The New England Patriots drafted a pair of tight ends in Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. Here’s a look at what to expect from them and whether or not they fit in.
Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo both suffered injuries in 2019 that made them exit the Patriots’ lineup. The tight ends last season were not very consistent and suffered ailments at times. The loss of Rob Gronkowski, a star tight end, requires the Patriots to acquires great tight ends to replace him. New England will need someone who can block and catch well to get the job done.
The Patriots drafted Asiasi in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 91st overall pick. Asiasi played at UCLA in his last two seasons of college. He started 12 games and achieved career-highs with his 44 receptions, 641 yards, and four touchdowns. As a senior, he earned an All-Pac 12 honorable mention.
His athleticism and speed shows when he is out in space. He is a threat in the seam and in deep corners and routes in play-action based attacks. When Asiasi learns to attack throws better and use his size to body defenders, he will be a great target on third downs.
The Patriots drafted Keene in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft at No. 101 overall pick. Keene played at Virginia Tech for his first three years of college. During his last season as a junior, Keene played in 10 games and had 21 receptions for a total of 240 yards. He averaged 11.4 yards per reception and added five touchdowns.
Keene is a versatile player who performs well on the line, as a wingback, from the slot, as a fullback, and even as a personal protector in pass protection. He has a lean body and his speed and competitiveness are big bonuses. His ability to block in space and make a catch will allow the Patriots to move him around the formation as needed.
Keene possesses a great mental makeup and great playing traits and should be able to fit in as a core special teams player.
The Patriots have made two great draft picks when they drafted these tight ends. Asiasi and Keene should be a great improvement from last year as they fill the void left by Rob Gronkowski’s departure.
Whether it be Asiasi as a threat in the open field or Keene as a versatile and flexible player, the Patriots should see an uptick in talent at the tight end position for the 2020 NFL Draft.