The New England Patriots have plenty of positions on both sides of the ball lacking in depth and talent with training camp getting underway at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots have had a league-high eight players choose to opt out of the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there are a few positions on the roster with a lot of uncertainty as the new season approaches.
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One of them is right tackle. Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is among the eight players who opted out. We know Isaiah Wynn, if healthy, will start at left tackle on the offensive line. The right tackle spot is an unknown right now. Aside from Wynn, the only other offensive tackles on the Patriots roster are Korey Cunningham, Yodny Cajuste and Justin Herron.
How important is finding a competent right tackle? On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, our Patriots insiders Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed New England's right tackle dilemma.
"I think the position that has the greatest opportunity to submarine your chances this year, even if you have a mobile quarterback, would be right tackle," Perry said. "Whoever it is, you gotta get a pro in here. I don't know if Yodny Cajuste is a pro-caliber tackle. I think he is, and I liked some of his tape coming out of West Virginia. He didn't run block all that much, but he was a good athlete. They took him in the third round, so they must like him.
"But you have no idea, you don't know what he is. Korey Cunningham, can he be a starter? I kind of doubt it. He was drafted late for a reason a couple years ago. He's bounced around the league as a young player for a reason."
"I think that is the one spot that you really can't get away with a replacement-level player," Perry continued. "Whether it's Cordy Glenn, or one of these other guys who has a little bit of experience and still available -- these guys aren't going to be good players when they come in, but they might be serviceable. I think you have to at least be serviceable at right tackle to have a good football team."
The Patriots offensive line was hit hard by injuries during the 2019 season. Wynn missed half of the year and starting center David Andrews was out the entire season due to blood clots. Andrews is back and Wynn has a promising future if he can stay on the field. Right tackle remains a question mark, though, and it's one that needs to be resolved in short order.
Curran and Perry also discuss what the Patriots should do with their $9 million in additional salary cap space, Devin McCourty being unhappy with the league for how it's handled the opt out date, and much more.