Despite investing some major draft capital in the tight end position as they look to find a post-Rob Gronkowski long-term solution, the early returns have not been promising.
The Patriots used two third-round picks on UCLA’s Devin Asiasi and Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene, but the former barely made an impact on the stat sheet and the latter appears to be more of an H-back or fullback.
Hunter Henry leads what could be a very promising class of tight ends as free agency approaches.
The Patriots need to get whomever their 2021 starter at quarterback ends up being some warm bodies to throw to, and they should prioritize that position in free agency.
The Patriots have a need for these three studs, and more than enough cap space to lure them into moving to New England.
These 3 tight ends could become stars with the Patriots.
3. Dan Arnold, Arizona Cardinals
Arnold could not have a more unlikely path to the NFL. A former receiver at Division-III Wisconsin-Platteville, Arnold made the New Orleans Saints’ roster after Dan Campbell helped convert the 6-6, 220-pound track star into a tight end. Arnold started to really make his mark in the pros as a weapon in Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid in Arizona.
In an offense that doesn’t use a traditional in-line tight end often, Arnold’s receiver background helped him step right in and produce. He hauled in 31 of Kyler Murray’s passes, netting 438 yards and four touchdowns.
Arnold’s value lies in his ability to catch the football, as his frame makes him too big for cornerbacks to handle and his 4.6 speed makes him too fast for a good chunk of linebackers. Belichick needs someone who he can rely on to bust the seam over the middle of the field, and Arnold certainly qualifies.
Arnold is not going to offer much as a blocker, but Bill Belichick’s scouting philosophy makes it clear that he will overlook poor blocking in a tight end if said player can stretch the field.