Building The Patriots 2018 Big Board: Tight Ends

With Gronk’s future up in the air, could the Patriots look to draft a Tight End early in the draft?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

We have come to the final offensive skill position and in years past, this was a position that seemed like if the Patriots picked someone, it was either a luxury pick or a value to good to pass up. This year, the position has a little bit of uncertainty to it. As I have stated in the past, I think Gronk will be back on the field for the Patriots this season. That being said, my confidence level goes way down when we talk beyond this season. With that said, I think the Patriots could be looking at the position closely and may take a Tight End early if they feel one of these guys can have a similar impact down the road that Gronk has had when he is healthy. With that said, here are the guys I think the team should target.

Position: Tight End

Priority: Medium

Current Roster:

Rob Gronkowski (age 28, signed through 2019)

Dwayne Allen (age 28, signed through 2019)

Jacob Hollister (age 24, signed through 2019)

Troy Niklas (age 25, signed through 2018)

 

Position Overview:

Obviously when Gronk is on the field and healthy, he is the one of, if not the greatest Tight Ends to ever play the game. His one achilles heel is health and with some rumblings of retirement, the reign of Gronk in New England could be coming to an end much sooner than fans would hope. To be honest, as I am writing this, I am surprised that something has not happened with Allen. His cap hit is really high for what he brings to the table and I have to assume that either a restructure or a cut will happen before the season starts. Hollister is young and flashed talent in college, but he is more of a receiver than an all around Tight End. Niklas, who just recently signed, has talent, but has dealt with his fare share of injuries that have derailed his once promising career. We will see if a new setting will resurrect his career.

Players With A Draftable Grade:

Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

Goedert has good size for the position. He has long arms and big hands to create a large target for his QB. He uses his size to his advantage. Goedert has soft hands and seems to pluck the ball out of the air effortlessly, even on passes that are off target. He is a smooth mover with good speed to run past Linebackers who try to cover him. He looks comfortable running and catching passes at all three levels of the field and has Wide Receiver traits on deep throws and uses his size and speed to create yardage with the ball in his hand. Goedert was able to win on his physical gifts in college and his route running needs refinement. He is a willing blocker, but is another area that has room to improve if he wants to be a good all around Tight End. He has had some minor injuries, including a hamstring injury that occurred at the Senior Bowl and has kept him from participating in the pre draft process, so teams will be going purely off tape. Grade: Round 2

 

Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

Hurst may be the best all around tight end in the class right now and should make an impact right away. He has a good combination of size, speed, athleticism and blocking skills to be a contributor in multiple ways. He plays with good body control and balance as well as subtle nuances in his route running to create space. He has good hands and consistently wins contested balls. Has the potential to be a mismatch as he lined up at multiple positions. He is an older prospect because of a stint as a baseball player (interesting story why he left) and what we see might be what we get with him. Not a detailed route runner and most of his catches are contested, which does not allow for any YAC. Grade: 2nd round

 

Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

Andrews has a nice combination of size and speed for the position. He is a smooth mover that gets in and out of his breaks well for a guy his size. He is very productive and was Mayfields go to guy in the red zone. Andrews has shown good versatility and wins in a variety of ways. He has big play potential. Andrews is another guy who was not asked to be a traditional blocker in college and that aspect of his game will need developed. He has had more drops than I would like to see and fumbles are a real concern. Grade: 3rd Round

 

Ian Thomas, Indiana

Thomas is an intriguing prospect whose best football is probably ahead of him. He has good size for the position and moves well on the field. He plays strong and while raw, he shows the ability to be a threat in the passing game as well as a good blocker. Thomas shows soft hands and a big catch radius to be a big target for his QB. He plays the game tough and makes defenders think twice when having to come up and make a tackle on him. His backstory is crazy and should probably be one of those tear jerker stories ESPN likes to do. He is raw in almost every facet of the game and he doesn’t have a lot of experience, but the traits are there and you see flashes on tape of a guy who could develop into a very good all around Tight End. Grade: 3rd Round.

