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4. Asante Cleveland
The newest member of the Patriots’ tight end group, Cleveland faces long odds to make the 53-man roster. After the news broke about the Jordan Devey trade in which the Patriots received Cleveland from the 49ers, Cyrus Geller noted that Cleveland probably isn’t much more than a camp body to the Patriots.
That being said, a strong showing from Cleveland in the preseason could change the Patriots’ mind about his roster status.
Cleveland was signed by the 49ers as an undrafted free agent last season. The Miami (Fla.) product didn’t catch a pass in the regular season as a rookie, but he snagged three passes in the ‘Niners’ preseason opener against the Texans.
With Scott Chandler and Jake Bequette nursing injuries right now, Cleveland has an opportunity to prove his worth. He’s not about to supplant Rob Gronkowski as the starter or anything, but the sophomore pro ought to give Michael Hoomanawanui a run for his money as the No. 3 tight end.
Here’s what Bill Belichick said about the addition of Cleveland to the team:
"We did a lot of work on him out of college from Miami. We didn’t really want to give up Devey, but you’ve got to give up something to get something. I think hopefully both guys will be able to help both teams in positions of need."
Now donning No. 44 in New England, it’s up to Cleveland to show he belongs.
Next: 3. Jordan Richards