Patriots Take Isaiah Wynn in 2018 NFL Draft, Replace Nate Solder at LT

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 01: Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn speaks to the media during NFL Combine press conferences at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The New England Patriots selected Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn with the No. 23 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft on Thursday.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Patriots select OL Isaiah Wynn with the No. 23 pick (@RamTrucks) https://t.co/PcfVEodQe5

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com pointed out the Patriots could have targeted Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson as a potential long-term replacement for 40-year-old Tom Brady but instead bolstered the offensive line after Nate Solder left:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

With #Louisville QB Lamar Jackson on the board, the #Patriots select a versatile OL instead. #Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn. Nate Solder’s replacement. He goes No. 23.

Pro Football Focus shared some of Wynn's accolades at the collegiate level:

Pro Football Focus @PFF

The Patriots select Isaiah Wynn, who allowed just five pressures in 2017, and only 26 in his 2,609 collegiate snaps #NFLDraft https://t.co/iZSepU0ReC

Wynn's new team reacted to the pick, as did his old one:

New England Patriots @Patriots

Welcome to New England, @iwynn77! #PatsDraft https://t.co/2lcUw1IyE8

Georgia Football @FootballUGA

The pick is in! #IsaiahWynn is heading to New England! #NFLDraft #DawgsInTheNFL ⏩ @Patriots https://t.co/Uq8HMEMUAZ

Here are some of the other reactions from around Twitter to the Wynn selection:

Radi Nabulsi @RadiNabulsi

"He's too small to play tackle." [Wynn leads #UGA to national title game at left takle] "Well, he's still too small to be a high draft pick." [Wynn goes in the First Round] Y'all just keep doubting him and see what happens. https://t.co/VZYkcDac15

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless

Thank you, Bill Belichick. Brady thanks you, too. Isaiah Wynn is a mauler. Doesn't have prototype size but just steamrolls, at guard or tackle. Kept blowing my Sooners off the line in the national semifinal. Great need pick after losing Solder.

Field Yates @FieldYates

The Patriots, with a need for offensive linemen, will take OL Isaiah Wynn from Georgia. Tough, steady, consistent starter.

Karen Guregian @kguregian

The Patriots went with Isaiah Wynn, an offensive lineman, out of Georgia with their pick at No. 23. He's a left guard who moved to left tackle his senior year

Solder's departure left a hole along the offensive front for the Patriots in what was a significant strength last season as they advanced to the Super Bowl. According to Football Outsiders, New England featured the league's best run-blocking offensive line and the 14th-best pass-blocking unit in 2017.

The Georgia product gives head coach Bill Belichick a versatile piece up front as the team attempts to keep Brady upright this season and challenge for a 10th straight AFC East crown.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller praised Wynn for his toughness and "enough athleticism to reach defenders outside his zone" while granting he could eventually move to guard during his NFL career. Even if he does, Miller noted "he still projects as a possible Pro Bowl-caliber player on the interior."

Wynn's NFL.com draft profile lists him at 6'3" and 313 pounds, and the 2017 first-team All-SEC selection will attempt to use his power to open up running lanes for the likes of James White, Rex Burkhead, Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee.

He has the athleticism and mobility to slide over and protect Brady on blitzes as well and has championship experience from his time in Georgia, as evidenced by the Bulldogs' SEC crown and run to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game last season.

Wynn now goes to an NFL franchise that is accustomed to competing for championships on a yearly basis.