The Patriots have a new tight end to compete on their roster. After parting ways with both Ben Watson and Chris Baker, New England nabbed Rob Gronkowski in the second round. But are they done? A couple names could still be had on Day three have Patriots interest written all over them.
To begin, Rob Gronkowski is considered one of the top tight end talents in the NFL Draft. Considering the gaping hole New England had at the start of the off-season, the Patriots have slowly rebuilt their unit through free agency and now through the Draft. But are they done?
According to some experts, the Patriots are now set at the tight end position after adding Alge Crumpler via free agency and Gronkowski through the draft. The team also has a pair of young tight ends who can be developed over time in Robbie Agnone and Rob Meyers.
Not so fast. The Draft has a ton of talent at the TE spot still available, and it's not only probable, but likely the Patriots will take another tight end in this Draft. The team has yet to fill Watson's spot, and the role of H-Back has yet to be assigned, though Sammy Morris, Watson and others such as Heath Evans have filled the role in the past.
Dennis Pitta SR 6-5/248/- BYU Moorpark, CA
Some players to keep an eye on are BYU TE Dennis Pitta, Pittsburgh TEs Dorin Dickerson and Nate Bynham, Florida TE Aaron Hernandez and USC TE Anthony McCoy.
Of the group, perhaps Pitta is the bet fitting prospect for the Patriots offense. He can fill the role of H-Back while developing his skills at TE. A bit older because of the nature of the BYU program requiring kids to fulfill their mission during school, Pitta is arguably the best pass catcher of the group.
A league source tells Patriots Insider that Pitta worked out for the Patriots, and it went well.
Dorin Dickerson SR 6-1/222/- Pittsburgh Imperial, PA
Unfortunately, if it were that simple, the Pitta would be the only pick. Dorin Dickerson had contact with the Patriots on numerous occasions. A source tells Patriots Insider that Dickerson wowed scouts with his athletic ability at the combine. Considered one of the most athletic prospects available at the position, Dickerson could fill Watson's role as an athletic big body capable of stretching the field. Dickerson was the fastest TE timed at the combine running a blistering 4.4 second 40. With that type of speed, Dickerson could become a matchup problem for opposing defenses.
Nate Byham SR 6-5/250/- Pittsburgh Franklin, PA
Bynham had a workout for the Patriots and was considered a possibility having learned under former NFL head coach Dave Wannstadt at Pittsburgh. Bynham is considered one of the better (perhaps best) blocking TEs in the Draft. Depending on how long Crumpler will be around, Bynham could be a late round steal
Aaron Hernandez JR 6-2/245/- Florida Bristol, CT
Hernandez would make the Patriots Draft a perfect trifecta - that is if you think Florida players are can't miss types. New Englnad already has a pair of Florida defenders in this Draft, why not one on offense. It's no secret Bill Belichick likes players in the Florida program, and Hernandez would fill a need.
Ironically, Hernandez is ranked as scout.com's top TE prospect. Landing him could turn out as a major coup, but he wont last long.
Anthony McCoy SR 6-4.5/249/- USC Fresno, CA
Finally, Anthony McCoy comes from Pete Carroll's much vaunted Southern Cal system. A player who showed skill as a run blocker during the senior bowl, McCoy needs to work on his ability to hold onto the ball, probably the only negative that might keep the Patriots from taking him.