 

Jordan Thomas, Mississippi State

Thomas has a huge frame with vines for arms and huge hands, creating a massive target with a large catch radius to catch anything close to him. He uses his size to gain an advantage by walling off defenders and does a nice job in contested situations. . He has good long speed for his size. Thomas needs development as a blocker, but the physical traits are there and with time and coaching, it could be an asset. He is stiff and does have to downshift when he changes direction. He lacks overall athleticism to create consistent separation. He is raw, but has some intriguing traits that could make him a mismatch down the road. Grade: 6th/7th round

 

Interesting UDFA options:

Andrew Vollert, Weber State

David Wells, San Diego State

Nate Wozniak, Minnesota

Codey McElroy, Southeastern

 

Overall Impressions:

This is an interesting Tight End class. There is a lot of Top End talent that fits what teams are now asking from their Tight Ends. In today’s NFL, Tight Ends have to be more of a weapon in the offensive scheme, where as in the past, Tight Ends were asked to do more blocking. The guys that go early are the physical freaks who are basically a big WR. Finding a guy with the ability to do both at a high level is rare. I am sure many of you are shocked to not see Mike Gesicki on this list, but again, it comes down to my ranking and where I think he will go. While Gesicki is an incredible athlete, I didn’t see a player that played with a lot of strength and he would be starting from scratch as a blocker. To me, I want to take a player like that in round 3, maybe end of round 2. Others I liked, but are more blocking Tight Ends that offer very little in the passing game were Durham Smythe and Dalton Schultz. Again, that skill set is less valuable in today’s NFL, so if that is what the Patriots are looking for, I don’t want them using premium picks to acquire it. I think that can be found at the end of the draft or in free agency.

 

 

47 Responses to “Building The Patriots 2018 Big Board: Tight Ends”

  1. brandon maxham says:

    1st:Leighton VanderEsch ILB-OLB

    1st:traded for two 2nds and a 4th.

    2nd:Rasheem Green DE-DT

    2nd:Duke Ejiofor DE

    2nd:Darius Leonard OLB

    2nd:Kyle Lauletta QB

    3rd:Austin Corbett C-G

    4th:John Kelly RB

    6th:Braxton Berrios WR

    6th:Will Dissly TE

    7th:Tre Flowers S

  2. Stephen J says:

    How many batted passes Lauletta had last season?

    PFF Cam

    We charted him with 6 batted passes this season.

    For consideration –
    Baker – 2
    Darnold – 4
    Rosen – 10
    Rudolph – 3
    Jackson – 9
    Allen – 4

  3. Stephen J says:

    Is Dallas Goedert the next Travis Kelce?

    https://twitter.com/watch_sitv/status/984483796429881344

    …………………………………Travis Kelce…Dallas Goedert
    College Career Receptions…59…………….198
    College Career Yards………..875…………..2988
    College Career TD’s…………10…………….21
    College Career Games………35……………53

    Senior Year Receptions……..45……………72
    Senior Year Yards……………722…………..1111
    Senior Year TD’s…………….8………………7
    Senior Year Games………….13…………….14

    Junior Year Receptions…….13……………..92
    Junior Year Yards……………150……………1293
    Junior Year TD’s…………….2……………….11
    Junior Year Games………….13……………..13

    Athletic Comparisons

    Height………………………..6’4 7/8″……….6’4 5/8″
    Weight……………………….255…………….256
    Arm Length………………….33 3/4″……….34″
    Wingspan…………………….77 1/8″……….80 1/8″
    Hand Size……………………9 5/8″…………10″
    Vert…………………………..35″…………….35″
    Broad Jump…………………124″……………121″
    3 Cone……………………….7.09……………6.87
    20 Shuttle…………………..4.42……………4.06

    • Stephen J says:

      Patriots 1st Round Draft Picks TE’s

      ………….Daniel Graham…Benjamin Watson
      Height…..6’3″……………..6’3 1/2″
      Weight…..248……………..258
      Arm L……33 3/4″…………32 3/4″
      Hand S….10″………………10 1/8″
      40……….4.64……………..4.52
      Vert……..36″………………35.5″
      Broad……116″…………….123″
      20 Shut….N/A……………..4.11
      Bench……N/A……………..34

      College Stats
      Career Recp…106…………73
      Career Yards…1543……….945
      Career TD’s…..11………….7
      Career Games..42………….48

    • Stephen J says:

      Rob Gronkowski’s College Stats

      ……………….Games…Receptions…Yards…TD’s
      Fresh 2007…12……….28…………..525…..6
      Soph 2008…10……….47…………..672….10
      Career……….22……….75………….1197….16

      Height 6’6″ 264 lbs Arm L 34 1/4″ Wingspan 7′(84″) Hand S 10 3/4″

      • Daniel says:

        Is it an overly simplistic take from this data that Goedert is an even more compelling prospect than Gronk or A-Hern?

