Scouting Report: Thomas Duarte, TE/WR

Duarte is not a household name, but he could fill a role that Patriots fans have wanted to fill for some time now

Duarte is not a household name, but he could fill a role that Patriots fans have wanted to fill for some time now

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

With all the big splashes the Patriots have made in free agency……Oh wait, nevermind. Once again, the Patriots have taken a much more laid back approach to free agency. Every year, fans complain that the Patriots are the only team not to do anything in free agency. Then, they completely forget when the team is on another run deep into the playoffs. This team has a philosophy of building through the draft, and one position that needs attention is Tight End. The Patriots have Gronk, but fans have clamored for Aaron Hernandez’s replacement since his departure from the team. Well, Thomas Duarte may be that guy.

Before I get into Duarte, lets talk about what the Patriots have actually done in free agency. Hogan seems like a great fit for the Patriots, and from all accounts, he is a guy that has been on the Patriots radar for awhile now. This seems like one of those signings that you look back on in 3 years and wonder how Buffalo ever let this guy go. I think this signing gives the team some leverage with Amendola as well. His contract needs to be restructured and if he is unwilling, Hogan could be a suitable replacement. As of writing this, Akiem Hicks has not signed anywhere, but it is not looking good for his return to New England. I thought Hicks was great down the stretch last year and was hoping he would return. There were some other minor signings/extensions, but nothing really worth writing about, so lets get back to Duarte.

Name: Thomas Duarte (#18)

School: UCLA (JR.)

Height:6’2″ (combine)

Weight: 231 Lbs. (combine)

Positives:

Duarte is a well rounded athlete with good size.  He is smooth with sneaky quickness and agility.  He moves well in and out of his breaks and does a nice job of setting up defenders.  Overall he is a good route runner. Duarte has good hands and a large catch radius making him a big target for his Quarterback.  He plays tough and shows no fear when going over the middle.  Duarte shows excellent body control for his size and has the ability to make tough catches look easy. If used correctly, Duarte can be a threat at all 3 levels and be a very good red zone option.

Negatives:

Duarte is the definition of a “tweener” and will need to go to a team that knows how to use him correctly.  He will have the occasional mental lapse and drop an easy catch from time to time.  Duarte will need to learn to play more physical and not allow defenders to get him off his routes.  He has good, not great straight line speed and may not be considered a threat to take it to the house after the catch. Duarte does not have the strength or bulk to be an inline blocker from the Tight End position and never will.

Overall:

I rarely do player comparisons because frankly, I am just not very good at them. However, after watching Duarte for only a short time, Aaron Hernandez came to mind. Forget all the off field stuff with Hernandez and remember the player. He was a TE really only in name, but the way the Patriots used him and Gronk together created excellent mismatches. Their positives and negatives line up almost exactly in my mind. Duarte has more reliable hands, but like Hernandez, would have the occasional drop of an easy catch.  Hernandez was a bit more advanced in his ability to set up defenders, but you see flashes of it from Duarte. Duarte is never going to be considered a great blocker at the next level, but he shows some technique and willingness when asked. The team that looks at Duarte’s “tweener” size as a positive instead of a negative is going to be rewarded with a really good move TE that can help out in the passing game. I think Duarte should come off the board earlier rather than later on day 3 and could be a pick we look back on as a steal down the road.

 

 

 

 

61 Responses to “Scouting Report: Thomas Duarte, TE/WR”

  1. Todti says:

    I totally agree with Mike. They got a 2nd round pick now instead of a 3rd round pick in 2018 and additionally a high-ceiling player for this season. If they like what they see early on maybe they can sign him on a reasonable contract.
    Now, the grade of this trade will essentially be determined by Flowers, Grissom, Johnson, and/or Long. If they, together with Sheard playing a larger role, can somehow make up for the loss of Jones the trade will look great.

    With 4 picks in the first 100, I could see something like this:
    2-60 -> DT Sheldon Day
    2-61 -> WR Tyler Boyd
    3-91 -> RB Jordan Howard
    3-92 -> OT Kyle Murphy or OT Willie Beavers
    OR
    Trade up in the second to get one of the better OTs, say Jason Spriggs, instead of Boyd and get WR Malcolm Mitchell later.

