With some down time before training camp we decided to take a series of looks at the Patriots roster. Today we handle the tight ends and we will analyze a different position each day.
Locks: Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett
Bubble: Clay Harbor, A.J. Derby
Long shots: Bryce Williams, Steven Scheu
BREAKDOWN: Rob Gronkowski isn't just the best tight end on the Patriots or the planet, he may just be the most dominant offensive force in professional football today. Working through another healthy offseason – though he was absent from all but one of the OTA/mini-camp practices the media saw this spring – Gronkowski leads what might be the best tight end tandem that Tom Brady has ever had at his disposal. If Gronk is Batman, then veteran trade addition Martellus Bennett looks the part of an impressive Robin. Bennett earned a Pro Bowl nod two years ago in Chicago with 90 receptions and brings size, athleticism, versatility and playmaking ability to Foxborough. Gronkowski and Bennett are true locks, and it might not be crazy to think the duo could combine for massive numbers in 2016. After that, there could be a fight for the final job(s) at tight end. Clay Harbor got $400,000 guaranteed as a free agent signing though he caught just 14 balls a year ago in Jacksonville. With Michael Williams landing on injured reserve this spring with a torn ACL there seems to be a void at blocking tight end. Harbor doesn't really fill that bill as more of an H-back type, nor do youngsters AJ Derby, Bryace Williams or Steven Scheu. Derby is a converted quarterback who spent his rookie season on IR. He looked very athletic and caught the ball well this spring. Scheu is a pretty smooth pass catcher with upside. It's also possible that the third tight end job and the fullback slot previously belonging to James Develin could overlap in some way when roster cut-downs come around. At the very least at least one of the trio of Derby/Williams/Scheu is likely land on the practice squad.