With the 23rd pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn out of the University of Georgia.
The Tennessee Titans leapfrogged the Patriots to get the 22nd pick in order to draft Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, who many expected to be on the Patriots radar. With Evans off the board, the best players available were Boston College EDGE Harold Landry, LSU RB Derrius Guice, Georgia OL Isaiah Wynn, Iowa CB Josh Jackson, and Michigan DT Maurice Hurst.
Wynn is a 6’3, 313 pound left tackle that is expected to convert to guard in the NFL and played left guard in 2015 and 2016. Wynn is coming off surgery for a torn labrum, but still performed at a high level during the Senior Bowl despite the injury.
The Bulldog lineman is an incredibly ferocious blocker that graded out as the best tackle in the SEC, according to Pro Football Focus. There is speculation that the Patriots think Wynn could play tackle in the NFL based on that success in the SEC, and he was announced as a tackle when selected, but he’s a couple inches shorter than all the star tackles, so there’s a clear question of fit. Where will Wynn play for the Patriots?
If Wynn is actually a tackle for the Patriots, then there’s a clear spot in the starting lineup at left tackle, giving the Patriots an offensive line of Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Marcus Cannon. The top back-ups would be LaAdrian Waddle and Tony Garcia at tackle and Ted Karras on the interior.
However, if Wynn is deemed too short to play tackle- and that’s definitely possible- then he would have to move inside. There’s a chance that Wynn could play left guard and Thuney could play left tackle. Remember that Thuney was a star tackle at N.C. State in his final year.
There’s also a chance that Wynn could not earn a starting job in 2018 if Tony Garcia is actually in the best shape of his life or Waddle wins the job. That would allow Wynn to be a super-sub as a rookie and serve as a back-up plan at right guard if the Patriots are unable to sign Shaq Mason to an extension.
Wynn wouldn’t be the shortest tackle to have success in the NFL. Over the past decade, players like Charlie Johnson, Willie Colon, Marshall Newhouse, and Kelvin Beachum have been able to start at tackle and play at a high enough level.
But the odds certainly aren’t in Wynn’s favor to be a dominant left tackle at his height, and perhaps a move inside to guard could work in his favor, similar to Logan Mankins’ move to left guard back in 2005.