There are many different faces on this Patriots team compared to last year. New England acquired four guys from trade, fifteen from free agency, and nine from the NFL Draft. They also lost nine players from trade and free agency and had three players retire.
In this new series, I will be looking at every player from each position leading up to training camp. For this installment I will talk about the offensive tackles.
The Patriots have had a solid tackle group since Brady took over. The Pats lost a significant o-linemen this offseason, Nate Solder, and will look to replace him with the new guys they brought in.
Marcus Cannon #61 (2011-Present):
Marcus Cannon drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the New England Patriots. He was drafted as a project and he ended up working out. Cannon was a backup for the beginning of his career for Sebastian Vollmer. In 2012, Marcus played in all 18 of the Patriots games ans started one. He got six starts in 2013, four in 2014, and eight in 2015.
After Vollmer retired, Cannon got the starting job at right tackle. He showed up to the Pats in 2016 in the best shape of his life. He started all 15 games that he played in and was signed to a five-year, $32.5 million contract extension. Marcus was named a Second-Team All-Pro in 2016 and was a key part as to why the Patriots won Super Bowl 51. Cannon played in only seven games in 2017 due to a toe injury and was later placed on the injured-reserve.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 26, 2017
With Nate Solder out, Cannon is now the leader of the offensive line. Hopefully he stays healthy next season for the Patriots to make a run for the Super Bowl. He will 100% make the 53 man roster.
Isaiah Wynn (Rookie):
Isaiah Wynn was the Patriots’ 23rd overall in the first draft round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Wynn played four years at Georgia University alongside new Patriots’ RB, Sony Michel. In his freshman year he played in all 11 games for the Bulldogs. He then played in 25 games over the next two years, and solidified himself as the leader of the o-line. Wynn started all 15 games for Georgia his senior year which ultimately brought them to the championship game. Over the course of Isaiah’s college career he has let up only four sacks.
Even though Wynn has shown how talented he is at left tackle, many people put him as a guard leading up to the draft. At only 6’2″ Wynn is very undersized, but makes up for it in outstanding hand placement and footwork. He showed how amazing he is at left tackle at the Senior Bowl where he dominated the defensive linemen.
1,104 pass blocking snaps by Isaiah Wynn (at guard and tackle) since 2014.
4 sacks allowed;
2 hits allowed;
20 hurries allowed pic.twitter.com/BFKPiGafCz
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 25, 2018
When the Patriots selected Wynn the ticket they sent in said tackle. This is most likely due to the fact that Nate Solder left this offseason. Isaiah will have to fight to start Week 1, but he will definitely be on the roster.
Trent Brown #77 (2018-Present):
Trent Brown is entering his fourth year in the NFL, and his first with the Pats. Brown was acquired by the Patriots from San Francisco via trade during the 2018 Draft. In Brown’s rookie season he started the last two games and played in six total. His 2016 campaign saw him start all 16 games for the 49ers. Trent gained some praise from Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller in 2017.
“He’s the best right tackle in the National Football League! And he may even be a top-five tackle, period, in the National Football League. There’s not another tackle who’s that tall, that big and can move the way he moves.”
Brown started the first ten games of the 2017 season, but was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Trent Brown is a very big man with him being listed at 6’8″, 355 pounds. Brown is fast for his size though and is able to not only keep up, but excel against the best edge rushers in the league. As a right tackle, Brown most likely won’t start over Marcus Cannon. However, if Brown shows what he can do at left tackle and beats out Isaiah Wynn, he will have a roster spot.
LaAdrian Waddle #68 (2015-Present):
LaAdrian Waddle is entering his sixth season in the NFL, and fourth for the Pats. Waddle was an undrafted free agent in 2013 and was picked up by Detroit. In his rookie season he started eight games. In his next season he started in ten games, but couldn’t complete the season due to knee surgery. Waddle was then cut in his third season for Detroit in December of 2017. He was picked up by New England the day after.
Waddle signed a two-year deal with New England in 2016, but was inactive for all-but two games that next year. 2017 is where Waddle showed he can be a solid option as tackle for the Pats. He was active in 12 games and started in four due to Marcus Cannon getting injured. In the 2018 offseason he re-signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 14, 2018
LaAdrian has proven to be an excellent option as a starting tackle in case someone gets hurt. I believe he will make the team due to the fact that he can play at left or right tackle when asked.
Cole Croston #74 (2017-Present):
Cole Croston is entering his second year in the NFL. He was picked up by New England after the 2017 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent. Croston was kept on by the Patriots as a member of their practice squad for the 2017 season. He only played in three games last year with him, getting his first NFL snaps as a left guard in a 33-8 victory of Oakland in Week 11. Croston was ultimately kept on due to the fact that he can play tackle and guard.
Here you see DE Eric Lee (47), top of screen in 2-point stance, get turned to outside by Cole Croston on third-and-1 run play. pic.twitter.com/otlAyf4pvw
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) November 22, 2017
Croston will have to work very hard if he wants to make the 53-man roster. I believe he will make it, but he could also become a member of the practice-squad. However, if the Pats do place him on the practice squad, I wouldn’t be surprised if another team did not pick him up.
Ulrick John #67 (2018-Present):
Ulrick John is heading into his fifth NFL season, and first for the Pats. This is Ulrick’s fifth NFL team since entering the league in 2014. He was drafted in the seventh round by Indianapolis, then got cut. He then got signed by Miami where he only played two games. The most games he has played in a season came from Green Bay where he played in five games. John’s next season was in Arizona where he started all three games that he played in.
Overall, Ulrick has only had three career starts in ten games. He was signed by New England on April 23, 2018, but his chances of making the roster are very slim.
The Offensive Tackle position has had some big names come through since 2001. The Pats look to protect Tom Brady en route to their sixth Super Bowl.