Isaiah Wynn’s impressive resume includes a stellar career in the SEC as both a guard and tackle for Georgia, work that helped make him a first-round pick by the Patriots a year ago.
It’s a resume that makes it understandable that the second-year player would be penciled in as the top option to protect Tom Brady’s blindside at left tackle for the defending Super Bowl champs, even considering his less-than-ideal measurables at just 6-2 with relatively short arms.
The only problem is that thanks to a torn Achilles suffered last August that wiped out Wynn’s rookie season and sidelined him for most of this offseason/summer’s work, the young player hasn’t had much of a chance to show his stuff in padded, 11-on-11 action.
That change Saturday night in Tennessee, when Wynn started at left tackle against the Titans and played 19 live snaps. Though he opened up protecting backup Brian Hoyer and not Brady, Wynn showed pretty impressive skills that bring more credibility to the idea that he’ll be ready to go at left tackle for the regular season opener against the Steelers in a couple weeks.
In his traditional day-after-game conference call with the local media, and having digested the game film from a night earlier, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick sounded optimistic about his young left tackle’s performance.
“It was good to get Isaiah out there,” Belichick said. “So we’ll just build on that. We’ll see where we are next week for the Carolina game and going forward. But it was good to have him out there. And we’ll just take it from here and see how it goes.”
While there is no guarantee Wynn will lock down the left tackle spot, it certainly is the best scenario for New England as the team is trying to fill a void at left tackle for the second straight summer.
After Nate Solder left for New York and a $60 million deal a year ago, trade addition Trent Brown almost immediately settled into the spot and went on to have a Pro Bowl-caliber season that earned him his own $60 million deal in free agency this offseason from the Raiders.
Now, legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has vocally defended Wynn’s abilities and dismissed his physical “limitations,” appears to be counting on the young former first-round pick. While unproven veterans like Dan Skipper and Cole Croston might also be in the mix – and left guard Joe Thuney’s college experience at left tackle has him as a fall-back option – it’s now reasonable to say that it’s Wynn’s job to lose.
After his 2019 preseason debut everyone, including Belichick, has to feel more optimistic of Wynn’s chances for success and ability to stabilize the left tackle spot.