There are some positions that the Pats left some holes in coming into the season. Some are more gaping than others. Some completely up for grabs. One of the most gaping, without question is left tackle. With Nate Solder leaving, who will protect Brady’s backside? He turns 41 this August, so this is a very important question as age creeps up on him. Here’s a look into potential options for the spot.
Marcus Cannon – I think most people expect Marcus Cannon to come in and assume the left tackle position. This might not necessarily be true. At the moment he is still listed as the number 1 RIGHT tackle on the Patriots depth chart. Although we all know a depth chart means absolutely nothing to Bill Belichick, why would they change him? He reached all-pro status at the right tackle spot 2 years ago when he played the whole season. When he had to take over on the left side, he was atrocious. Although he is the most experienced and probably the best tackle on the team, I wouldn’t expect him to move out of a spot he has thrived at unless absolutely necessary.
LaAdrian Waddle – Waddle is the guy that is at the moment the number 1 left tackle on the depth chart. Again, this might not mean anything, but he has some experience in the system already and played half decent last season. Now half decent doesn’t keep a 41 year old QB healthy, but if Scarnecchia can work his magic, he could turn him into a viable option at the position.
Isaiah Wynn – This is the biggest wild card at the spot. Wynn played just about every position on the o-line in college. He was listed as a tackle when he was drafted and finished his college career as a left tackle. However, he is very undersized for a left tackle. At 6’2″ he is about 4 inches shorter than the average NFL left tackle, which means his reach is shorter and he could struggle with long and fast edge rushers. I could see him getting worked in early as the 6th lineman in heavy sets, and maybe take over halfway through the season if whoever starts the season struggles.
Matt Tobin – Tobin is a little bit more of a sleeper at this spot. He had started off and on throughout his career but was never enough of a force to hold a spot. Guys like that tend to thrive in the Patriots system. He’s a pretty big dude, and fits the bill for the type of gritty dude the Pats like on their o-line. He might sneak in and steal this spot.
Trent Brown – Acquired in a trade from the 49ers, there seems to be some hype behind this guy. As there should be, the guy is a mammoth. 6’8″ and 355 lbs, he is an absolute mauler at tackle. However, the rumor is the 49ers did not want him anymore because he was lazy and out of shape. If Dante can whip his ass into shape, he could easily take that spot with his size and strength. Otherwise, he might not even make the roster if he can’t figure it out.
Antonio Garcia – A lot of people forget the Pats used a 3rd round pick to draft Garcia last year, and had big hopes for him. He turned out to have some serious health issues last season, lost around 40 pounds and was never able to play. This year he should be back and ready to go. He is 6’6″ but is undersized weight wise. He is more of an athletic type of tackle, so he could fight his way up the ladder and make a legitimate fight for the spot.
Cole Croston – Croston made the team as an undrafted free agent last season, and was able to hang around the whole year. He has that experience on his side, and now has a year of their complicated offense under his belt. He fits the mold of a Pats guy. He reminds me of a player like Tom Ashworth, who was always around and always took advantage of his opportunities.
With one of the greatest offensive line coaches of all time, he is really the way one of these guys will succeed on Brady’s backside. If one is more coachable than the others, they will most likely be able to steal the position.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)