New England Nation on WPRI 12 & WPRI.com

Pats trade up twice, double-dip at tight end

New England

PROVIDENCE (WPRI) – In 2010, the Patriots drafted two tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Ten years later, Bill Belichick is back double-dipping in that spot.

Late Friday night, New England made two separate trades late in the third round with the Raiders and Jets(!) to acquire Devin Asiasi from UCLA and Dalton Keene from Virginia Tech.

Let’s start with Asiasi. The Patriots moved up nine sports to No. 91 to grab him. They dealt picks 100, 139 and 172 to land Asiasi and a fifth round pick at 159.

A late bloomer in college, Asiasi has a nice combination of size and speed for a tight end. At 6-foot-3 257 pounds he ran a 4.73 40-yard-dash. He started his career at a Michigan Wolverine before ending with the Bruins. His 2019 season was the first of real substance and the Patriots believe he will build off that success. Asiasi caught 44 balls for 641 yards and scored four times. Bill Belichick prioritizes catching, running, and blocking — in that order – from his tight ends and Asiasi has the raw tools to fit the bill.

After four picks on the night, the Patriots traded up once more at the tail end of the round to grab Keene at 101st overall. The franchise must love Keene so much since they A) traded with the Jets for just the second time ever under Belichick, B) gutted both of their fourth-rounders (125, 129) C) and shipped a future draft pick (2021 6th round) for the first time ever in the Belichick era.

Keene, who’s nickname is “Rambo” looks like he’ll become a fan favorite right away. The hardest working player for the Hokies saw time at four different positions during his time in Blacksburg (running back, H-back, out wide, tight end). At 6-foot-4 253 excellent athletic fit with versatility on offense and in the kicking game.

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