New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn tore his Achilles on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles and will miss his entire rookie season. It’s always terrible to see a player lost to an injury, but hopefully he’ll be able to return at full strength in 2019 and be a contributor.
Wynn was competing for a starting job at tackle and he also offered value on the inside at guard. While Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon are the presumed starters at tackle and Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason are the expected starters at guard, Wynn was the top back-up for all of those positions.
This injury changes the entire Patriots depth chart and could alter their initial roster combination.
Cannon is still sidelined with an injury that could put his availability in week 1 in jeopardy, so LaAdrian Waddle is now thrust into the starting lineup. The rest of the tackle depth chart consists of seventh-year veteran and 21-game starter Matt Tobin and six-year veteran and 3-game starter Ulrick John.
Cole Croston also offers value as a tackle, while starting guard Joe Thuney could kick outside in a pinch as the depth on the interior appears to be a little stronger.
I would expect Tobin to be the top back-up and his added versatility and history as a starting guard helps his case to make the roster. Prior to Wynn’s injury, Tobin was a long shot to make the roster. Factor in Cannon’s injury and Tobin is probably a coin flip decision.
This affects the rest of the offensive line, too, as Wynn was practicing as a starting left guard when Thuney was sidelined with an injury in the spring, implying his role as a top back-up guard. While Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason are roster locks, this re-opens the door for multiple of Ted Karras, Cole Croston, Luke Bowanko, Brian Schwenke, James Ferentz, and Jason King to make the team.
The Patriots typically have nine offensive linemen on their roster, but they’ve experienced with eight to free up another roster spot if they have a super-sub that can back-up both the tackle and guard spots (five starters, one back-up tackle, one back-up interior, and one back-up super-sub). Waddle and perhaps Karras or Croston or Tobin were the favorites to be the positional back-ups, while Wynn was likely to be the super-sub.
But with Wynn out, do the Patriots still have a super-sub? I would argue yes with both Croston and Tobin capable of covering multiple roles on the offensive line. With Cannon battling an injury, I wouldn’t be surprised if both were able to make the team in addition to the positional back-ups (Waddle and Karras are my picks).
Losing Wynn shouldn’t affect the Patriots’ ability to win or lose in 2018, but it does hinder the development of a player that was trying to find his place as an undersized tackle in the NFL. I hope that he’ll make a full and speedy recovery so he can pick up where he left off and continue to develop into a starting offensive lineman.