Patriots seemingly picked bad year to target TE draft picks


There is little question that the tight end position was one of the Patriots’ biggest needs heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.

So it’s no surprise that the team selected two players at the position, both in the third round, in UCLA’s Devin Asisai and Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene.

The pair are part of what was considered a pretty lackluster tight end draft class. They were the second and fourth players picked at the position, respectively.

No tight end was taken in the first round, with Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet the first off the board with the 43rd overall selection to the Bears.

This came a year after the tight end spot saw a pair of high-end Iowa prospects go in the first round, with T.J. Hockenson going No. 8 overall to the Lions and teammate Noah Fant landing in Denver with the No. 20 overall pick.

And while it’s extremely early in the process – especially with college football’s season wrapped up in as much uncertainty as any in the sports world – early projections suggest that tight end will be a much more fruitful crop of prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft.

According to a way-too-early mock draft from The Athletic, three tight ends could go in the first round next spring. That list is led by Penn State’s Pat Friermuth (projected No. 11 overall), followed by Florida’s Kyle Pitts (No. 18) and Miami’s Brevin Jordan (No. 32)

2021 Mock DraftThink of this as a watchlist of 32 draft-eligible players already on the NFL radar for next year. Fun look ahead.

— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) April 27, 2020

Did the Patriots need to draft a tight end or two this spring? Probably.

Was this the best year to need to draft a tight end? Probably not.

Depending on how you look at New England’s attempt to restock the Rob Gronkowski-less tight end depth chart, the team may have been either a year too early or a year too late.