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Why rebuilding OT depth was big part of Patriots’ offseason plan

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — As mammoth offensive tackle Trent Brownmade his way up the steps to the field at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, it was an in-person reminder of a big part of Bill Belichick’s offseason plan: Building more depth at offensive tackle.

Belichick’s words from last November explain why.

“You want to have depth at every position, but those guys are hard to find. If you’re tackle-poor, I think that can show up a lot quicker than being poor at other positions,” Belichick said. “Tackle, you can help them a little bit, but they’re single-blocking most of the game.”

Enter Brown in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. (Brown and a fifth-round pick were acquired for a third-round pick.)

Enter Isaiah Wynn with the team’s top draft pick, No. 23 overall.

They are two of the biggest pieces of the Patriots’ offseason, and if things go according to plan, they will help fill the void created by the free-agent departures of starting left tackle Nate Solder (Giants) and top swing tackle Cameron Fleming (Cowboys).

One of the biggest takeaways from Brown’s chat with Patriots reporters Thursday is that he views himself as more than a right tackle, which is where 26 of his 28 NFL starts have come. Put him on the left side and he said he feels just as comfortable. He called himself an excellent pass-protector who gets after it in the run game.

“I’ve always played both sides,” he said. “I started off playing college left. I played left in high school. I really started playing right when I got to the University of Florida. But switching sides has never been a real big issue for me.”

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