In the lead-up to 2020 training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the tight ends.
Locks: Devin Asiasi (rookie); Dalton Keene (rookie)
Bubble: Matt LaCosse; Ryan Izzo
In the Mix: Rashod Berry (undrafted rookie); Jake Burt (undrafted rookie)
ANALYSIS: New England will miss the now-retired Benjamin Watson's leadership at tight end, but they need to find someone to improve on his 17 catches over 10 games last year. It's no secret that New England struggled to get suitable productivity out of any of its tight ends last season, which made its drafting of two tight ends and signing of another pair of rookie free agents this year no surprise. Barring anything health-related, therefore, I'd say both draft choices, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, are going to be on the active roster.
The tandem of veterans Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo were hampered on and off by injuries throughout 2019, which didn't help their cause or the team's. Even if they're both at full strength this summer, they could be in a battle to stick around, especially if undrafted rookies Rashod Berry and Jake Burt show any sort of promise.
Relying on mostly unproven players to bolster a position that desperately needs it could be a tricky proposition for New England, but the bright side is, the Patriots have nowhere to go but up at tight end. I'm hoping for a spirited competition in training camp and preseason this year, as any of these players could wind up winning jobs.