New England Patriots: Seven 2019 NFL Draft predictions
By Hal Bent
The Patriots DO draft two offensive linemen
One position where depth is a concern is along the offensive line. The Patriots are not likely to spend another first-round draft pick on a tackle after taking Isaiah Wynn at No. 23 overall last year. However, they do need additional young talent on the edge and in the interior of the offensive line.
As of now, the Patriots are set for the next few seasons with right tackle Marcus Cannon signed to a team-friendly contract through 2021, Wynn through 2022 (if Patriots pick-up the fifth-year option) at left tackle, guard Shaq Mason through 2023, and center David Andrews through 2021. Left guard Joe Thuney is a free agent next year, but the expectation is the Patriots will find a way to ink the NFL iron man to a long-term extension.
Behind those starters, though, is a lot of questionable depth.
The Patriots have lost four tackles in free agency over the past four seasons, with left tackles Nate Solder and Trent Brown taking turns being the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history, and back-ups Cameron Fleming and La’Adrian Waddle leaving in free agency as well. The depth at offensive lineman now is limited to Cole Croston at tackle and then a bunch of practice-squad types. On the interior there are few known quantities, and no future starters to replace Thuney down the road or in case of injury.
Look for the Patriots to grab a tackle early (second or third round) while looking for a guard in the fourth round (they do not have a fifth-round pick right now, but “Trader Bill” could change that pretty quickly). With three third-round draft picks and a fourth-round pick stockpiled, the Patriots should be able to add depth to their offensive line this year.