        • Stephen J says:

          1st Gronk and AH were/are two different type of TE’s but that aside yes that is a simplified take on the data provided but it does paint a picture.

          1st Gronk played only 1 full year and most of the 2nd year before his back surgery. What is amazing about that and gets overlooked is they were his Fresh and Sophomore years. Who puts up that type of production in those years. Most of the time it’s in your Jr and Sr years that most of your production is produced.

          Lets compare Gronk’s and Goederts Soph years

          ………..Games…Receptions…Yards…TD’s
          Gronk:…10……..47…………..672….10
          Goedert..12…….26…………..484….3

          Gronk was more productive at the same point earlier in their careers

          Now from a best year point of view one thing that stood out to me from the stats is this
          In Gronk’s best year(Soph) he played in 10 games with 10 TD’s a 1:1 ratio 1 TD in every 1 Game he played
          In Goedert’s best year(JR) he played in 13 games with 11 TD’s a 0.846:1 ratio 1 TD in every 1.3 Games he played

          Another one for you is this

          Gronk had 76 receptions with 16 TD’s for his Career 1 TD for every 4.75 receptions
          Goedert had 198 receptions with 21 TD’s for his Career 1 TD for every 9.43 receptions

          What that tells me is Goedert can be productive but was only half as productive as Gronk when it comes down to TD per reception aspect.

          While Goedert is a problem for defenses, Gronk is a nightmare for defenses.

        • Daniel says:

          Good info..However, as is often said, the best ability is availability. It was just reported Gronk will skip the beginning of OTA’s and on top of his whining and complaining, the most important part of these stats to me is that Gronk couldn’t even stay healthy in college.

          Maybe Goedert is 3/4’s as good but half as whiny and far more consistently available.

        • macspak says:

          comparing stats, particularly college stats, or measurables to make personnel decisions is fraught with danger if not deception. Perhaps a useful, even partially necessary part of the equation, but how one actually plays and against what competition, room for growth, and what they are made of, are more critical parts of player evaluation.

        • Stephen J says:

          One area where Goedert was similarly productive as Gronk was and that is yards/reception

          Rob Gronkowski had 75 receptions for 1197 yards averaging 15.96 yards per reception during his college career

          Dallas Goedert had 198 receptions for 2988 yards averaging 15.09 yards per reception during his college career

        • Stephen J says:

          That is why you look at stats athleticism and tape to verify what you see from the stats athleticism department matches with the tape and vice versa. What you see on tape matches the stats athleticism. You need all three to make an informed decision. You can say medicals and off field issues would equal 4 and 5 as well.

  4. macspak says:

    Three of the more common names I’ve seen on mocks here and in general are Miller OT, Lauletta QB and Goedert TE. When is the last time we’ve seen BB draft the common names associated with mocks? Never? Maybe we should be dropping these names off out mocks?

    • Stephen J says:

      More often than you think

      Last year Derek Rivers
      2016 Malcolm Mitchell
      2015 Malcom Brown…just never thought he would slide that far but well known BB loved him
      2012 Dont’a Hightower when they moved up for 1st everybody thought it was Dont’a because of the well known connection
      2010 Both Devin McCourty and Rob Gronkowski were both heavily linked to the Patriots

      Those are just the one’s I remember

  5. Daniel Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft plus possible trades. No Dez Bryant something just not right him
    being here yelling at BB he wants the ball.

    1 Possible trade to Cleveland for 35 and 64th of the 2nd round.
    1 D.J. Moore WR Maryland
    2 Raheem Green DE USC
    2 Ronnie Harrison S Alabama
    2 Maurice Hurst DT Michigan
    2 Brandon Parker OT North Carolina A&T
    3 Josh Sweat DE Florida State
    6 Peter Kalembayi OLB Stanford
    6 Cody O’Connell G Washington St.
    7 Kent Bnkert QB Virginia

  6. Stephen J says:

    Take a look at the Patriots 1st Round Draft picks since 2000

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_England_Patriots_first-round_draft_picks

    The most common positions drafted in round 1 DT then LB, TE and CB/S

    • macspak says:

      which makes me wonder of Hurst slides due to his “heart condition” do we take him with our first first especially with BB reiterating he drafts for value and best player and not need.

