Patriots 2019 

Training Camp. 

The Pats Are In Some Big Trouble.

By TOM

The Pats are in big trouble. If Wynn can’t play they got problems. And remember Wynn is still just speculation. He hasn’t played OLT in the NFL yet. He hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL at any position yet. So everyone is hoping for essentially a Redshirt Rookie to step in and save Brady’s back. I truly believe he can do it, but it is not set in stone by any means. It is a huge step up into the NFL. Left Tackles are rarely under 6-4 in the NFL and almost never under 6-3 (teams really want 6-5 or taller).

Having a Left Tackle who is under 6-3 (6-2 3/4” at the Combine) is now an oddity from another age in the NFL. "He's what you want from a tackle but he's not even going to come in at 6-3 so that's [a tough sell],” Zierlein quoted an NFC scout. “He'll be a good player for a team who wants athletic guards. You might even see a team draft him as a center, since he's stronger than a lot of the centers you will see in this draft." He was not by any stretch of the imagination seen as a lock NFL OLT. 

Wynn was seen as a lock interior OL. He does have 33.3” Arms which is a good, not great, number for an OLT. But we have not seen him play Left Tackle in the NFL. So even he is healthy he is not a lock at OLT, like say Thuney is a lock at OLG. The Pats are still speculating that there is gold in them-there hills.

Thuney tested out at the Combine an average athlete at OL in the Draft (despite the Forty). 6-5 is a nice number, but he only had 32” arms. He ran a sub 5.0 Forty which was in the top five for all OLs. That is always a great number for an OL (O) 4.95. 28 Reps of 225-pounds was another good number for him. He played Left Tackle for NC State his Senior season.

And right now, I’m speculating that we will be seeing Thuney at Left Tackle a lot this Preseason. “I was open-minded (about playing OLT). It’s whatever the coaches ask of me. I’m grateful to be out there playing, and just excited to be on the field,” Thuney said. “As an offensive line, a lot of guys are always moving positions. The more you can do, the better. Just trying to do the most I can for the team. Whatever the coaches need me to play, I’m going to play.”

Thuney is a great OLG. Not giving up a Sack last season is as great a stat as you will see. They are starting Thuney at OLT right now. I’m a huge Thuney guy, but it is a world of difference from OLG to OLT. They are two very different positions.

There is a world of space outside the OLT’s outside shoulder. “It always takes a little time, but I’m getting back in the groove,” Thuney said. “It’s a little different working against the defensive ends compared to defensive tackles, see the different body types and stuff. But a lot of basic fundamentals translate across the entire offensive line.” This move makes two positions weaker (would they dare stick Froholdt in at OLG next to Thuney, gulp).  

He will be the starting Left Tackle for the Preseason games coming up fast. “You never want to get out of shape,” Thuney said. “So you continue working out, continue running and doing little personal football stuff. Like I said, fundamentals kind of translate across the offensive line. But you still try to keep working." The good news is that it is still over a month to the regular season and Wynn is schedule to be back before September.

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So let’s bring in Skipper. Dan Skipper was the starting OLT for Bielema his senior season at Arkansas. That is why he is on the team now. He has elite size and character, but scouts don’t think he is an NFL OLT, he is actually too tall. However, I was the only guy that thought he was an NFL OLT at Arkansas. He was terrific moving backwards. But it soon became clear that I was, literally, the only guy who wasn’t related to him that thought he was an NFL Left Tackle (which made me fear I was Gilligan;).

No one saw him as a legit NFL prospect except me. So I threw him reluctantly in the trash. He was just too tall to play OL in the NFL. But I never really saw him get dug under by a DE. It is odd that the Pats now have a guy who is too short (Wynn is 6-2), too tall (Skipper was measure at 6-9 and 5/8” at the Combine), and a Dude who just ain’t athletic enough to play OLT or OLG in the NFL:

“Thuney is a three-year starter who has shown overall improvement in all aspects of his game and the position diversity that offensive line coaches love and need,” Zierlein wrote. “Unfortunately, his lack of foot quickness and arm length make him an unlikely NFL tackle and his core strength and frame deficiencies will make a move to guard very difficult. Ultimately, center might be his only NFL shot.” I love me some Zierlein but that was a whiff.

