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Breaking down the Patriots tight end group

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Right now, the current Patriots tight ends are Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Justin Jones, Asa Waston, and D.J. Williams.

So, let the breaking down begin!

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady

Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady

Let’s start with the starter, Rob Gronkowski.

Rob Gronkowski was drafted in 2010, and has been a star ever since.

His career reads 226 receptions for 3,255 yards, and 42 touchdowns.

Gronk’s the best tight end in the league when he’s healthy. The biggest and only real problem with Gronk is, he can’t stay healthy.

Gronk is the number one target and pass catcher on the team, when he plays, he takes care of the number one guy role, the redzone threat, and the big receiver part.

The problem for New England is when he goes down. Last year, New England wasn’t prepared for life with NO Gronk and NO Hernandez and this year doesn’t seem like they’re any more prepared.

Here is a look at Tom Brady with and without Gronkowski.

Tom Brady With and Without Gronkowski
  YPG TD/INT Completion % Rating
With Gronk (7 games) 315 13/5 64.1 95.7
Without Gronk (9 games) 237.5 12/6 57.5 80.9
         

Pro-Football-Reference.com

Now, here’s a look at the Patriots offense with and without Gronk.

Patriots’ 2013 Offense With and Without Gronkowski
  Total YPG Points per Game    
With Gronk (7 games) 417.7 32    
Without Gronk (9 games) 358.7 24.4    
         

Pro-Football-Reference.com

We already know Gronk, he’s great when he plays, and should play in the first game of the season, which is great news for the Pats. As long as he’s healthy, the Patriots have the best tight end in the NFL. It’s clear – the Patriots are a better offense with Gronk than they are without him, especially since they have no viable pass-catching tight end behind him anymore.

The numbers speak for themselves, Gronk is the guy behind Tom Brady in New England.

Michael Hoomanawanui one-handed TD grab against the Dolphins.  Photo By: KEITH NORDSTROM

Michael Hoomanawanui one-handed TD grab against the Dolphins.
Photo By: KEITH NORDSTROM

Behind Gronk is Michael Hoomanawanui.

He has 37 career catches in four seasons with 4 touchdowns

Hoomanawanui has been with the Patriots since 2012 and complied 17 catches for 245 yards and 1 touchdown.

He didn’t do anything in the 2012 postseason, but caught 3 passes for 39 yards in the Patriots two postseason games last year.

Despite his amazing one-handed touchdown grab against the Dolphins last year, he wasn’t a big part of the offense nor Tom Brady’s favorite and I doubt that will change this season.

Hoomanawanui is an excellent blocker for the Patriots and that’s his strongest attribute. He’s not a good pass-catcher and isn’t going to be a great guy to fall back on if Gronk goes down again.

He’s the number two guy by default right now.

He’s an average all around player at best.

D.J. Williams signed with the Patriots last season and didn’t do much in terms of catching the football and making an impact.

For his career, Williams has 9 catches for 70 yards. He caught zero passes for the Patriots last season.

That speaks enough about him, not an option to fall back on, nor a good candidate to be the number two or number three guy.

Justin Jones goes up and grabs the TD.

Justin Jones goes up and grabs the TD.

Now, to the undrafted rookies.

First up, Justin Jones. 

Jones is a 6’8, 274 pound monster at tight end.

At East Carolina, Jones’ caught 52 receptions for 598 yards and 12 touchdowns in a three-year span.

During the team’s mini-camp, Jones showed reliable hands, but struggled with separation.

Jones certainly looks the size of an awesome red zone target, but he’s very slow.

Jones could be a solid blocker for New England and a solid target, and he would be my pick in making the team.

We won’t know much about him until the team’s training camp starting in late July and pre season, but remember how good Zac Sudfeld looked and earned the nickname “Little Gronk”, and then bombed out in the season. Let us be cautiously optimistic about the rookies.

Asa Watson (Left) and Jimmy Garoppolo (Right). Photo Courtesy of Panini America, Inc.

Asa Watson (Left) and Jimmy Garoppolo (Right).
Photo Courtesy of Panini America, Inc.

Another rookie Asa Watson is in the mix.

Watson is the younger brother of former Patriots tight end, Benjamin Watson. 

In four years at North Carolina State, Watson complied 29 receptions for 351 yards, and 1 touchdown.

Not impressive numbers at all, and I can see why nobody drafted him, but he has excellent speed.

He’s a little small for a tight end, standing 6’3, weighing 237 pounds.

He might have the ability to be moved around on the offensive side of the ball.

The truth is, there hasn’t been anything impressive about Watson and we will have to wait till Training Camp to get a better idea on him.

He could be someone who gets cut or a wonderful surprise for the Patriots, but I doubt he will make the team.

Right now, the tight end situation looks no better than last year behind Gronkowski. 

That could change, of course, if a rookie steps up and breaks out.

We will go over this position again during the pre-season!

 

 

 

 


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One Response to “Breaking down the Patriots tight end group”

  1. […] Right now, the current Patriots tight ends are Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Justin Jones, Asa Waston, and D.J. Williams. So, let the breaking down begin! Let’s start with the starter, Rob Gronkowski. Rob Gronkowski was drafted in 2010, and has been a star ever since. His career reads 226 receptions for 3,255 yards, and 42 […]… Patriots Gab […]

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