      • Stephen J says:

        I’ve been wondering the same thing but don’t know if the last incident with Armond Armstead and his heart condition would influence them either for the worse or better. On the plus side they should have more understanding of it with past experience. Now where do they stand on/with that area I have no idea.

  7. Stephen J says:

    One OT that I haven’t seen mentioned here is FSU OT Rick Leonard.

    He measured in at 6’7″ 305 lbs during combine and 311 during Pro Day.

    He also jumped 9’4″ which the Pats love anything over 9’0″

    He played for OL coach Rick Trickett, who is close with Dante Scarnecchia.

    The Patriots also interviewed him during the Combine.

    Was a Defensive Lineman who converted to OT. Started last year at RT.

    Will need time to develop.

  8. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/15:

    1st:Lorenzo Carter OLB

    1st: traded for 2nd,3rd,4th and 5th.

    2nd:Rasheem Green DE-DT

    2nd:Harrison Phillips DT

    2nd:Kyle Lauletta QB

    3rd:Dorian O’Daniel ILB-S

    3rd:Frank Ragnow C-G

    4th:DJ Reed CB

    5th:Chase Edmonds RB

    6th:Ryan Izzo TE

    6th:Troy Apke S

    7th:Richie James WR

    • steve earle says:

      This would be a good mock if you could find a team to give us 4 picks for our #31. Honestly I think that’s not very realistic, be great if it was.

  9. JH says:

    Who do y’all like better between Mike McGlinchy and Connor Williams at OT? Torn between the two, can’t seem to find one to be definitively better than the other. I think they would both be good picks at #23 but I’m not even sure if they will be there at #23 anyways. Thoughts?

  10. kevinz says:

    does anyone have the Prospects that we met with on the list of 50 i believe can have? jw because that would help eliminate some players from my Mocks usually dont draft those players. Senior bowl players BB likes to take though.

  11. Daniel says:

    I would like the team to draft Goedert and either cut or restructure Allen. Gronk’s inability to stay healthy has cost the team at least one championship. With his recent vocalized lack of commitment, combined with his passive aggressive twitter whining, I am less concerned with where Gronk plays. I generally don’t expect him to be on the field and healthy in the Superbowl at the start of every season, regardless of whether or not he is under contract.

    I am also really tired of hearing all the complaining being done by current and past players. The media is very excited to pile a bunch of crap on Belichick. And no matter how many niceties he attempted to sandwich it between, Amendola still called him an asshole. I found that distasteful and respect him less for saying it.

    • macspak says:

      back in Vince Lombardi’s day they asked Willie Wood if Lombardi treated the players equally regardless of race. The answer, yes, he treated us equally. He treated us all like dogs. Demanding coaches who push their players and team to greatness often, as part of the push, piss off the players who in turn consider that coach an A-hole. I take no offense. Just honesty.

      • Daniel says:

        Reminds me of that scene in a Few Good Men. I think it reeks of hypocrisy for a player to come to an organization like New England, even taking a pay cut to do so or to remain apart of the team, because he wants to be a champion, and then bemoan the best practices that allow them to be a perennial winner.

        • Daniel says:

          The only caveat being that I can understand the frustration that comes with barely losing to a team while your second best corner isn’t allowed to be on the field. It frustrates us fans so I am sure it frustrates the other players even more. Especially considering Butler pulled one ring out of the fire for them.

  12. lenny says:

    Hurst caught one hundred passes at South Carolina and dropped one. He blocks reasonably well, and runs hard after the catch. Unlike Gesicki, he is actually a tight end rather than a glorified slot receiver. Goedert is a terrific prospect, but riskier because of the lower level of his competition. Hurst would help immediately and be the longer term answer at the position. He is low risk/high reward.

    • Stephen J says:

      Hurst has 3 drops on 103 catch-able passes as seen below that equates to 100 receptions on 150 targets which equates to a 66.67% catch rate.

