New England still feels the hole Gronk left when he temporarily retired. But, like a broken heart, Patriots fans hope that the hole will mend. With a few draft picks and the possibility of veteran leadership, this might be happening in Foxoboro sooner than hoped.
New England grabbed Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keane in the 2020 draft. Asiasi is versatile. At 6’3″, 258 pounds he has the ability to block and receive. He’s athletic and moves well. At UCLA, Asiasi had 50 catches for 771 yards in the two seasons he was a Bruin.
Keene is consistent. He’s not going to snag a ton of receiving yards but he has good hands, recording only one drop in his collegiate career. Keene is also tough and versatile and can line up all over the field. He doesn’t record a ton of penalties which is also a plus.
Although there is hope for the rookies to make an immediate impact, one can’t tell how quick they will be able to adjust to the caliber of play in the NFL. This gives Matt LaCosse a chance at a starting position for the Patriots. His five years of experience can help him; or at the very least help guide the rookies to improve New England’s tight end problems.
Ryan Izzo simply did not perform last year. He recorded the second worst blocking grade (44.9) amongst all players in his position. He’s in the mix, but he’ll have to make drastic improvements if he hopes to play.
The Patriots also snagged Rashod Berry and Jake Burt as un-drafted free agents.
New England’s tight ends combined for just 37 catches, 419 yards and two touchdowns last season. This year’s combination of new talent and experience will look to change those numbers.