With a lackluster performance protecting Tom Brady last season, the New England Patriots were poised to revamp the offensive line for the 2016 season. That process started with bringing back longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, which has completely changed the way that the Patriots do business.
With the 78th overall pick, the Patriots selected versatile offensive lineman NC State's Joe Thuney in the 2016 NFL draft. While the Patriots were on the radar for help at the tackle position(s) with the impending free agency of Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon, Thuney played all five offensive line positions in his time at NC State and could fill in wherever is needed.
Thuney has issues (shorter arms for a lineman and not a lot of bulk for the position), but with the help of Scarnecchia, I think that Thuney could become the swing tackle that the Patriots were looking for last season. Because he has so much versatility on the offensive line as both a tackle and a guard, the decision for the Patritos to draft him is a no-brainer.
Is Thuney ready to make a serious impact next season? Probably not. However, he provides depth and could blossom into a special player if things go according to plan.
Final Grade: B+