Patriots select Georgia OL Wynn, RB Michel in 1st round

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Isaiah Wynn #77 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates beating the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Just call the New England Patriots the University of Georgia north.

The Patriots used their two first-round picks in the NFL draft to plug a hole on their offensive line and to bolster their depth at running back.

They selected 6-2, 302-pound offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn out of Georgia with the 23rd overall pick on Thursday night. They then chose 5-foot-11, 215-pound Georgia running back Sony Michel 31st overall pick. New England has a total of five selections in the first 95 picks.

They were just some of several needs for the AFC champions following the departure of several starters in free agency.

Wynn started his college career as a guard but shifted to left tackle as a senior, earning second-team AP All-America honors in 2017. Michel as a dual threat for the Bulldogs, rushing for 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior in 2017. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry.

He would seem to be undersized as a tackle at the NFL level, though he could be an option to replace left tackle Nate Solder, who signed with the New York Giants.

Starting right guard Shaq Mason is also entering the final year of his rookie contract and will become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season. With Mason expected to garner a lot of interest in the free agency market in 2019, this could be a pre-emptive move on the part of Bill Belichick to get someone in the pipeline now.

The Patriots have started rookies up front before -- left guard Joe Thuney started 16 games in his first year in 2016.

Wynn's selection was part of a run on offensive linemen in the first round Thursday night. Six linemen were selected before the first wide receiver -- Maryland's D.J. Moore -- came off the board at No. 24.

New England still has needs on defense, including linebacker, defensive end and cornerback.

It had a chance to get former Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, who visited the Patriots facility during the pre-draft process.

But they were undercut by the Titans and its new head coach and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who selected Evans with the 22nd pick it acquired from Baltimore.


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