Well, Miami Dolphins fans can let out a slight sigh of relief; Chris Grier added a veteran offensive tackle. The Dolphins are reportedly signing former New England Patriot’s first round pick Isaiah Wynn to a one year contract.
Wynn comes to Miami with a wealth of professional experience, starting 33 games at left tackle and another 7 at right tackle (all in 2022) over the previous 5 NFL seasons with the Patriots. Wynn has been a part of several solid offensive lines and performed at a high level as a left tackle from 2019-2021. He made the switch to right tackle for the 2022 season and experienced mixed results.
He will be just 27 years of age for the 2023 season and seemingly has a lot of football ahead of him. That begs the question: why were the Miami Dolphins able to acquire him all the way in May on a (likely) affordable one year deal?
It’s always best to start with the bad when breaking down players/acquisitions, so lets do that.
Well, the biggest issue that Isaiah Wynn has faced in his NFL career is injuries. He’s been placed on the IR 4 of his 5 NFL seasons and has missed 39 games due to injury since entering the league. He’s had numerous lower body injuries and the chance that he’ll play all (or even most) of Miami’s games in 2023 is extremely low.
He also lacks the ideal measurables for an NFL tackle. He’s a bit short (just 6’2) and doesn’t have the length that many NFL teams look for with tackles. He has still performed well at tackle through the majority of his career (so who cares?), but it’s worth mentioning.
The other main concern with Wynn is his level of play since being moved to right tackle last season. He played well to open the year, but as it wore on (and injuries began to pile up) he had some ugly performances. PFF gave him just a 5.0 (yes, out of 100) pass blocking grade against the Browns and he was benched for a portion of the Packers game for giving up multiple sacks.
With that out of the way, lets get down to why this is such an exciting move for the Dolphins. After watching a couple of his games from 2022, I think Wynn can be a quality starting right tackle in the NFL. He moves really well and even though he’s a bit undersized for the position, he doesn’t get bullied very often. Let’s take a look at his true pass sets week one against Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah.
In week 1 of the 2022 season, Isaiah Wynn started at right tackle for the New England Patriots. He had 30 snaps in pass protection, not allowing a single hurry, hit, or sack (per @PFF)— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) May 14, 2023
Here are all of his true pass sets against Jaelan Phillips and Emmanuel Ogbah ⏬ pic.twitter.com/8NF0fmim1s
The ball is getting out of Mac Jones’ hands quickly (which helps the offensive line in pass pro), but guess what? Tua Tagovailoa has been top-5 in time to throw each of the last two seasons. The Dolphins aren’t going to ask their offensive line to block for 3-4 seconds on these straight dropbacks very often.
The thing that stands out to me for Wynn is that he doesn’t surrender any quick pressures in this game. Doesn’t even really have a “bad” rep. You’re not going to be blown away when you watch this, but he’s extremely solid and dependable-something the Dolphins could use.
Week 2 of the 2022 season the Patriots managed a 3 point victory against the Steelers. Their running backs averaged 5.3 yds/carry and iced the victory in the 4th quarter.— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) May 14, 2023
PFF gave Isaiah Wynn an 80.8 run blocking grade in that game. Here are some of his best reps ⏬#FinsUp pic.twitter.com/W2B4O0UTLS
Wynn has historically made his money as a plus run blocker and adequate pass blocker. No surprise that he looks solid in the running game. Again, he isn’t going to blow you away with his tape. He’s not necessarily going to knock guys off the ball, but he understands leverage and is exceptional when you get him on the move. He is a perfect fit for what Mike McDaniel wants to do on offense.
The other plus with Wynn is positional flexibility. If he doesn’t win a starting job in camp, he would be the perfect 6th lineman. He’s played a ton of left tackle (both his senior year at Georgia and his first four years in the NFL), a good bit of right tackle last season, and several years of left guard initially while at Georgia. There is a chance that he’ll be asked to play all three positions in 2023.
Final Grade: B+
Wynn is signing a prove it deal and has a lot to gain by staying healthy and performing well. He’s still just 27 years of age and has already shown that he can play at a high level in the NFL. The official contract figures haven’t dropped yet, but I would be shocked for him to be making that much on this one year deal.
The Dolphins would be foolish to not let him compete for a starting position in camp. I want to see Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg develop into quality players (and I believe they can), but at some point you need to cut your losses. Wynn has played at a higher level than either of those two and if they don’t bring it at training camp this year, it makes sense to give Wynn the nod.
Even if he’s just coming in as a swing tackle/depth, this is a good pickup for the Dolphins. I love the move and I’m excited to see if he can get his career back on track.