The Patriots still haven’t added a tight end this offseason. That needs to change at the draft. Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo just aren’t cutting it as pass catching options at the position, not to mention the fact that last year’s starter, Ben Watson, retired this winter. The Patriots ranked dead last in the NFL in total tight end production last season with those three, quite the juxtaposition from having perhaps the greatest tight end in NFL history from 2010 to 2018, but you’ve heard this story before. Unfortunately, you’re going to keep hearing it until the Patriots possess something resembling competency at the position.This year’s tight end class doesn’t have any elite prospects, but is loaded with intriguing 2nd and 3rd round talents. While Cole Kmet from Notre Dame, the top-ranked tight end in this year’s draft, has caught the eye of many New England fans, it’s Dayton’s Adam Trautman who stands out as a perfect fit for the Patriots.
Trautman has skyrocketed up draft boards since the college football season ended. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report had Trautman as the 7th ranked tight end in the draft on his January 1st big board. Trautman has jumped all the way to 2nd in the tight end class in Miller’s latest rankings.
Trautman has solid height at 6’6” and uses it to his advantage. He was a tremendous redzone threat for the Flyers in his senior season, catching 14 touchdowns in just 11 games. Trautman has also been dubbed the best blocking tight end at the draft in tandem with his impressive pass-catching ability. As if that wasn’t enough to get Bill Belichick salivating, at the NFL combine, Trautman had the 3rd fastest 3-cone time of all participants. His 6.78 time is ridiculous for a tight end in a drill the Patriots are nutritious for taking very seriously.
Trautman may seem too good to be true, but he’s not. It’s also important to remember, many of the league’s great tight ends are taken in Trautman’s range. It’s starting to become the sweet spot for the position in the NFL draft. Zach Ertz and Rob Gronkowski were both second round picks. Travis Kelce and Austin Hooper were third round picks. George Kittle wasn’t taken until the fifth round. For whatever reasons, the best tight ends in the NFL are taken in the middle rounds and Trautman could be the latest player added to that list.
The problem is, Trautman’s meteoric rise up draft boards may have put him out of range for the Patriots. New England doesn’t currently own a second round pick, which may make getting Trautman somewhat difficult. He is currently projected to go in the late-second or early-third round and the Patriots second selection in the draft doesn’t come until the tail-end of the third round. Unless the Patriots find a way to get back into the second round, preferably ahead of tight end needy teams like the Chicago Bears and Tennessee Titans, Trautman could be long gone before they have a chance to pick him.
There are other tight ends in the draft that should interest the Patriots too. Hunter Bryant and Thaddeus Moss could both become solid pass catching threats in the NFL, but neither hold a candle to Trautman. The Dayton tight end appears to be the perfect fit for New England in every way imaginable. If they can get their hands on him, the questions swirling around the tight end position would soon be silenced.
Photo: (Butch Dill – AP Photo)