    Then take ILB Tyler Matakevich and a developmental CB later. I don’t think a LB is such a high priority since they play only 2 LBs more often than not and these spots are occupied by Collins and Hightower with Freeny being a sufficient 3rd. Yes, it would free up Collins and Hightower to rush but there are higher priorities in my opinion. A CB is necessary but I just think they are more successful coaching up lower picks.
    Also, I could also see them talking DE Shilique Calhoun if he’s the best player available and cut Johnson and Long.
    I also hope they will add Nate Washington to the WR competition.

  2. Russell says:

    NEXT move is Amendola $6.8 mil. Cap hit. It’s hard to see the Patriots keeping him at that cost; half that maybe but would he take a cut? If “I’m” Amendola I take the cut to stay with the Patriots, even at 3.6 mil. say, he will be hard pressed to get more in the market.
    If Amendola does not take a cut, I look for another trade, instead of cutting him. His value is not to high, so I’m thinking a 4-5th round pick NEXT year, Houston, 49ers, Vikings, maybe.

    • Todti says:

      I would actually extend his contract thereby lowering the salary. He’s just too valuable for this offense.

      • steve earle says:

        I have to agree with Russell on this one Todti. Bill may choose to extend Amendola, I don’t know, but I just think it would be smarter to trade him, get more cap space then look to get another slot receiver in the draft. That player doesn’t have to be a small quick guy, he could be a bigger WR who can win match ups.

  3. Dan Sullivan says:

    Excellent day for Patriots. The Cardinals got a pass rusher that is better than anyone in free
    agency. The Patriots helped their center and guard positions with Cooper and greatly
    improved their draft situation. It is a deep draft this year and the Cardinals second round pick
    will bring a great player. Adding Chris Long will bring a lot of intensity to defense.
    Finally Flowers and Grissom both rookies last year at Defensive End can start to show what they can do. Finally I do like Nate Washington if they can get him as he has a bit of Troy Brown in him.

  4. Yohy says:

    Hello everyone, I think this site does a great job covering the draft and scouting players. I’ve stayed away lately because I’m bitter about the theft of the Pats 1st round pick. Kudos to all the guys keeping the excitement going.

    The chandler jones trade has made things interesting for sure. I know this is not the time and place to rehash the past, but looking at last year’s draft makes you wonder what might have been.

    For example, A J Cann was sitting there in the second round. The pats wouldn’t have to trade for a guard if they pick him up. Now I hear they want to make Grissom a TE? What?
    That’s two big misses that definitely affected this year. Flowers development Would go a long way to making up for those misses.

    I’m glad the pats got an extra second rounder, but please no more whiffs like Wilson, brace, etc etc

    • steve earle says:

      Well welcome back Yohy and I hear your bitterness and would say it a lot stronger except my comment would be awaiting moderation I fear. So, about Grissom I think Bill likes the kid but knows he’s not going to make it at DE so is giving him one last best chance to stick. I wouldn’t hold my breath but he could surprise/shock me. As for A J Cann, right but water under the damn. With two 2nds anything can happen with Bill making the deals. Sit back and be amazed or shocked, highs or lows, who knows?

  5. Russell says:

    Question now is what to do with 11 draft choices? 4 can’t be traded (this year), and 2 -7th picks have little trade value. So trade-able picks, #60, 61, 92, 128, 199. It would be VERY unlikely that 11 picks would make the roster/P-squad.
    Salary cap C.Jones hit was about 7.7 mil., Coopers cap hit is aprox. 3.2 mil. ….saving about 4.5 mil. The extra year on Cooper rookie deal would be 12 mil. which looks to high so if Cooper looks good extending his deal at about 5.5-6.5 mil. a year for 3 years maybe???

    • acm says:

      Pats save 5.4 mil on the cap with the Jones trade. Just came out they signed DE Chris Long on a 1-year deal – no numbers released yet.

      As for the picks, agree that they need to trade some as there won’t be enough roster spots for all those picks. Maybe they could package the 6th and both 7s for a 5th?
      A team like the Raiders needs roster depth and could use the extra picks (not sure how many of their own they have this year though). I am sure there are other teams in a similar situation.

      • Ryan says:

        Any way that we could unload the two sevens and the sixth would be worth it, even if it’s just for more picks next year. Like you said, 11 picks will not make the roster, and we already have three late day 3 picks that we can’t trade out of in case we want to take a chance. Package the excess picks off and get some value out of it.