Skipper was literally an elite Left Tackle his senior season at Arkansas: Senior (2016): SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week (Sept. 12). SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week (Oct. 3). SEC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week (Nov. 21). East-West Shrine Game Invitation. Coaches All-SEC first team (Dec. 6). Associated Press All-SEC first team (Dec. 8). Phil Steele All-SEC second team (Dec. 12). AFCA FBS Coaches’ All-America second team (Dec. 14). NFL Scouting Combine Invitation. That’s the SEC, not the Pilgrim's Football League in Sturbridge Village.  

So now the Pats have an OLG (not athletic enough to play OLG;) a 6-2 Dude with an arrow in his Achilles, and a failed left tackle fighting to protect Brady’s back (that’s why I call BB the mad scientist;). “It’s just about working hard and trying to find someone who will give you an opportunity,” Former Arkansas OLT Dan Skipper said. “And I’ve got an opportunity here. Now it’s my job to take advantage of it.” Thuney played some OLT at NC ST, but Skipper was an OLT at Arkansas.

He has been working very hard with Scarnecchia behind the scenes. “Great coach who gets [the best] out of us. That’s all you can ask for as a player,” Skipper said. “[He’s] someone who cares as much as he does. You’ve got a room of guys who will help everyone out and try to push them along. The standard is high, and it’s my job to meet the standard.” I believe that Skipper is an NFL OLT (despite all reality), and I’m excited to see him at Left Tackle in preseason games.

Skipper was voted team captain over Ragnow at Arkansas and helped Froholdt adjust to life in the FBS. "I knew he'd played there before, but it was still amazing how quickly he made the transition," Froholdt said about Skippers move over to OLT. "When he got moved back to left tackle, he was like, 'Okay, I'm going to own it now.'" I thought he was an NFL prospect his senior year.

I like how he moves backwards in pass pro at Arkansas. "The one thing I knew when we recruited Dan is: he's 6-10 and he's got long arms to match," Bielema said. "I mean, 6-10 is 6-10. And he's got the wingspan of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar." His arms were shorter than expected at the Combine.

He played special teams and had a knack for blocking kicks for obvious reasons. "It's awesome to finally get a block and we win, because that's one of those things that goes through your head, with them all being in losses. That's something we'd joked about when I was back at home with my family," Skipper said. "Austin and Deatrich [Wise] did a great job pushing their guys out of the way. We were fortunate enough that everything worked out and I got a hand up. I got it with my full left hand." He fought with Wise a lot in practice at Arkansas.

He is known to be one of the best teammates you can have. “Here's what I'll tell you: Dan Skipper is one of the best teammates, and I probably will be saying this when I'm 80. He is a guy who doesn't get enough, I say this all the time: respect and attention," Ragnow said. "Not only because he's an elite player, but he is such a good teammate. He's such a good leader for our team. He'll take care of you. He'll fight the guy on defense if he's messing with you. He'll fight the guy on offense. He's got everybody's back.” Top football character.

I liked Dan Skipper at Arkansas when Bielema was coaching him in 2017. "Dan's playing at a level I've never seen before," Bielema said. "He's just really-really playing well." He trusted him at OLT at Arkansas and he did a good job. They signed him to a futures contract last season. He is very tall. Some think that is too tall to play OLT in the NFL. He was listed at 6-10, 326 at Arkansas in 2017.

A&M: For the most part, he did a great job against Garrett. His ridiculously long arms gave Garrett fits. Plays with some nice power in the run game. He does a good job staying low, but he is so tall he looks like gets too tall too much. But he didn’t give up squat to Garrett.  He knows how to use his long arms.

His problem is height. Teams don't like guys who are too tall. He would have been considered too tall 2-years ago, but I don't know about now a days. He can dive down under the D-ends knees on the goal line. Which is important. For me, it is all about how low he can get.

V-Tech: Terrific powerful shove on the DE upfield, when they run a draw. He is a very strong guy. They will stop rushing his lane in the 4th. He is great at using his long arms to keep rushers at bay. He looks odd as he moves back so high, because he has such a long trunk. But he bends his knees as well as anyone in this Draft and doesn’t give up leverage easy.

He has some quickness in his shoulders in pass pro. He does a good job keeping his hands inside in kickslide. He is more of a grabber than power guy. He is so tall, but he does a good job getting his hands in the D-ends shirt. Great long arms. He hits guys high but can grab his shirt and twist him around backwards. Very strong dude. Two time all SEC.

