Questionable Patriots draft pick eases concerns with first comments to reporters

Penn State v Auburn
Penn State v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

When determining the positions of focus in the 2024 Draft for the Patriots, it was clear an emphasis needed to be on the offense. Besides finding their next franchise quarterback, picking a starting left tackle and explosive receiver were deemed almost as important.

Fortunately, Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf got their quarterback in Drake Maye and also double-dipped for the offensive line and receiving corps.

The selections of Maye, Javon Baker, and Ja'Lynn Polk have mostly received rave reviews. But the linemen that the Patriots chose seem to have more question marks attached to their potential than excitement.

The player receiving the most concerning reaction is Penn State's Caedan Wallace, the starting right tackle throughout his college career. Because he was chosen in the third round, there was a lot of confusion surrounding his selection, as several starting-caliber left tackles were still available.

However, the new regime quickly asserted they chose Wallace, intending to have him switch to the left side, as they believed he had all the tools in his arsenal to make the flip successfully.

With rookie minicamp underway, he was expected to be one of the players most fans and reporters would watch closely outside the obvious Baker, Maye and Polk. Because of that, the media made sure to speak to him after practice and quickly asked about the work he's been putting in to make the position change ahead of the 2024 season.

Caedan Wallace feels confident his past experience will help make the transition to left tackle easier

Despite the focus on the flashier rookies on offense, Wallace was bombarded with many questions once practice was completed. He was immediately asked about how comfortable he felt about making the switch from right to left tackle.

He noted his high school experience as a foundation for making the transition easier, plus spending time practicing at left tackle while at Penn State helped a lot, as well.

“It’s not really a challenge. I played a lot of left in college practices, but I’ve pretty much played all left in high school. Being able to work that throughout the years and then come out here, it’s been sort of an easier transition. Not like completely easy, but it’s been a little easier.”

Although it's only the first actual practice for the rookies, Wallace provided a lot more context behind why the Patriots felt confident in drafting him.

It was an immediately criticized decision and has remained that way since, but his confidence and comfort in making the position change certainly eased any concerns some may have already had.

Hopefully, it will translate on the field, and the team won't have to still search for a solid Trent Brown replacement for the season ahead. Wallace could end up being a steal if so.

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