        In other news, Chris Long agreed to a one-year deal with the Pats. He’s getting older, but he’s definitely a proven commodity on the defensive line. This definitely softens the blow of unloading Chandler Jones.

    • Jeff says:

      While 11 may not fit on the roster, remember that especially in rounds 6-7, there is a very high bust rate of players who turn out not to be worth keeping anyways. With half of the selections in the last two rounds, we can be pretty confident that the Pats won’t be sad about losing several of them.

  6. steve earle says:

    News says DE Jones was traded. Russell you called that one. They didn’t say what we got though, anyone hear?

    • steve earle says:

      Hey a 2nd and OG Cooper from Arz, I read that’s good. My mock of Bronson Kaufus is looking more realistic now. And if he slides Sterling Sheperd with one of the 2nds.

    • Russell says:

      Arizona’s 2nd pick this year (61), and OG Jonathan Cooper a 1st round pick in 2014.

  7. JohnG says:

    Ragland is considered a top 20 pick right? Would love the pats to get him but I’m not sure I see him 1. Falling to number 30 in the draft (the highest spot the Patriots are able to draft this year) or 2. A team willing to draft him so high and trade him away.

    • JohnG says:

      Sorry first time commenter, in reply to j h tarboro

    • steve earle says:

      Good to have you here JohnG, the more the better, Yea I think Ragland is out of our picture as you point out but Bill has a habit of doing exactly what is unexpected. I could see him packiging a 2nd and a 3rd to move near the top of the 2nd to get someone though. Never say never with him.

  8. J H TARBORO says:

    Patriots S Nate Ebner is taking a leave of absence and training with the U.S National rugby team, due back in August. Good idea or bad idea?

    • Joey NL says:

      Love it that the Pats give him the opportunity to potentialy represent his country in the biggest sports event on the planet.

      Not sure if there is any contract language involving injuries sustained in events like this.

    • Jeff says:

      I wonder if the Pats used that to leverage better contract terms from Ebner.

  9. Martyr says:

    I wouldn’t mind, if we trade up for Spriggs a few spot in the second round.

    • Joey NL says:

      Bank on it that the Patriots will move up and down the board. They have 11 picks now. They sure as hell won’t be picking 11 players.

      With the contracts of Vollmer and Cannon expiring next year be sure the Pats will add a tackle this year. They always draft one year ahead.

    • steve earle says:

      That would be a nice move.

  10. Russell says:

    NOW who was it that said Trade Chandler Jones…………….. I had the wrong team tho.
    OG Cooper is a very good prospect!

  11. J H TARBORO says:

    I strongly believe the Patriots will go after Alabama’s ILB Reggie Ragland as a replacement for J. Mayo, just my opinion.

    • Joey NL says:

      Linebacker is still a huge need. As we are in nickel a lot of the time adding a starting caliber LB would enable BB and Patricia to use Hightower and/or Collins a lot more to rush the passer.

  12. Jose Marques says:

    The patriots trade chandler jones for a second round and jonathan cooper Guard. what they think of this trade? it is possible the patriots now exchange for a choice of the first round in the draft?

    • Jeff says:

      Still unlikely to move into the first round as AZ’s pick is later in the second round. With Cooper, Kline, Jackson, Mason, Stork, and Andrews all on the roster for next year at low salary figures, it’s hard to see the Pats chasing interior lineman through FA or the draft. With Jones departing, it makes DE a stronger possibility. However, DE for this year is not a huge need as they have Sheard, Ninkovich, Flowers, Grissom, and Johnson who all started the year last season on the roster.

    • steve earle says:

      Oh a second and Cooper, I like it. We were out, just heard Who did we trade with and what pick in the 2nd?

  13. J H TARBORO says:

    I’ve been saying this for months! Patriots just traded Chandler Jones to Arizona for an offensive lineman and a 2nd round pick. Trying to get detail, if the pick is for this year.

    • Joey NL says:

      Chandler Jones was very inconsistent. Could have 3 sacks in one game and then nothing in the next four. With all the upcoming extensions on the defense someone had to go. Great return for the Pats i think. This draft is loaded with DL talent and Sheard should be able to step up and take the starting role. Besides that, the Pats realy loved what Rufus Johnson and Trey Flowers showed last summer.

