Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots could go in one of several different directions with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but their poor play on the offensive side of the ball has had them linked to some of the top quarterback and wide receiver prospects this class has to offer.
However, their once-impenetrable offensive line has started to show some cracks in recent years. With Joe Thuney and David Andrews scheduled to hit free agency, New England could look to upgrade over first-round pick Isaiah Wynn at left tackle.
Wynn, who was picked alongside teammate Sony Michel in 2018, has proven to be a solid tackle, but could his injury history have New England considering if it’s wise to put all of their eggs in his basket? If Wynn hasn’t convinced the Patriots he can be the guy at left tackle for the next decade, will they swap him out for a younger player?
Jeff Howe of The Athletic thinks that Wynn’s inability to stay healthy could convince the Patriots to use their No. 15 pick on a left tackle. With a deep class at that position this year, it certainly doesn’t seem out of the question.
Will the Patriots draft a tackle and figure out something else with Isaiah Wynn?
While Oregon’s Penei Sewell will be far outside New England’s draft range, and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater is starting to work his way into the Top-10 discussion, New England is by no means bereft of options at LT. Virginia Tich’s Christian Darrisaw, Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz, and Texas’ Samuel Cosmi could all be future Patriots.
Wynn has proven to be an extremely reliable pass protector when he’s on the field. Unfortunately, he’s not on the field enough. Wynn has played in just 18 games in three years due to injury, and he is still being discussed as a candidate to shift inside to guard given how short his arms are.
Tackle is important, but the Patriots are currently operating without a long-term solution at quarterback and one of the worst groups of wide receivers in a league that’s trending towards throwing the ball more than ever before. Those two boxes need to be checked before a pick as quality as No. 15 gets burned elsewhere.
Tackle is a need that Belichick will absolutely need to address at some point in the draft, but they need to either get a franchise quarterback or a new No. 1 receiver before they think about replacing Wynn. If he can’t get it done in 2021, New England can look to what should be a very deep class in 2022 to replace him.