The Patriots aren’t shy about trading back picks nor are they unfamiliar with reaching for guys that aren’t projected for certain rounds. In the past, they have drafted lineman ahead of when they’re scheduled to go, Logan Mankins being one that comes to mind getting drafted 31st overall anchoring that left side of the line for many years. The blind side of Tom Brady was a concern last year with the injury to Nate Solder, along with other line defects that played a large role in the playoff problems of 2015. This year, we seem to be making strides at the left side of our line if our 2016 preseason is any indication.
3rd round Pick Joe Thuney is looking like he is a key piece to putting the line back together for the upcoming season. In the first two preseason games, Thuney has had significant playing time with the first team and has an impressive work ethic that’s intriguing for the coaches to watch. Speaking on his work ethic, Thuney has worked his way up the depth chart and is also pursuing a third college degree in the meantime, a promising trait to see at a young age. Thuney has contributed nicely and added an extra element to the line showing athleticism along with brute strength in his first couple games as a professional.
Thuney, a versatile player that has played on every part of the line dating back to his college days has done his job as of late and people are noticing. The run game has been strong these last two games with much help from added protection across the line. The pass blocking which led to screen play execution was helpful for our backs, both James White and Brandon Bolden would attest to that. There has been good protection for Jimmy Garoppolo, a concern heading into the preseason. There have been a few times where he has been rushed, but for the most part, the line has shown strong signs of pulling it together this year. Thuney listed as the starter for the first two preseason games shows the confidence that the coaching staff has in him, which can solidify a spot on the roster for him heading forward.
Despite Thuney being a third round pick, he sure is playing like a first rounder according to most people following the Patriots. Dante Scarnechhia was brought in to mold this line back to form, and he has sure done that with what looks like to be an early prediction of a Patriots sleeper. The Patriots will continue to monitor the young guard out of North Carolina State, continue to push him for success, and rely on his ability to protect the most important player on the roster. All eyes on Thuney going forward as he looks to build on his game and make big strides on an O-line that needed some re-evaluation after last season.
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