    • Ryan says:

      Cooper looks good on paper but has been given every opportunity in AZ and still failed. I want to be optimistic about him but he’s been inconsistent.

      The second-rounder is great if it’s for this year. I’d rather have kept Jones, but honestly we got full value for him so this trade isn’t a disappointment.

      DE is awfully thin so I hope we finish the Chris Long signing. We finally developed a pass rush last year and I don’t want to see it fade away after one season, so I hope we can add a draft pick as well.

      • Joey NL says:

        Cooper is bonus. The deal was made for the 2nd round pick. Losing Jones next year would give you a 3rd, now you have a 2nd + a guy with huge upside if healthy. With Scar back in the fold I’m really looking forward to what Cooper can do. If doesn’t pan out, he’s gone next year.
        Also the cap relieve is an added bonus.

      • Mike Gerken says:

        The writing was on the wall that something like this was going to happen. I was looking for the team to get a 2nd and a 5th for Jones. They got a 2nd and a player that just 2 years ago was the #7 overall pick in the draft who many considered a can’t miss prospect. Injuries have derailed his career to this point, (broken leg as a rookie, knee issue last year) but his risk adds up to about a 5th round pick with huge upside if he can get healthy and get back to his college form.
        Losing Chandler sucks. At times he was a great pass rusher who helped this team a lot. He was not dominant, but he was a quality player capable of making plays. The team has done good things to prepare for something like this (flower, grissom) and of the big FA’s the team is going to have to deal with, Jones was going to be the most expensive and maybe the least important of the group. Getting something for him now is the smart move.

        • Ryan says:

          I agree, this was just about the best case scenario for a trade. There’s no question that the value is there, but I’m not convinced our pass rush is going to be alright next year. Jones was inconsistent but he got better every year, and his talent was undeniable. I don’t agree with trading our best pass rusher as soon as we develop a pass rush when we are in win-now mode.

          This trade could definitely work out because we got good value for Jones. We just have to hope that another safety doesn’t catch BB’s eye in round 2.

  14. Tim D says:

    I like the graph a lot. To me, Duarte seems more like a Tim Wright than a Hernandez. Whenever I find myself trying to force a prospect into that Hernandez role I try to remind myself about two prospects that should be in next years draft that are perfect for that role. Evan Engram of Ole Miss, likely to be an early round pick, and my early favorite for NE, Cethan Carter of Nebraska.

  15. J H TARBORO says:

    Marshall pro day RB/FB/TE Devon “Rockhead” Johnson 6’1 237 ran a 40yds.of 4.59 and 4.61 33vert. He’s could be the L.Blount replacement? Extremely versatile and a special steamer.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree with “Rockhead” he is on my last mock and think he’s a perfect fit for the position.

  16. J H TARBORO says:

    http://youtu.be/o3kYFzpxD-A
    Jakeem Grant official highlights

    • Ryan says:

      Dude’s definitely got the Dion Lewis jukes, no question. He’s absolutely uncoverable in space, though I doubt he’ll see nearly as much open space or as many missed tackles in the NFL. I guess I’d be willing to take him with a sixth-rounder, seeing as we’ve got four of them now. My only issue is that I only saw about 5 contested catches in that whole video. He’s dynamic, but he might not be what we need right now. That’s why I see him as a sixth-rounder: he’d be a luxury item at this point.

      • J H TARBORO says:

        An UDFA, it wouldn’t hurt to bring him to camp, to give him a shot.

        • steve earle says:

          Again I agree J H. He’s on my last mock also in the UDFA list. Ryan didn’t see many contested receptions because the guy is only 5-6. makes his living by getting seperation not out fighting guys twice his size I expect. Still he could find a roll with our offense imo.

        • Ryan says:

          Steve I was even generous with the number 5. In the eight-minute highlight video, I saw about 5 times where there was a defender with an opportunity to make a play. In only 2-3 of those times did the defender actually touch Grant. I just don’t think that he has a true receiver skillset, as he’s an offensive weapon that’ll match up against whoever he can. Thus, he’s a luxury only.

