Arguably the biggest question mark on their current roster, the New England Patriots’ offensive tackle position is in line to see some significant turnover this offseason. The group, after all, disappointed in 2022 and is in need for some longer-term perspective and quality play especially on the right side.
Luckily for the Patriots, they should be in position to pick up a quality player this year either in free agency or the draft. If they go the latter route, there are several candidates worth to be considered in the first or second rounds — and a few of those have recently met with the team.
According to a report by Evan Lazar of patriots.com, the team’s representatives interviewed three of the top five prospects at the position at the NFL Scouting Combine: Ohio State’s Paris Johnson, Georgia’s Broderick Jones, and Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison.
Johnson Jr. and Jones will both be drafted in the first round, and might even come off the board ahead of the Patriots’ selection at No. 14 overall. Both of them, after all, combine enticing athletic traits with a very high ceiling; they project as possible Day 1 starters in the NFL and would immediately upgrade what New England has available right now.
At 6-foot-6, 313 pounds, Johnson Jr. offers ideal size and combines it with explosiveness and an impressive motor. His potential also is relatively untapped: he spent only one season at left tackle at Ohio State, beginning his college career at guard.
Jones, meanwhile, spent his entire career with the Bulldogs at tackle; he began on the right side before eventually settling in on the left. His combination of size (6-foot-5, 311 pounds) and outstanding base-line athletic talent makes him a virtual lock to come off the board in the first round.
For comparison, Harrison might be a potential Day 2 option for the Patriots. A fringe first-rounder, he is a bit on the shorter side at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds and needs some development to reach his potential. However, he offers plenty of experience and can become a quality starter in the NFL as well.
Johnson Jr., Jones and Harrison are among the top offensive tackle prospects in this year’s class. They are joined by Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski and Ohio State’s Dawand Jones — two players very much also on New England’s radar.
Adding to the position will be key for the Patriots in the coming weeks. While starting left tackle Trent Brown is still under contract for another season, he is joined on the current roster by in-season pickup Conor McDermott and sophomore Andrew Stueber. Isaiah Wynn, Yodny Cajuste and Marcus Cannon, who all started games at right tackle at one point in 2022, are all headed for free agency.