The first day and round of the 2018 NFL draft are over and saw the New England Patriots surprise many by staying put at picks 23 and 31 and investing in its offensive depth: The team drafted two members of the Georgia Bulldogs in offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel. We will have plenty of analysis on the duo in the coming days and weeks but for now let's take a look how their arrival impacts the Patriots' current roster.
Winner: QB Tom Brady
After seeing his blindside protector and number one running back option leave via free agency this year, Tom Brady has to feel good about New England's day one haul. The team addressed both positions by adding Isaiah Wynn, who despite being undersized is a tremendous pass protector to fill Nate Solder's shoes, and Sony Michel – a running back that had outstanding production in college and could take over Dion Lewis' former role as an early-down back.
Losers: RB Mike Gillislee & RB Jeremy Hill
Adding Michel to the fold puts pressure on the Patriots' backup running backs, namely Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill. The duo was far from a lock to make the 53-man roster even before the Georgia running back was drafted, but now it would be a surprise if both survived roster cut-downs – not necessarily because Michel is a similar back but more because of the number: It seems unlikely that New England keeps both Gillislee and Hill considering that Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead will all be on the team in the fall.
Winner: LB Kyle Van Noy
There was a lot of pre-draft chatter that the Patriots would invest in one of the top linebacker options in the draft. Once Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaad Evans came off the board, however, the team was no longer in a position to add first-round talent to the second level of its defense. This paired with the quality drop-off after the top-tier linebackers bodes well for Kyle Van Noy's prospects at again starting alongside Dont'a Hightower.
Winner: OG Joe Thuney
When New England lost the aforementioned Solder to the open market, it also lost one of the anchors of its offensive line – an experienced, high-quality player that helped stabilize the left side even when guard Joe Thuney was suffering from growing pains. While the experience will no longer be there, Wynn adds plenty of talent particularly as a pass protector and run blocker. This, in turn, should help Thuney continue his growth even without Solder lining up on his outside shoulder.
Loser: The offensive tackle group
With the Patriots investing a first-round pick in Wynn, the battle for the starting left tackle spot might already be over. After all, the 21-year old is as pro-ready as they come and can be inserted into the lineup right away. This, of course, means that New England's depth players will have little chance at actually earning a starting role right now: LaAdrian Waddle, Antonio Garcia, Andrew Jelks and Cole Croston will instead fight for what appears to be at best two backup spots.