      Hurst made plays in contested situations (caught 7-of-11 contested catches last season) per PFF

      He’s a tough player and will take on tacklers and averaged 7.0 YAC/reception for reference Travis Kelce averaged 6.9 in his NFL career per PFF. For a college to college reference Dallas Goedert averaged 8.1

      Set school TE records for catches (48) and yards (616) in a season in 2016 and ended up breaking career TE receptions mark in 2017 (100)— one that had stood for 30 years per Eric Edholm

      He’s primarily used as a flexed-out tight end or off the ball as the “move” tight end per Daniel Jeremiah

      Has only 3 career TD’s on 100 catches the lowest rate in the class per PFF

      Hurst is able to gain separation from bigger LB’s and slower safeties but has trouble separating from quicker defenders

      Doesn’t draw extra defenders to cover him and is more of a possession receiver.

      Ran simplistic routes

      Blocking

      A better run blocker than pass blocker. A one game example of that came in his last game where he had a 37.4 pass block grade and a respectable 74.7 run block grade per PFF against Michigan in the Outback Bowl

      Even though Hurst is a decent run blocker he missed a high amount of blocks in the RUN game (struggles against quicker/shiftier DB’s/LB’s)

      Inconsistent at PASS blocking does well against DB’s and Smaller LB’s not so much against bigger LB’s and DL(needs to improve technique and hand usage and experience)

      Being that he is going to be 25 at the start of the season he may have hit his peak in terms of growth, strength and athleticism.

      Known for his high character and crazy weight room work ethic. Works his tail off and has special teams value.

      Compares similarly to Zach Hertz from an overall combine measurable perspective

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DarDhy8VQAEJp6S.jpg

      Notice his poor 31.5-inch vertical that could be a contributing factor as to why he only scored 3 TD’s during his career.

      Doesn’t appear to be a red zone threat.

  13. kevinz says:

    1st:Lorenzo Carter LB

    2nd:Carlton Davis Cb Cover skills open field tackling plus vs run a strength

    2nd:Lauletta QB good moving saf with his eyes thats def a brady Type strength

    3rd:Dorian O’daniel LB box saf go ahead read nfldraftscout report you will be surprised His tape very Exciting as well

    3rd: Darrell Williams RB as Mike said a beast doesnt think much drop from guice

    4th:Chad Thomas DE Has good upside tools plus plays hard so skills should catch up

    5th: Brett Toth OT

    6th:Ito Smith RB

    6th:Leon Jacobs LB coverage Lb

    7th:Kameron Kelly FS-SS started out as a Promising saf then had to move to CB for a injured teamate. reports will surprise you from Nfldraftscout

  14. brandon maxham says:

    mock draft 4/13: 3 of 3

    1st:Rashaan Evans ILB

    1st:traded for 3rd , 4th and 5th.

    2nd:Duke Ejiofor DE

    2nd:Dallas Goedert TE

    3rd:Jaylen Samuels RB-FB-TE

    3rd: Oren Burks ILB-S

    4th:Hercules Mata’afa EDGE-DE

    5th: Jamil Demby OT-G

    6th:Logan Woodside QB

    6th:DJ Reed CB-S

    7th:Dylan Cantrell WR

  15. TommyG says:

    Dream scenario
    23- Harold Landry
    31- Rashaan Evans (Pats will probably have to go up to 27 in order to get him. I can see 31 and Malcolm Brown to NO.
    43-Trade down to 47 for 4th rounder
    47- Hayden Hurst
    63-Trade down for a 3rd and 4th
    3rd-Orlando Brown
    95- Mike White (Might have to use one of our 6th round)
    4th- PJ Hall
    4th- Frank Ragnow

    • Daniel says:

      Orlando Brown and Frank Ragnow are projected late 1 to early 2. I don’t seem them falling to 4th round.

      • lenny says:

        Ragnow might be the most polarizing player in this draft. PFF has him going mid-first round and McShay projects him in the third. There is also great disagreement about Christian Kirk, who is either a dynamic gamechanger or a pedestrian possession receiver depending upon which analyst is describing him. Another player with wildly mixed reviews in Kerryon Johnson – some analysts see the Second Coming of Arian Foster while others dismiss him as having a wide receiver’s body that will never translate to being an NFL running back.

  16. macspak says:

    I agree, now a position of need for today’s depth and tomorrow’s future. I expect a TE will be drafted in RD 2.

  17. TommyG says:

    Gronk, Hurst, and Niklas with Hollister and Tye on PS would be great.

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