The 2014 NFL draft concluded last weekend with the New England Patriots passing up on every available tight end, including top Patriots prospect Jace Amaro. The Patriots bypassed the tight end position completely, choosing instead to mainly focus on boosting up their offensive line. Throughout the draft, select a couple defensive lineman, a corner back, wide receiver and a running back. With the Patriots' shoring up some holes on offense and defense during free agency, upgrading their offensive line and other areas of weakness was a plus for them.
What possible reason could the front office of the New England Patriots have by missing out on every possible tight end in the NFL draft? Letting your biggest rivals in the New York Jets draft Jace Amaro was not a plan. Letting Legarrette Blount who ran wild during the end of the 2013 season sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2 year/$3.5 million dollar deal should not have been apart of the solution of drafting another young running back. Legarrette Blount should have been the lead back and fourth year veteran Stevan Ridley should become his #2.
While many Patriots fans were upset or surprised the Patriots skipped out on some of their weakest position (tight end), coach Bill Belichick was patiently waiting, selected several undrafted free agent rookies, including a few monster tight ends. Here is an inside look at the undrafted players the Patriots picked up immediately following the draft:
1. Justin Jones, TE, East Carolina
The East Carolina tight end, Justin Jones is an amazing tight end who is likely to be the missing insurance piece for GRONK. Jones is freakish, at 6'8, he is a Jimmy Graham type of tight end and has basketball skills. He also has ability to jump and fight for the ball. Although his stats are something that can, (and will) improve with time and development, he has potential to be a player to watch this year in the Patriots' training camp.
2. Roy Finch, RB, Oklahoma Finch
Finch is undersized for his respective position, listed at 5'7, and 167 pounds. He totaled 262 carries for 1,412 yards and six touchdowns last season. He also caught 58 passes for 442 yards. He is likely brought in as extra competition for the large stable of running backs.
3. James Morris, LB, Iowa
Morris, who is listed at 6'2, and 240 pounds had a break out campaign at Iowa during 2013 with seven sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. During previous three seasons, he had 2.5 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss. Morris has good size and speed skills that can use some development as well.
4. Travis Hawkins, CB, Delaware
Hawkins is undersized for a corner back in today's NFL, but it likely wont matter much. Listed at 5'10 and 195 pounds, Hawkins is likely to be brought in for competition purposes for the group of corner backs (excluding Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner). Hawkins totaled four interceptions, eight passes defensed, and 66 tackles during the 2013 season.
5. Tyler Ott, LS, Harvard
Tyler Ott was brought in for competition purposes with veteran long snapper Danny Aiken.
6. Cameron Gordon, LB, Michigan
Gordon (6-foot-3, 237 pounds) recorded five sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss, and 40 tackles last season. He was brought in for competitive purposes as well
7. Travis Beck, TE, Bowling Green
Travis Beck is listed at 6'2 and 262 pounds. He only totaled had 10 catches for 177 yards last season, and is likely to be used in more blocking situations.
8. Asa Watson, TE, North Carolina
Asa Watson is the younger brother of former Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson (2005-2009), so he knows alot about the Patriots organization and how some things are done. For the most part, if he needs advice about transition from college football to New England Patriots football, he has a great mentor to talk to. Watson, listed at 6'3 and 238 pounds only had three catches for 41 yards last season and was used in limited situations on the field. He totaled 24 receptions and 282 yards during the 2012 season.