We’ll soon find out whether there is a new CBA or a lockout on the way in the NFL. In the meantime, I’ll evaluate each position on the Patriots’ current roster and look at potential draft picks or free agents that could be brought in to improve the position or add depth. Today’s position audit looks at the tight end position. Check out the position audit for QB here, the position audit for RB here, and the position audit for WR here.
Current Players on the Roster:
- Alge Crumpler, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Carson Butler
Possible Free Agent Pick-Ups:
- Daniel Graham
Possible Draft Picks:
The Patriots hit home runs in free agency and the draft last offseason at the TE position. Alge Crumpler was brought in primarily as a blocker and a mentor to eventual draft picks, and he delivered above and beyond expectations. His impact in the leadership department was so big that he was elected as a captain weeks into the regular season. While his days of being a pass catching threat are behind him, he can still make a play when called upon. However, the big play-making is aptly handled by the young studs the Patriots picked up in the draft.
Rob Gronkowski (2nd round) and Aaron Hernandez (4th round) made an immediate impact in the passing game their rookie season. Gronk finished with 42 catches for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hernandez, who was slowed by a hip injury late in the season, finished with 45 catches for 563 yards and 6 touchdowns. Gronkosaurus was also a factor as a blocking TE. The Patriots found themselves two strong players, barring injuries, for the foreseeable future.
I don’t see the Pats making any moves for this position, as they already have three reliable players, and I don’t think any teams carry four tight ends on the active roster. If they do, the only player I can think of is Daniel Graham, who was released by Denver, returning to the team that drafted him. Graham would have a similar role to Crumpler as a blocker and team leader. However, that means the team would have to let Crumpler go, and I don’t foresee that happening.