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Patriots are leaving no doubt about their plans for rookie Caedan Wallace

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The New England Patriots entered the 2024 NFL Draft with a major hole at the left tackle position. Ultimately, though, they didn't address that spot – at least at first glance.

While they did draft a tackle in the third round, Caedan Williams was exclusively a right tackle during his five-year career at Penn State. All 40 of his starts have come on the right side, as have 2,290 of his 2,292 combined offensive snaps.

What is going on?

Despite his lack of experience playing left tackle for the Nittany Lions – a spot manned by fellow NFL draft picks Rasheed Walker and Olu Fashanu during his time in Happy Valley – the Patriots are confident Wallace can make the transition to that side of the club. the line. In fact, they've left no doubt about their intentions since investing the 68th pick in the 24-year-old.

For starters, both scouting director Eliot Wolf and head coach Jerod Mayo talked about Wallace as a capable left tackle.

“He was a guy that we felt was athletic enough to potentially make the move to the left side,” Wolf said shortly after Wallace was called up Friday night. “Really good pass protector, really took a big step forward this year as a four-year starter. Athletic, can bend, strong, powerful, tough. He could possibly play as a guard. We think he could be a four-position player, but we certainly feel he can play on the left.”

Mayo added that he trusted the Patriots' assistant coaches to make that call. The assessment of offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, offensive line coach Scott Peters and assistant O-line coach Robert Kugler played a big role in bringing in Wallace with a move to the left in mind.

“I like the way he plays, but after talking to Van Pelt and Scotty Peters and that group and Kugler, they felt very confident that this guy could play on both ends,” Mayo said. “I have to trust that I have chosen the right people to evaluate or project what this man can do in the future. I don't like micromanaging or anything like that. “If the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach say, 'Hey, this guy can do X, Y and Z,' OK, I'll take it into consideration.”

Mayo and Wolf talking about Wallace moving to the left side wasn't lip service to appease a fan base looking for an upgrade at left tackle either. Look no further than the Patriots' own depth chart, which was visible on a behind-the-scenes video shared by the team:

Patriots

Although the quality of the blurred recording leaves something to be desired, the information displayed is still sufficient. Finally, what is on display is the Patriots roster with the defense at the top and the offense at the bottom; the cards are the players with the yellow ones representing the draft choices.

What we can see is one such card with the quarterback group (first-round pick Drake Maye), and another at left tackle. That card is Caedan Wallace.

How effective he will be at left tackle remains to be seen. Wallace himself, meanwhile, also spoke about his own confidence in making the switch if asked.

Based on all the information we have available, that's exactly what the Patriots will do.

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