The New England Patriots will almost certainly start Zach Sudfeld at the tight end position on Sunday, and the Buffalo Bills had better not sleep on the Nevada UDFA. Sudfeld was dubbed by Boston Globe beat writer as a “baby Gronk” last month, and sometimes you can’t help but feel that his play shows flashes resembling Rob Gronkowski, who will likely come back from injury in Week 3 and reclaim his starting job. But until then, it is the ‘Studfeld” show, and he should be able to keep a significant role on this offense following Gronk’s return. Although he isn’t as athletic as Aaron Hernandez was, he did spend most of his time in the slot at Nevada and figures to replace Hernandez as the Patriots “move” tight end.
Zach Sudfeld has all the tools to be a top tight end in this league, because he is a very smooth pass-catcher who has the ball skills, strength, hands, and smarts to make tough catches and consistently move the chains. He was also an excellent blocker in Nevada’s Pistol Offense, and all he needs is some seasoning in order to become a really good blocking TE in the NFL.
Versatile and underrated TE Michael Hoomanawanui gave Sudfeld some praise yesterday, and he told that we shouldn’t view Sudfeld as merely a rookie, via ESPN Boston, “Everyone’s played a lot of football. Zach is a rookie, but he’s been here long enough, and he’s played in enough preseason games, where you have to throw that out the window.”
Hooman also praised Sudfeld for asking veteran players questions, and it is important to glance over the “UDFA” tag associated with Zach Sudfeld and wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. These two have shown that some things trump draft status, and they aren’t the first or last players to do this.
Jamie Collins was drafted, and the former Southern Mississippi “Elephant” figures to have a key role on defense as a backup linebacker next season. The Patriots top pick in this year’s draft, Collins looks poised to make good on his second-round draft stock, and he has received high praised from linebackers coach Pepper Johnson this offseason. Collins has been busy absorbing information from veteran players as well, and he was even busier showing off his coverage skills and uncanny ability to force fumbles. Coverage ability at the linebacker position is a welcome addition for the New England Patriots, and Collins looks like a really good playmaker.
Here’s what he said about making his regular season debut, “Just anxious. I’m anxious to play, get out here and see what this regular season is all about.”