Going into the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft last night, the Patriots were sitting pretty with two picks on opening night, but they had the most question marks too as they continue to rebuild the roster on the fly while dealing with the inevitable task of replacing Tom Brady in the next couple years. Do they take a quarterback first, maybe even move up to get one? Or do they sit tight, pick who they like, and select a quarterback on the second or third day? Well, we got our answer when the screen in Dallas proclaimed “the pick is in” at 23.
The Patriots drafted for the here and now, and the future. Isaiah Wynn, the left tackle selected with the 23rd overall pick, was ranked as high as 11th by some draft experts, and he is known to be a technically sound, plays to the whistle, and he packs quite the punch in his small (for NFL tackles) 6’2, 306-pound frame. There are some who are worried he’ll have to move inside, but his wingspan is comparable to someone who is 6’8, and that is why NFL personnel people look for taller tackles. If the arm length is there, being slightly under 6’3 won’t matter. He is going to play from Day One and will be another excellent pick.
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With the second pick, New England threw a curveball that most people didn’t see coming, but if they looked back at Bill Belichick’s drafting history, this was not that big of a surprise. With the 31st selection, the Patriots took Sony Michel, who is a stud running back out of Georgia who just happens to be the former college roommate of….you guessed it- Isaiah Wynn. In four years at Georgia, Michel ran the ball 590 times for 3,613 yards, 33 touchdowns, and he averaged 6.1 yards per carry (7.9 ypc in ‘17), and he also had 64 catches for 654 yards and six touchdowns.
It is important to remember that he split time with Nick Chubb (Chubb had 67 more carries), and he was still able to produce excellent numbers. Michel isn’t just an outside runner/home run threat either. He is strong running between the tackles, and his one cut style goes very well with his ridiculously quick feet. Michel replaces Dion Lewis, and he might be a better player- right now.
So for all the rumors and madness that led up to round one, the Patriots stayed where they were, made their picks, and gave their aging star quarterback one necessity and one toy. It was like Christmas morning for Brady, and fans should feel the same way because they got two gifts last night.