Alabama: I think he can play in the NFL. He seems to get low enough. He uses his long arms very well. He moves well backwards. They line a TE outside of him consistently to slow rushers down. He can get outside when the OLB blitzes and meets him at the pass. He is not as smooth an athlete as Solder. When he gets his hands knocked down, he can give up the corner and has to bail to wash the DE past the QB.

#42 Dan Skipper, OT-6-9.5 309, Arkansas, (S 1.88-1.87), (U 5.42-5.42)- He will have to move to ORT. Nice quick feet moving laterally. He has some interesting feet. He works hard and seems to be in position. He doesn’t struggle moving backwards with his hands up. He looked good in mirror drill. His height might be too much of a hindrance in the NFL. I was shocked he only had 33.3” Arms at the Combine:

“Size will be appealing to some NFL teams as will his experience at both tackle positions. His experience in Arkansas' physical rushing attack should work in his favor, but he lacks the sand in his pants to consistently match power with power against bigger, NFL-caliber talent at the point of attack,” Lance Zierlein wrote. “The same height that will intrigue some teams might ultimately rob Skipper of the necessary leverage he needs at the next level. Could project as a third-day (Rounds 4-7) swing tackle prospect who will have to battle to win a roster spot.”

Career (2013-16): Four-year starter … Played in 51 games with 47 straight starts (second-longest streak in program history) to close his career … 26 starts came at left tackle, 13 at right tackle and eight at left guard … One of just six offensive linemen in program history to earn All-SEC honors twice in a career … Blocked seven field goal attempts, just two off the FBS record … All three of his career offensive lineman of the week awards came over his last 16 weeks of SEC regular season action … Also added an SEC Special Teams Player of the Week accolade to his collection in 2016 … Helped Arkansas’ offenses eclipse 5,000 total yards during his freshman, junior and senior campaigns … Opened rushing lanes for Alex Collins (2013-15), Jonathan Williams (2014) and Rawleigh Williams (2016) to combine for five 1,000-yard seasons on the ground.

Senior (2016): Started all 13 games at left tackles … Served as a team captain … One of three players to be named SEC Lineman of the Week twice … Paved the way for Rawleigh Williams III to capture the SEC regular season rushing title with 1,326 yards on the ground, while Austin Allen threw for an SEC-best 3,430 yards … Cleared paths and provided time as Austin Allen and Rawleigh Williams were one of only two QB/RB duos in the Power 5 conferences to average at least 260 yards passing and 100 yards rushing per game … Helped lead an offensive line that blocked for 428.4 yards of total offense per game … Opened holes for Rawleigh Williams and Devwah Whaley to total nine 100-yard rushing performances … Helped the offense log both 200 yards passing and rushing in the same game five times … at No. 15 TCU (Sept. 10): Blocked his sixth career kick with under 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter as the Horned Frogs attempted the game-winning field goal … Graded out at a team-best 90 percent to help pave the way for Rawleigh Williams to run for 137 yards and Austin Allen to throw for 233 yards … vs. Alcorn State (Oct. 1):Opened lanes for two 100-yard rushers as Devwah Whaley went for 135 yards and a touchdown, while Rawleigh Williams added 126 yards … Blocked for 559 yards of total offense, including 353 yards on the ground, and no sacks allowed … vs. No. 12 Ole Miss (Oct. 15): Helped the offense rush for 200 yards and pass for 229 in the win … 180 yards on the ground came from Rawleigh Williams … vs. No. 11 Florida (Nov. 5): Cleared paths for 223 yards rushing, including 148 and two touchdowns by Rawleigh Williams, against the Gators’ top-10 run defense … Provided time for 243 yards passing and 466 yards of total offense … at Mississippi State (Nov. 18): Graded out at a career-high 97 percent in over 69 plays at left tackle … Paved the way for the fourth-most yards in school history as the offense compiled 661 total yards, including 357 on the ground and 304 in the air … Part of offensive line that didn’t allow a sack, which snapped Mississippi State’s seven-game streak with at least one sack … Cleared paths for Rawleigh Williams’ career-high 205 yards rushing and four TDs, as well as Devwah Whaley’s 112 yards and one score on the ground … Provided time for Austin Allen to complete 18 of 25 passes for 303 yards and two TDs … at Missouri (Nov. 25): Blocked for 500+ yards of total offense for the third time, including 348 yards through the air and 155 on the ground … Helped Rawleigh Williams post his seventh 100-yard rushing game and blocked for Austin Allen to tally his fourth 300-yard passing effort.

