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2019 NFL Draft: 3 reasons why the Patriots drafted West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste

Draft update: The Patriots select OT Yodny Cajuste with the 101st overall pick.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at West Virginia Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots closed out a busy second day of the 2019 NFL Draft by select West Virginia offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste. Tackle was a big need for the Patriots and Cajuste is a good project player for offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

The Patriots still have seven picks to make on day three of the draft, with three picks in the fourth round and four picks in the seventh round. Cajuste fills a major need and gives the Patriots a lot of freedom to take the best possible players in the final day of the draft.

Here’s why the Patriots drafted Yodny Cajuste.

Offensive tackle was a major need

Right tackle Marcus Cannon turns 31 years old in May. That’s the entire list of Patriots offensive tackles with real NFL experience. Projected starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn tore his Achilles and missed his rookie season. Then there’s, uh, Cole Croston and not much else.

The 6’4, 312-pound Cajuste is immediately the third-best offensive tackle on the roster with a legitimate chance to start over Wynn due to his size. Regardless of who wins, there is now viable competition at the position and the position should be set for the foreseeable future.

Yodny Cajuste has a ton of upside

Cajuste allowed a total of 1 sack and 2 quarterback hits over his two seasons as a starting left tackle, per Pro Football Focus. He is agile on his feet and is also able to sit down against power rushers. Some good coaching can really elevate his game to the next level.

There are some concerns. He’s not the most flexible player and has suffered from a pair of season-ending knee injuries that ended his freshman and sophomore seasons, and didn’t participate in the combine due to a quad injury that required surgery.

But Cajuste was the last quality offensive tackle prospect on the board. He’s a good project pick.

None of the tight ends are that good (...?)

Some Patriots fans might be upset that the Patriots haven’t added a tight end. A reasonable thought: none of the prospects are good enough to beat out Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo, or Matt LaCosse, so why not wait for another draft class or free agency class that is better than this year’s.

Or, who knows. Maybe the Patriots have some other trick up their sleeves where the tight end position is less-emphasized in exchange for two running back sets. Maybe Rob Gronkowski will come out of retirement.

Whatever the case, Cajuste is a great pick and the “why Player X instead of a tight end?!” argument should be saved for the selection of Damien Harris.


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