The New England Patriots may have experienced turnover on the offensive line, but there’s no doubt about how they’ll fill in the departures. They traded away guard Shaq Mason and saw guard Ted Karras leave in free agency. But the Patriots retained Trent Brown, a free agent, and drafted guard Cole Strange in Round 1.
So the offensive line will be: LT Isaiah Wynn, LG Strange, center David Andrews, RG Michael Onwenu and RT Brown. Onwenu started the 2021 season as a starter, but moved into a utility role after the Patriots felt Karras was more consistent at left guard. Though the Patriots have a clear sense of their top 5, the picture gets hazy from six and beyond.
That’s why ESPN’s Bill Barnwell felt the Patriots made a mistake by trading away Mason for a fifth-round pick.
“The Pats’ hands were tied by what they did last offseason, but I would have liked to see them find a way to keep Mason,” Barnwell wrote in a column published Thursday. “Even if New England thinks Strange will emerge as a superstar, retaining Mason would have allowed the team to keep Mike Onwenu in a utility role, which is extremely important given how frequently (Trent) Brown and fellow tackle Isaiah Wynn have been injured over the past few seasons.”
The question is whether the Patriots feel they can develop a sixth offensive lineman to serve as a backup. James Ferentz will likely be a serviceable replacement in the interior in the event of an injury. At tackle, it’s unclear. Perhaps the Patriots would bump out Onwenu and slot in Ferentz. New England also drafted LSU’s Chasen Hines and Michigan’s Andrew Stuebert in the late rounds of the draft. They have an outside chance of making an impact