The Patriots enjoyed the best of both worlds last season. Not only did they win their sixth Super Bowl title, but they did so with minimal impact from their draft class, with the exception of Sony Michel.
Their first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth selections in the 2018 draft all wound up on injured reserve. The team's final pick, TE Ryan Izzo, did as well.
And it's not that this was the 2017 (four picks, none higher than the third round) or '07 (Brandon Meriweather was only selection higher than the fourth round) draft classes, which were basically complete wastes.
No, while the '18 draft class had some depth to it (55.6 percent of the players were taken in the sixth or seventh round), there was a legitimate top power half with two first-round picks and another, Duke Dawson, in the second round.
So, you could make the argument the Patriots are welcoming two draft classes to the team this season, including seven players drafted in the first three rounds who have yet to play an NFL game. That's a lot of firepower, a lot of talent, at least on paper, to add to the reigning world champions.
So, in theory, things are set up quite nicely for the Patriots. Not only are they one of the best teams in the league — largely built on a lot of veterans — but they are finally starting to form a young base of talent that could carry them through the next transition from Tom Brady and/or Bill Belichick, whenever that may be.
But that's in theory. The reality? It's not usually that nice and tidy. Things rarely work out as planned in the NFL.
But this group, call them the Injured Six, will have every opportunity to grab a role on this team. Whether they do or not, and how they perform in the games, could go a long way in determining whether or not the Patriots repeat this season.
Let's breakdown the chances of success for each player, and their role on the team (sort of follows on our Rookie Development Plan series):
Player: Isaiah Wynn
Pick: 2018 first round, 23rd overall
Position: Offensive tackle
Patriots scheme position: Left tackle
Most forget that Wynn was the anticipated crown jewel of this draft class, as he was taken ahead of Michel. The Patriots drafted him with an eye on starting at left tackle, or at the very least competing with Trent Brown to replace Nate Solder. The reality was, Brown impressed early on and grabbed the starting job, Wynn did not, and then suffered an Achilles injury.
Even before the injury, Wynn was one of the most disappointing players in camp and he struggled in one-on-ones. In fact, I named him the biggest disappointment among all the offensive linemen: