous two were drafted ahead of Wynn, Wynn actually had the better 2017.
His height will be his biggest obstacle to success, but it’s not an unclearable hurdle. Before Solder, Purdue University product Matt Light served as Tom Brady’s blindside protector. Light was “only” 6’4”, which is just a 2” drop from Wynn’s listed height. Light is arguably the best left tackle in Patriots history, so shorter left tackles succeeding in Foxboro isn’t unprecedented.
Outside of his height, Wynn has everything you want in a left tackle. Every other measurable matches up nicely with a prototypical left tackle and his game tape suggests he could be a star. Despite being drafted in the first round, Wynn could be a steal. Were he four to six inches taller, he probably would have been drafted within the first ten picks.
Wynn at Guard
While Wynn spent his senior season at tackle, he spent the rest of his college tenure at guard. It was his work at that position which first made him a top prospect, even before declaring for the NFL Draft. As a college recruit, Wynn was ranked as a top-10 guard prospect before signing with the Bulldogs.
As previously mentioned, Wynn’s build comes closer to a typical guard. Frankly, if the Patriots do opt to have him at guard, he should immediately become one of the best in the entire NFL. Wynn possesses the build of a guard with all the other measurables that make him a starting-caliber left tackle. He has the strength to handle bull rushes, while also possessing the quickness to handle the quicker interior pass rushers that have become prevalent in recent years.
Frankly, there’s no wrong decision for what to do with Wynn. He should excel at either position, and could easily be a longtime fixture on the Patriots offensive line. If New England uses him at tackle, then he should be an upgrade from LaAdrian Waddle and keep Brady upright for the duration of the season. If he starts at guard, then he and Shaq Mason should combine to be one of the best guard duos in the league. Runs up the middle would be borderline unstoppable with that duo.
Selecting Wynn wasn’t the popular pick, and not too many people expected it to happen. However, this selection was a great one, as Wynn should make an impact as an immediate starter on the offensive line. At age 41, keeping Brady upright has never been so important, and Bill Belichick took care of his quarterback with this selection.