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Patriots should draft a tight end -- here are their options

Ryan Hannable
March 06, 2018 - 10:37 am

The Patriots need to draft a tight end.

No matter what happens with Rob Gronkowski for 2018, the Patriots need to start thinking of the future at the position. There aren't many young free agent tight ends available at a good rate via free agency and other than Gronkowski, the Patriots have veterans Martellus Bennett and Dwayne Allen on the roster, who both are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. Of course there's Jacob Hollister, but he's no more than a third tight end in the NFL.

This says the Patriots need to look to draft a tight end.

So, what are their options? Well, there aren't many as the draft isn't super deep at the position, but there are a few potential fits.

Here are a few tight ends New England should target.

Name: Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Projected round: 1-2
Quick thoughts: Goedert was a monster in his final two seasons, as he totaled 164 catches for 2,404 yards and 18 touchdowns. Being a star high school basketball player, the athleticism is there and he can catch passes at all three levels of the defense. The one knock against him is his blocking ability, but that's a knock against several college tight ends. Good coaching and experience can change that. At the combine last week, he said Gronkowski is the tight end he models his game after, which obviously stands out to Patriots fans.

Name: Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Projected round: 1-2
Quick thoughts: The Penn State product is probably the most athletic player at his position in the draft. A three-sport athlete in high school, he also starred in volleyball and basketball, and is his high school's all-time leading scorer on the basketball court. His senior year at Penn State was his best, as he finished with 57 catches for 563 yards and nine touchdowns. The seam route appears to be his favorite route, but he can get open all over the field. He may not be big enough to block some of the bigger defensive ends in the league, but this could be worked on by bulking up and working on his strength.

Name: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Projected round: 2-3
Quick thoughts: Andrews isn't like most tight ends, as he played in the pass-heavy offense in Oklahoma. This past year as a junior he totaled 62 receptions for 958 yards and eight touchdowns. He admitted last week he doesn't have as much experience blocking as some of the other tight ends, but he wants to learn and wants to get better -- it was just something he wasn't asked much of in college. A high school receiver, he's very athletic and can get open all over the field.

Name: Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Projected round: 3-4
Quick thoughts: Hurst may be one of the most NFL-ready tight ends in the entire draft. He gave professional baseball a shot after he was drafted by the Pirates in high school, but then decided on football. At 25 years old, he's one of the older prospects coming out. This past fall he finished with 44 catches for 559 yards and two touchdowns. Even though he's 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, he showcased his athleticism at the combine with his 40-time coming in at 4.67 seconds. 

Name: Jaylen Samuels, NC State
Projected round: 4-5
Quick thoughts: This is an outside the box option, as he isn't a true tight end. He doesn't really have any true position at all, for that matter. He lined up all over the field for NC State this past season, including in the back field, at tight end and even in the slot. At 5-foot-11, 223 pounds, he isn't big enough to be a true tight end, but he can do a lot of things well. This past season, he was the Wolfpack's leading receiver (76 receptions, 597 yards, four TDs), while being a major threat in the red zone. Bill Belichick has always said it's about collecting good football players and figuring out positions later. Samuels would be a classic Belichick selection in the middle-to-late rounds.