The Patriots allowed Trent Brown to test the waters of free agency and ultimately watched their starting left tackle depart for Oakland. Part of the reason for that no doubt was the exorbitant salary he received from the Raiders, but it also had to do with the presence of Isaiah Wynn.
Wynn was the Patriots first first-round pick in 2018, selected 23rd overall. He was expected to fight for a starting job as a rookie, but then he tore his Achilles in his preseason debut and missed the entire season. Despite that, Wynn was able to impress the coaches during the summer, particularly offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
"I went back over all of training camp and looked at everything, and this guy is a really good football player," Scarnecchia said Friday. "We just have to get him out there. I'll just leave it at that."
Scarnecchia said Wynn was still rehabbing from the torn Achilles and mentioned that the recovery was proceeding as scheduled, although he has yet to be cleared for any on-field activities.
"He's done a great job. We are going to let the process go forward and as soon as he can get out there, we'll get him out there. We'll see," he added.
While Scarnecchia expressed optimism toward Wynn, the fact is he's yet to suit up for a regular-season game. Not knowing how much further his recovery needs to progress before he can get back on the field likely led to the Patriots venturing into the market last week for a veteran.
Multiple reports indicate the team agreed to terms with Jared Veldheer, who has plenty of starting experience in his nine-year career. Veldheer started 113 of the 118 games he's appeared in, including 12 at right tackle last season for Denver.
While the need for some insurance would appear obvious, but Scarnecchia wasn't willing to speak about Veldheer or any other player not actually on the Patriots roster.
But the respected veteran coach continued to focus on Wynn's recovery, and once again expressed hope in that regard.
"What he's doing right now is all tied to his health," he said. "He's getting better and all of that. That's a process and it's going really well."
Few coaches have been stronger in terms of developing young talent over the years than Scarnecchia.