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New England Patriots Rumors: Zach Sudfeld, Kamar Aiken

Expected to be a longshot on the New England Patriots 53-man roster, young wide receiver Kamar Aiken is starting to pick up steam thanks to some strong performances during OTAs. Aiken spent some time on the Patriots roster last season, but the former UCF Knights star was mostly reserved to the Pats practice squad. Possessing great size and speed (4.45 forty yard dash that earns him the most Google searches), Aiken has some interesting upside, and that is what could make him nab an unlikely roster spot. I don’t expect him too, but it is possible.

ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss is the one who reminded us not to overlook Aiken in his excellent quick-hit column this Sunday morning, and Reiss believes that he has the “potential to be a factor” and could be a “late-bloomer”. Aiken is a name to watch for in training camp, because he could steal a valuable roster spot as a wide receiver if he continues to impress.

Zach Sudfeld was an extremely notable diamond-in-the-rough who performed at a high level during OTAs, and he took advantage of injuries to Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and a minor ankle exit from Jake Ballard during the last session of media-access OTAs. Sudfeled, an undrafted free agent, was a star in college at Nevada and has all the tools to be a top tight end with great blocking, smooth pass-catching, and a 6’7″ frame that has “upside” all over it. Injures were a huge factor and he definitely isn’t a sure thing, but Sudfeld is playing himself into a position to be a lock for the practice squad.

The beat writers certainly took notice of Sudfeld’s performance, as he clearly seized that opportunity with more practice reps. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe views Sudfeld as a “good bet to crack” the Patriots 53-man roster, and he had some incredible stats to back that up in his column today. Volin wrote that Sudfeld’s catch rate of 74.1% was significantly superior to touted TE prospects Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz, and he also had the most “key receptions” with 22. Per Volin, Sudfeld was also easily the best blocker of all the draft prospects at tight end, and it sounds like he does indeed have the total package. The question is whether or not he will be able to stay healthy and show off that ability in the NFL.

And man, those were some awesome metrics that Volin just gave us.

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Tags: Kamar Aiken New England Patriots Zach Sudfeld

  • unclealfie

    Just what we need; another TE.

    • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

      I hope your comment was serious because a good blocking TE is key to the success of the Pats running game. If he is as good a receiver as I have heard, then his 6′ 7″ frame would be a great target for Brady over the middle and in the RED ZONE. The more quality TEs the better the offense……so says BB.

      • unclealfie

        You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know. My point is, how many is enough? Signing Sudfeld makes 10 on the roster, I believe, as of today. I’d say somebody has to go, seeing as we carried six last year with all the injuries and we’ve carried as few as 4 in the past.

        • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

          You do know that Sudfeld is a TE and not a WR. We have Gronk (injured), Hernandez (healing), Ballard (recovering from surgery), Hooman, and Fells as the TEs on the Pats 90 man squad right now not counting Sudfeld. If Sudfeld continues to impress, I would think about releasing either Fells or Hooman. The TE position is key to a successful running game, never mind Brady throwing passes to them.

          • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

            Sudfeld is going to the practice squad, in my opinion. Pats don’t need another TE on the roster unless if Sudfeld plays out of his mind or something, but he’s also too good to let go. P-squad ticket.

          • http://sbpra.com/paulvsuffriti Paul V. Suffriti

            Not so sure about that Joe. Fells was somewhat of a disappointment last season and hardly added any value to the team as a backup TE. Every team in the NFL look at the Pats players and are ready to bounce on any players the Pats cut or try and slip on the practice squad.

            “Sudfeld caught a significantly higher percentage of targets (74.1 percent) than Eifert (61.1 percent) and Ertz (64.7 percent),” writes Volin. “He also had more “key receptions” than any of the other tight ends in the draft — 22 that went for long yardage, converted a key third or fourth down, or was inside the red zone that gave his offense a better opportunity to score.”

            “But where Sudfeld really sets himself apart is with his blocking. He led all tight ends with 24 blocks that resulted in touchdowns, including 19 in the run game, five in the passing game. Travis Kelce, taken in the third round by Kansas City, had the next most touchdown-producing blocks with 10.”

            I would not take the chance trying to place him on the practice squad…….cut Fells and make room for another potential future star.