  17. J H TARBORO says:

    Texas Tech pro day WR Jakeem Grant 5’6 160 ran 4.38 and 4.42 in the 40yd. 36.5 vert. 9-9 broad. 7.01 3 cone drill. Patriots should keep him in mind as a UDFA, we like Dion Lewis and Darren Sproles, I don’t have a problem with his size, coaches and teammates brag about this kid’s toughness! He would love to follow his fellow Texas Tech Alum Wes Weller and Danny Amendola.

  18. J H TARBORO says:

    I could be right, i could be wrong! I feel a draft day trade ! Not many New England scouts, if any were at Ohio St. pro day. At Alabama’s pro day, Bill Belichick personally worked out ILB Reggie Ragland, coincidence, you be the judge.

    • steve earle says:

      I’d think if Bill is looking for Ragland he would have to trade up don’t you think? Or else have to trade a player to get there?

    • Russell says:

      I like LB Ragland also, but I have him going #10 to the N.Y.Giants. Coach Belichick would have to send DE Chandler Jones and a 3d pick (maybe the 2nd) to the Giants to get the Pick.
      I think it worth it, but I don’t know??? Coach loves to trade on draft day, and the Patriots have not moved up in a while (Chandler Jones/ Hightower year).

  19. Russell says:

    Just finished my newest Patriot Mock at footballnation.com

    • Russell says:

      free agents to sign;
      LB Zach Brown 6’1″ 248 lbs ran a 4.44 40 at the Combine 3 years ago.
      TE -Jeff Cumberland 6’4″ 255Lbs, also ran a 4.45 40yd at the combine 5 years ago
      DE/LB Bjoern Werner

      Up-dated Mock;
      #60- CB/S Sean Davis
      #92- OT Joe Haeg
      #97- LB James Cowser
      #128- DT Matthew Ioannidis
      #199- WR Alex Erickson
      # 208- OG Jordon Walsh
      #214 – DT Willie Henry
      #221- OT Ryker Mathews
      Two 7th pick best prospects on the board.

  20. Dan Sullivan says:

    Free Agents for Patriots
    Shea McClellin LB
    Donald Brown RB
    Jason Jones DL
    Chris Canty DL

    Draft
    2 Braxton Miller WR Ohio State
    3 John Theus OT Georgia
    3 Alex Collins RB Arkansas
    4 Jordan Jenkins LB Georgia
    6 Deion Jones LB LSU
    6 Brandon Allen QB Arkansas
    6 Tyvis Powell S Ohio State
    6 Mike Thomas WR S.Miss.
    7 Tavon Young CB Temple
    7 Jordan Swindle OT Kentucky

  21. Fran says:

    As a UCLA your description is dead on! For what it is worth Duarte was Josh Rosen’s go to guy and he was most always on the end of key catches. As a Pats fan I would love this pick. I Also would love to see the Pats draft Perkins RB also out of UCLA!

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Nice to hear from someone who has probably watched more UCLA than I that I am on the right track with my evaluation. I did a report on Perkins as well if you haven’t seen that one yet.

  22. steve earle says:

    You make an interesting case for Duarte, Mike I think I’ll google him up and get a better idea of what you are seeing. As Russell notes we have a bunch of 6ths now how about a little idea from you as to how we should spend them?

  23. Russell says:

    Hmmmm….. lose the pie chart Mike very difficult understand. Don’t know much about Duarte, but sounds to me like a 6th round guy, and the Patriots have 4 of those picks!

    • Mike Gerken says:

      You don’t like the pie chart? I thought it gave a quick glance of how a player ranked when compared to others in his class at the combine and players that he is similar to from a size and athletics standpoint. (more grey the better) numbers on the outside represent the percentile they are in.

      • Russell says:

        It’s just me but, I like to known; hight and weight, 40 yd time, 3-cone time, Hand size, arm length, bench reps. etc.
        Bench reps need to be adjusted to arm length, weight, etc.
        40 time compared to short area quickness 3-cone drill
        Hand size is valueable, when watching tape of catches, blocking etc.
        I find it hard to compare to other players, like the chart displays, when evaluating each prospect on his own merits.

      • Todti says:

        I like the graph. It yields a good overview, because I sometimes get confused with the 3-cone times regarding what’s a good number for which position. And anyone who wants to look at the exact numbers – they are only one click away (below the graph).

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