Re-Grading the 2010 Patriots Draft Picks: Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez Patriots Titans

The Patriots got an early-round talent from a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. (Photo: US Presswire)

By the time the Patriots reached the third day of the 2010 NFL Draft, they had already drafted one bargain at tight end in Rob Gronkowski, and one Florida player who slipped due to character concerns in middle linebacker Brandon Spikes. That didn’t stop them from getting Aaron Hernandez, another player fitting both criteria, in Round 4.

Although known to be among the most skilled receiving tight ends in the 2010 draft class, he fell to Day 3 of the draft due to multiple positive tests for marijuana.

The Patriots’ risk turned into high reward.

Hernandez has been every bit the weapon he was expected to be for the Patriots’ passing offense, and has had no off-field issues in the past three years. As a result, the Patriots ended up with a legitimate first-round talent from a fourth-round pick.

An inside receiving target with great quickness, terrific route-running ability and who gets open consistently, Hernandez is an ideal complement to bigger, in-line tight end Gronkowski. Hernandez is not much of a blocker himself, used more in a flex/slot receiver role than as a traditional tight end, but he is a perfect fit for the role he plays in the Patriots’ offense.

Hernandez has been one of the Patriots’ best offensive playmakers over the past three seasons, catching 175 passes for 1,956 yards. Although Hernandez has yet to play a full 16-game season due to injuries, and was the sixth tight end drafted in 2010, only Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham — arguably the NFL’s two best tight ends — have more receptions and receiving yards thus far among tight ends drafted in 2010.

In a passing offense that is heavily predicated upon intermediate passing, Hernandez is a go-to offensive option.

After just two NFL seasons, the Patriots recognized Hernandez’s value and playmaking ability, rewarding him with a five-year, $40 million contract extension last offseason. At just 23 years of age, Hernandez has a bright future as a continuing playmaker in the Patriots’ offense.

By getting one of the best offensive playmakers from the 2010 NFL draft with a fourth-round pick, the Patriots got one of the 2010 draft’s greatest bargains, a bargain that should continue to pay off for many years to come.

Grade: A+

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3 Responses to “Re-Grading the 2010 Patriots Draft Picks: Aaron Hernandez”

  1. andrew says:

    needs better hands. to maney dropped passes, and balls off his hands that become INT’s. solid B, though. The first guy never brings him down.

    • Alex says:

      Wow, apart from Geno Atkins, and say Victor Cruz. Who else would you take with that pick in a redraft?

      He was in the 4th round, and has been great value. He is a match-up nightmare, and his drops are almost all because he tries to turn up field to quickly. I think we can expect him to improve with time.

      When you get a top 5 player in his position in the league in the 4th round, how can that be anything other than an A+?

  2. Billy C. says:

    Tough to argue with this grade. The production from Hernandez as a fourth rounder is immense.

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