The New England Patriots are on an absolute tear at the moment. Minus the offensive line injuries and all of the Antonio Brown drama, it’s been a fun season so far to this point. However, the Patriots suffered another hit as fullback James Develin went to the injured reserve.
The Patriots have placed Pro Bowl FB James Develin on injured reserve, per source. He’s a key part of their running game.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 23, 2019
Develin can return in a few weeks. The problem? N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Wynn are on the list as well. By NFL rules, only two of the three can come back. That means the other one is done for the season. So which ones return and which one doesn’t? Let’s discuss each candidate.
Develin may not appear to be important, but he really is when you think about all that he brings to the table. He was a Pro Bowler in 2017 and had four touchdowns last season for the Patriots. Plus, he is a big part of the blocking game as well when needed. James Develin receives nothing but praise for his hard work from his teammates as well.
Matthew Slater called James Develin the best teammate he’s ever played with. pic.twitter.com/tT6Z82PQ8n
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 23, 2019
All of these factors go in favor of the fullback. Belichick does like Develin and his work ethic as well.
The Patriots are placing starting LT Isaiah Wynn on IR, per source. He’s going to miss at least 8 weeks as a result of a foot injury suffered in Week 2.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 17, 2019
Isaiah Wynn just can’t stay healthy. At this point, you have to feel bad for the guy a little bit, don’t you? He was out all of the 2018 season with a torn achilles. Now, he has a foot injury that will keep him out until at least week 10. But the thing is, this guy is good when he’s playing. In a season where the Patriots have had a lot of movement on the line, getting Wynn back would help during the final stretch of the season. It’s a tough decision, but the Patriots need all of the protection for Brady that they can get at this point.
Per @AdamSchefter: Patriots are placing rookie first-round pick N'Keal Harry on injured reserve. Harry has battled an ankle injury during the summer. He is expected to return this season.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 2, 2019
This is a tough decision. With the Patriots so deep at wide receiver, do they really need Harry that badly? Don’t get me wrong, I know he will be a huge help. He’s big, fast, and strong for a wide receiver. But at this point, the Patriots are doing just fine without him. Bite the bullet on this one and tell Harry to get ready for 2020. If the line wasn’t so banged up and constantly changing, I would say bring Harry back by any means necessary. In this exact moment of time, let him take his time getting back.
Prediction: Doesn’t Return
This is a tough decision. There is no clear cut answer that will make everybody happy. Injuries happen in the NFL. The tough part now is deciding what you need the most. Do you bring back Develin to help the run game? Could you have Isaiah Wynn down the stretch to strengthen the line? Is N’Keal Harry a piece you need to deepen an already deep wide receiver core? Whatever the final decision is, I trust Bill Belichick at this point. How can you blame him 20 years later?
-Alan Nahigian (@BigAl2793)