The New England Patriots currently have 89 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s two first-round rookies.
Name: Isaiah Wynn
Position: Offensive tackle / Guard
Jersey number: 76
Opening day age: 21
Size: 6’2, 310 lbs.
2017 review: Despite successfully serving as Georgia’s starting left guard in 2016, the team decided to move Isaiah Wynn to left tackle prior to the 2017 season. And just like he did on the interior, he also dominated on the outside: starting all 15 games, Wynn was named first team All-SEC and second team All-American after allowing just five quarterback pressures and no sacks and also being one of the best run blockers in all of college football.
The senior lineman, who served as a permanent team captain, dominated against some of the best teams in the nation and was a key member of the Bulldogs’ usually productive offense. Wynn was able to do that by playing with excellent, pro ready technique in both run blocking and pass protection. Despite his height-deficiencies, he was therefore able to consistently win at the point of attack and move defenders out of the way.
Wynn, an impressive player in space with outstanding moving abilities, was a standout despite playing through a shoulder injury. After undergoing surgery following the season, he was forced to essentially sit out the scouting combine. Nevertheless, he still entered draft season as a projected first-round selection – which is exactly what he became when the Patriots chose him with the 23rd overall pick.
2018 preview: Wynn’s rookie campaign was off to a good start: after he was forced to sit out OTAs, he saw plenty of reps in training camp and eventually became a realistic candidate to start the year as the number three offensive tackle. Competing primarily against LaAdrian Waddle for the top backup spot at right tackle, Wynn rotated in and out of the lineup during practice and later his lone preseason performance.
However, the 21-year old played only nine snaps in the game before it came to a bitter end – as did his first season in the NFL: Wynn tore his Achilles tendon late in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles and will likely be placed on the season-ending injured reserve list soon. He will therefore spend the 2018 season rehabbing and trying to get ready for next year; a year in which he might play a considerable role along the offensive line.