Isaiah Wynn went down in the second preseason game last night, and now for two straight years, the Patriots have lost their top draft pick before the regular season. Last year, guys like Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler stepped up to help the D-line, but the extra depth that Rivers could’ve provided might’ve helped in the playoffs. Similar to Rivers, the Patriots were hoping that Wynn wasn’t going to start anyway, but let’s take a look at what his loss means to the team.
While Wynn wasn’t expected to start, neither was Nate Solder when he was drafted in 2011. He ended up started the Super Bowl at RT when Vollmer went down with an injury. Depth is something that is key for every football team, especially on the line. If one of the starters gets hurt, or Cannon’s rehab takes longer than we thought, the main backup is LaAndrian Waddle. He’s been fine since the Patriots brought him in, and he did well when Cannon went down last year, but he’s not great. After Waddle, it’s basically a huge pile of crap. You never want to be in a situation where you’re 4th tackle is garbage, and that’s the situation they’re in right now. After Waddle it’s Matt Tobin, Ulrich John, and Cole Croston. John and Tobin are mediocre at best, and Croston is a guard who has been working at tackle. That doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
One other to consider is Trent Brown and Shaq Mason will be free agents at the end of the year. If the team had a chance to see how Wynn would perform for a full season, they would be able to make an easier decision about the future of the offensive line. One has to assume that, based on the money he’ll be offered, Mason will be walking at the end of the year. Wynn was considered to be a guy who could play both tackle and guard, so the team would know if they could replace one of those two with him, and what else they would need to get next offseason. Now they have the same questions they started this year with, and they will have to either spend to keep Mason and/or Brown or let them walk and hope they pick the right position for Wynn.
With all that considered, there are guys that would have had a much larger impact on this year’s team that could’ve gotten hurt. The real cost of Wynn’s injury is depth and being able to go into the offseason in the best position as possible. Let’s just hope that Cannon and Brown can stay healthy, and it won’t effect this year too.
Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior Podcast
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Photo: NBC Sports