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What is Patriots’ biggest question mark heading into training camp?

Ryan Hannable
July 09, 2018 - 10:15 am

Believe it or not, the start of Patriots training camp is just over two weeks away.

In what was an interesting offseason with off-field drama, there are actually a few question marks on the field, including what will the offense look like without Julian Edelman for the first four games. But, the biggest question going into camp is who will be protecting Tom Brady’s backside at left tackle?

For the first time in Brady’s career with the team, Matt Light or Nate Solder will not be it and it will be a bit of an unknown player no matter who it is.

The options include Trent Brown, LaAdrian Waddle, Isaiah Wynn, Matt Tobin, Ulrick John and Cole Croston — not exactly the greatest collection of offensive linemen.

While Solder got a ton of money to sign with the Giants, his departure from New England didn’t get as much play as it should have. He was a dependable player who could be trusted with keeping Brady upright. 

Now, who knows what will happen?

Brown was acquired via trade during the draft in a deal with the 49ers. Standing 6-foot-8, 360 pounds, he certainly has the size, but he’s been very inconsistent over the course of his career and was reportedly out of shape this spring when he reported to the Niners facility. It’s also worth noting he’s played mostly on the right side of the line.

Wynn, the Patriots’ first pick in the entire draft, has played all over the offensive line and some have wondered if he has the size to play tackle in the NFL. It would also be a bit of a risk having a rookie left tackle protecting a 41-year-old Brady, at least to start the season.

Waddle, Tobin and Croston are more swing tackles to fill out the backend of the roster and  fill in if necessary. Waddle has the most experience with the Patriots, but it's worth pointing out most of that came on the right side.

Players don’t wear pads during the spring OTA and minicamp sessions so it was hard to get a true gauge as to where linemen stand. The first few weeks of training camp will give much more insight into how the Patriots plan on filling the left tackle spot.

At training camp it’s easy to focus on the skill position players and watch what they are doing, but with no clear-cut favorite to take over for Solder the left tackle competition will be something to monitor as well.

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