With the surprising retirement announcement by former Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots could now be in play either Iowa football tight end.
The 2019 NFL Draft is less than a month away, and there is still so much in flux that could impact where two former Iowa football players will begin their NFL careers.
Just a month ago, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had TJ Hockenson falling to the Patriots at the bottom of the first round with his tight end counterpart Noah Fant being selected at the top of the second round by the Arizona Cardinals.
Now, Miller has Hockenson being selected 18th overall and Noah Fant going at number 24.
This creates an interesting situation for the New England Patriots as their offense works best with not one but two fantastic receiving tight ends. As it stands today, the Patriots have just three catches from last season’s tight end position remaining on the roster. For a roster surprisingly full of holes, the loss of Gronk puts the tight end position at the top of the wish list.
Frankly put, the Patriots need a tight end and they need one badly. Furthermore, the Patriots have an interesting connection with the Iowa football team as Brian Ferentz served on Bill Belichick’s staff as a tight ends coach.
There is a chance one of the Iowa football tight ends could fall to the Patriots at 32 as Matt Miller mocked in his first draft, but it’s unlikely. History, however, does favor that scenario. Over the last ten NFL drafts, six have included a first-round tight end, but only one has been drafted before pick 19.
If it’s looking like neither Iowa football player will be available at the end of the first round though, the Patriots are armed with draft capital that they could use to move up and select TJ Hockenson or Noah Fant. They currently have 12 draft pick in the draft and 6 in the first three rounds alone.
Considering Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson are coming from a system mirrored after New England’s and the need that the Patriots possess at the position, it appears to be a match made in heaven between Kirk’s former Iowa football players and the defending Super Bowl Champions.