Junior (2015): Started all 13 games at right tackle … Finished second on the team with a 83 percent offensive grade over 900 snaps … Earned a 80 percent grade or better in a team-best 12 games, including the final seven … Graded the highest on the offensive line four times … Helped the Arkansas offensive line lead the SEC in fewest sacks allowed for the third straight year … Didn’t commit a penalty over the final nine games … Had 53 knockdowns with four of top five totals coming in SEC action … Paved the way for running back Alex Collins to run for over 1,500 yards and become just the third player in SEC history with three straight 1,000-yard campaigns to begin his career … Collins tied for the SEC lead with 10 100-yard rushing games, equaling Darren McFadden’s program single-season record … Arkansas led the SEC with five 200-yard rushing games in league play and had a total of eight on the year … vs. Texas Tech (Sept. 19): Had eight knockdowns and posted an 86 percent grade as Arkansas put together the first of its eight 200-yard rushing performances … at Tennessee (Oct. 3): Produced a team-high 10 knock downs and sixth straight 80 percent-plus grade, helping pave the way for 250 yards rushing on 50 carries for Arkansas’ first win in Knoxville since 1992 … vs. Auburn (Oct. 24): Earned a season and team-best 90 percent grade with eight knockdowns as Arkansas had over 200 yards on the ground and in the air en route to seven touchdowns in a win … at No. 9 LSU (Nov. 14): Team-best 86 percent grade with five knockdowns as Arkansas ran for 299 yards on 40 carries, highlighted by TD runs of 80 and 69 yards, respectively, for the two longest rushing TDs of the season against LSU … Named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Nov. 16.

Regular Season: Coaches All-SEC second team. SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week (Nov. 16)

Postseason: ESPN.com All-SEC team. Athlon All-SEC second team. Associated Press All-SEC second team. Phil Steele All-SEC third team

Sophomore (2014): Appeared and started in all 13 contests at left tackle … Participated in more than 700 snaps and recorded a blocked kick … Led the offensive line with a grade of 80 percent in more than 50 snaps … Blocked for RBs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, who were the only FBS teammates to each rush for 1,000-plus yards in the 2014 season … Helped protect QB Brandon Allen as the offensive line led the SEC with 14 sacks allowed … at Texas Tech (Sept. 13):Earned SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after he recorded a season-high 10 knockdowns as the Razorbacks posted over 400 rushing yards in the road win … vs. No. 7 Alabama (Oct. 11): Graded out at a season-high tying 84 percent offensive grade … vs. No. 20 LSU (Nov. 15): Posted seven knockdowns and didn’t allow a sack in the Razorbacks’ shutout over the Tigers … vs. No. 17 Missouri (Nov. 29): Recorded a blocked kick.

Postseason: Associated Press All-SEC honorable mention

Freshman (2013): Played in all 12 games and started the last eight at offensive guard and blocked a school-record three field goal attempts … Named a Freshman All-American after blocking as Alex Collins became the second freshman in school history and 10th true freshman in SEC history to rush for 1,000 yards … The only player in the SEC and one of eight nationally to have at least three blocked kicks … His blocked field goals total tied for the 2nd-highest single-season total in SEC history and for the 8th-highest single-season total in NCAA history … Only 22 teams in the country had more blocked kicks, including punts, than Skipper … The offensive line also allowed the Razorbacks to produce eight individual 100-yard rushing performances and rush for more than 200 yards as a team nine times … Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams became the second Razorback duo to each reach at least 900 rushing yards in one season, joining Darren McFadden and Felix Jones from 2006 and 2007 … The offensive line also broke the single-season school record by only allowing 8.0 sacks … Arkansas led the SEC and tied for second in the NCAA with an average of 0.67 sacks allowed per game … The Razorbacks’ average of one sack allowed for every 37.63 pass attempts was the best in the conference and seventh in the nation …  vs. Texas A&M (Sept. 28): Made the first start of his career and helped the offense gain 483 yards … vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 23): Started at guard as the Razorbacks rushed for 225 yards and also blocked a field goal, his third blocked kick of the season, a school record.

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