With some down time before training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the tight ends.
Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse
Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo, Andrew Beck (rookie)
Pickings this year are extremely slim for the Patriots at tight end, following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski this offseason. Old friend Ben Watson is back and even though he'll be serving a league suspension for the first month, the position is too thin for him not to make the roster once he's eligible to return. Veteran free agent Matt LaCosse isn't exactly a household name, but given the state of things, he's virtually guaranteed to be on the team.
Anderson was a mainstay on the practice squad last season before getting a late-season call-up to the active roster. That promises him nothing for this year, however. He'll have to compete with 2018 draft pick Izzo and undrafted rookie Beck for a potential third spot. Any of these men could stick, and it's just as plausible that the Patriots could look elsewhere this summer for help to bolster the tight end group.