INDIANAPOLIS – It's no secret that tight end is among the top priorities for the Patriots heading into the NFL Scouting Combine. Rob Gronkowski's retirement left the cupboard bare at the position, and Benjamin Watson, one of the 2019 replacements, has retired as well.
So, Bill Belichick and his personnel department will no doubt be spending plenty of time this week checking out the prospects at tight end.
There will be plenty to choose from, but one has already spent some time thinking about the Patriots. Washington's Hunter Bryant spoke at the podium Tuesday morning and added some distinct New England flavor to his comments.
The 6-2, 240-pound tight end was asked which quarterback in NFL history he would choose to catch a touchdown pass from and he didn't hesitate in his answer.
"Probably Tom Brady. Because he's the GOAT," Bryant said. "He's the best that's ever done it. He's a great competitor. And I like how knowledgeable he is in the game. I have a lot of respect for him.
"The way he's able to dissect the defense before the play starts. He knows what's coming and who he's going to be hot off of and all that. What type of competitor he is and how much he cares about winning."
That wasn't the only Patriots-related comment Bryant offered. While discussing his playing style, Bryant turned the conversation toward filling whatever role was necessary in order for the offense to succeed. Soon the Patriots came in focus once again.
"I like the Patriots offense a lot," Bryant said. "And I like how they just use the players they have. The Patriots always use the players that they have, and I think that's why they're so elite."
Bryant, who caught 52 passes for 825 yards and three touchdowns in 2019, said he already met informally with the Patriots. Based on his admiration for the organization, the meeting likely went well.