By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — If you were hoping the Patriots would draft some help on defense or a quarterback of the future in the first round of the 2018 draft, then you’re probably disappointed with what they did on Thursday night.
While many were expecting New England to address their need at linebacker or potentially find the heir apparent to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and company called a bit of an audible when their turns came up in the first round. But with their two selections on Thursday night, the Patriots snagged a pair of Bulldogs on offense to help their soon-to-be-41-year-old quarterback.
One of New England’s biggest needs heading into the draft was at left tackle, and they may have found their man with the No. 23 pick in Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn. Though he played mostly guard in college, he shifted over to left tackle for his senior year and succeeded, earning All-SEC honors despite being tasked with blocking some of the nation’s best pass rushers. Wynn’s versatility must have New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia salivating to get his hands on the rookie.
And instead of drafting dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson with the 31st overall pick (he went 32nd overall to the Ravens), the Pats added another electric playmaker in Georgia running back Sony Michel. Following an impressive collegiate career, the 5-foot-11 back could slide in and assume the role left vacant by Dion Lewis’ departure in the offseason.
While the Michel selection is a bit of a surprise, the back brings plenty of excitement for what he could do in the New England offense. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry his senior season and ran for 33 touchdowns over his four years at Georgia, adding 64 receptions for 621 yards and six touchdowns. He should fit right in and help keep the Patriots offense its unpredictable self when he’s on the field, and if he plays well enough in camp, Michel could even find himself lining up as New England’s starting running back come September.
It’s fitting that the Patriots drafted both Wynn and Michel, who were roommates at Georgia. With Wynn opening up holes on the line, Michel was able to do his thing and run wild. Hopefully they’ll be able to do the same at the next level for the Patriots.
And for those worried about the other holes to fill on New England’s depth chart, fret not. The Patriots have six more selections in the draft, including three on Friday night when the second and third rounds are held. With two of the top 31 picks on Friday, including the 11th overall pick in the second round, the Patriots should still be able to fill some of their areas of need.