Could Isaiah Wynn’s absence from OTAs change Patriots’ O-line?

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 18: Isaiah Wynn #76 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 18: Isaiah Wynn #76 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots kicked off OTAs on Monday and fans got to hear from guys like Mac Jones and Kendrick Bourne as well as see new wideout DeVante Parker in action.

But, of course, as is the case every year, the bigger “story” focused on who wasn’t there. N’Keal Harry was among the notable absences, as were Matt Judon and Adrian Phillips. But those latter two guys … they’re kind of allowed to skip.

Harry and someone like Isaiah Wynn? Not so much. Wynn was also among the absences and it was reported Trent Brown was seen taking reps at left tackle in place of the former first-round pick.

For a player who’s yet to fully catch on ever since debuting in 2019, being a no-show during OTAs (without an excuse) rarely ever serves as a good look, especially with more-favorably viewed veterans present (and a new rookie in town!) and taking your reps.

Isaiah Wynn wasn’t present at Patriots OTAs, and that’s a problem

Wynn is heading into a contract year after the Patriots exercised his fifth-year option before the start of last season, and though he played in 16 games last season, it was the first time he’s played more than 10 as injuries have limited him to 18 total games since the start of 2018.

He proved to be a valuable asset, but not quite a franchise cornerstone at left tackle due to struggles with his pass blocking, which is arguably the main reason fans would expect him at OTAs because Year 2 with Mac Jones is going to be paramount as the offense shifts a little bit.

The Patriots have seen departures along the offensive line, making continuity that much more important, and added speedster Tyquan Thornton to the receiving corps, suggesting there will be more of an aerial attack in 2022. New England’s reliance on a strong run game and stingy defense only got them so far, and Bill Belichick likely realized that, which prompted these changes.

Could this affect Wynn’s standing as the starting left tackle? If the Patriots like what they see from Brown there as time goes on, might they opt to make that his permanent position and move Wynn to the inside or the right tackle spot since he still doesn’t have a stranglehold on the role? Then you have Juston Herron bidding for reps, which could help his case for more playing time at multiple positions. Could that affect Wynn’s standing in some way as well?

There’s a lot to wonder solely because the Patriots’ offensive line proved to not be a completely finished product in 2021, and that played a role in Jones’ success through the air. For whatever reason, assuming Wynn didn’t have an excuse to miss OTAs (which is what it sounds like), his absence will have the team playing catch-up when training camp arrives.

And you know how much Belichick values preparation.