Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO - When Dante Scarnecchia describes the types of qualities he's looking for in his linemen, the list has always been the same.

"We covet three things when we look for offensive linemen," Scarnecchia said before Super Bowl LII. "They have to be smart, they have to be tough, and they have to be athletic enough."

Nothing in there about arm length.

"That [expletive] is way overrated," he told reporters on Friday afternoon.

The topic was, of course, New England's first-round pick Isaiah Wynn. The University of Georgia product measured in at this year's combine a shade under 6-foot-3. His hands were listed at 8.5 inches. Those marks would be considered undersized by Patriots (and league-wide) tackle standards. But Scarnecchia explained that Wynn will get a shot to become the team's left tackle in 2018.

"He's played left tackle in the best conference in America," Scarnecchia said. "Played it pretty good. We're going to take a look at it, and see how it goes."

The Patriots have shown they aren't afraid to adjust their size requirements at tackle in the past. Matt Light was on the shorter end for a starting tackle under Bill Belichick at a shade under 6-foot-5, about two inches taller than Wynn. Belichick has not drafted a tackle in New England with hands smaller than nine inches. 

Working in Wynn's favor is that his arms (about 33.5 inches) are standard-issue length for Patriots tackles. Light's arms were 33.5 inches. Sebastian Vollmer's were 33.25 inches. But when it comes to height and hand size, Wynn would kind of be breaking the mold.
 
Scarnecchia doesn't care much for molds, though.

 

"What's the mold? Someone tell me what the mold looks like," Scarnecchia told reporters. "And if you only draft to that mold, I don't think that's the smartest thing to do."

The Patriots reportedly released second-year tackle Tony Garcia with a non-football injury designation on Friday, leaving Wynn, Trent Brown, LaAdrian Waddle and Cole Croston among the players competing for time at tackle. Scarnecchia indicated that the team would like to try to keep Marcus Cannon, a staple on the right side the last two seasons when healthy, at right tackle. 

Wynn, Brown, Cannon and guard Joe Thuney will all miss on-the-field work until training camp as they come back from injury, Scarnecchia said, meaning the coaching staff will have plenty of opportunities to see some of their big bodies take on different responsibilities in passing camp.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE