Patriots’ Wynn takes live drills, game action could be next

  • New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn steps on the field at the start of an NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn steps on the field at the start of an NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots offensive tackles Isaiah Wynn (76) and Dan Skipper (72) warm up during an NFL football training camp practice, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Atlanta Falcons tight end Eric Saubert (85) gets into position during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Wilfredo Lee

  • Atlanta Falcons tight end Eric Saubert (85) runs during the Pro Football Hall of Fame NFL preseason game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard) David Richard

  • July 24, 2019 Flowery Branch: Atlanta Falcons tight end Eric Saubert catches a pass during the third day of practice on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com compton@ajc.com

  • Atlanta Falcons tight end Eric Saubert (85) stretches to begin an NFL football training camp practice, Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/Andrea Smith) Andrea Smith

Associated Press
Published: 8/12/2019 7:04:46 PM

FOXBOROUGH — Isaiah Wynn’s long road back from injury has reached its biggest milestone to date.

The 23rd overall pick in the 2018 draft, the offensive tackle had his rookie season abruptly cut short during a preseason game when he tore an Achilles tendon.

Nearly a year of rehab later, on Monday he participated in full-contact, 11-on-11 drills for the first time since training camp opened.

It’s a huge step for Wynn, who had become a connoisseur of film study, taking “mental reps” while watching his teammates last season and soaking up as much knowledge as he could in his conversations with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

“Wherever they need me to be at, I’m working every day to get better,” Wynn said.

While the Patriots were expecting Wynn to see at least some action last season, they made do with Trent Brown, whom they acquired in a trade with San Francisco last spring.

Brown lived up to his expectations and was one of the standouts on New England’s starting offensive line.

But Brown departed in free agency after receiving a four-year, $66 million deal with the Raiders.

The Patriots have brought Wynn along slowly this summer as a precaution but it hasn’t bothered him, he said.

“Just putting in work every day, whether it’s on the field, or in the training room, or rehab and treatment,” Wynn said. “Every day I’ve got to get a little bit better, so I’m trying to figure out whatever steps I need to take to get better. I need to do that.”

Coach Bill Belichick said there has been a definite design to the pace of Wynn’s progression during camp.

“There’s a reason why everything happens in camp, yeah,” Belichick said.

So far, the coaching staff hasn’t used Wynn at anywhere but the left tackle spot, which is charged with protecting Tom Brady’s blind side. There, he has seen his share of opportunities to match up with newly acquired veteran defensive tackle Michael Bennett.

“It’s been good,” Wynn said. “Just going against a guy like that who has a whole toolbox of moves and all that type of stuff as a vet. It’s good because it keeps you on your toes. Just being able to learn from him and pick up his moves, that’s been great.”

It’s to be determined how much, if any, game action Wynn will see during the Patriots preseason game with the Titans this week.

Whenever it comes, Wynn says he will be ready.

Asked if he thought his 6-foot-2 height might somehow be an advantage in a league in which most left tackles are much taller, he chuckled.

“I don’t know, I’m not tripping,” he said. “I play big.”

PATS LAND TIGHT END — The Patriots have acquired tight end Eric Saubert from the Atlanta Falcons for a conditional draft pick.

Saubert, entering his third season, had five catches for 48 yards for the Falcons in 2018. He played in 16 games with one start. He had one catch for 7 yards in the Falcons’ first two preseason games. Saubert was a fifth-round draft pick from Drake in 2017.

The Patriots have questions at tight end following Rob Gronkowski’s retirement. Veteran Ben Watson will be suspended for the first four games following a positive test for a banned substance.

Austin Hooper, a 2018 Pro Bowl pick, is Atlanta’s starting tight end. Luke Stocker and Logan Paulsen head the list of others competing at the position.




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