By: Andrew Parker
The New England Patriots addressed the tight end vacancy last year left by Rob Gronkowski by adding veterans Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse. The position was not very productive at all last season, as the Patriots were ranked in the bottom five in production from the position.
It was pretty obvious they decided to change their course this year through the draft.
Enter in Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, both of whom were taken in the third round of this year’s draft.
At UCLA, Asiasi proved that he could be a physical run blocker on the line of scrimmage. He also has the physical makeup to be a versatile weapon in the Patriots offensive scheme. Standing at 6’3″ and 279 lbs, Asiasi will be able to help stretch the field and be a vertical threat that the Patriots have missed dearly at the position.
Dalton Keene was the other TE the Patriots took in the third round of this year’s draft. Keene lined up all over the backfield in college for the Hokies, and it will be a learning curve for him as he moves to the next level. The Patriots view Keene as a similar route runner and pass catcher to Aaron Hernandez in the two-tight end set they would previously run with Gronkowski.
This is the first time the Patriots have drafted a tight end since Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were chosen in the 2010 draft. There is reason for excitement, as Asiasi and Keene could be similar in the system to the two previous dominant tight ends we once saw in New England.
Cover photo via: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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