The New England Patriots invested considerable resources in their offensive line last offseason: the team drafted Isaiah Wynn with the 23rd overall selection, one day before acquiring Trent Brown via trade. Eleven months later, however, the group — one of the NFL’s best during the 2018 season — is facing questions yet again: Brown has left via free agency, and Wynn is coming off a season-long stint on injured reserve.
Together with starting right tackle Marcus Cannon turning 31 next month and the club losing swing-backup LaAdrian Waddle to the Buffalo Bills, it is therefore unsurprising that the position is yet again rather high up on New England’s list of pre-draft needs. It seems like the Patriots agree: they expressed interest in offensive linemen such as Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom and Kansas State’s Dalton Risner.
Now, they are taking a closer look at another highly-touted lineman: according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, the Patriots are among fourteen teams to meet with and work out Washington offensive tackle Kaleb McGary. While not on the same level as other offensive line prospects such as the aforementioned Lindstrom or Risner, McGary brings plenty of experience and upside as a tackle or guard to the table.
An All-Pac 12 selections each of the last two seasons, the 24-year-old has ideal size and strength to find success as an offensive tackle at the next level. He also comes with plenty of experience after starting 43 games at right tackle for the Huskies. And while McGary needs to work on his technique to consistently win against NFL-caliber pass rushers and run stoppers, his upside could be intriguing for the Patriots and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
Consequently, the reigning world champions might view the developmental prospect — a potential day two selection — as an investment worth making: depending on where the Patriots see him, McGary could either serve as a long-time replacement for the aforementioned Cannon, help fill the void created by Brown’s departure, or maybe even take over for Joe Thuney in case he leaves via free agency next year.
The Patriots will reportedly also work out Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram: according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the reigning world champions are among eight teams to express interest in the 22-year-old at this point in time. Abram projects to serve as strong safety at the next level, and stands out due to his excellent run defense, tackling, and physicality at the point of attack — a player similar to the Patriots’ Patrick Chung.
Chung, of course, is a core member of New England’s secondary but will have to fight his way back from broken forearm suffered during his team’s Super Bowl win. Even though the veteran defender is expected to return to full strength soon, his age — Chung will turn 32 in August — could make drafting a developmental player in the mold of Adams an under-the-radar priority for the Patriots.