Andrew Beck’s Blocking Ability Will Help Patriots Replace Gronkowski

Andrew Beck

Getty Andrew Beck was primarily a blocking tight-end at Texas.

Undrafted free agents will often do whatever it takes to make an NFL roster.

For New England Patriots tight end Andrew Beck, that includes a slight positional switch.

The rookie out of Texas shifted to full back in the Patriots’ preseason opener against Detroit, serving as the lead blocker in the Patriots running game for a few snaps. Although it is a dying position in football, full-back still serves as an important role within the New England offense.

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Look at James Develin. He has been instrumental to the Patriots’ blocking game since his acquisition in 2012. The one season he was out injured back in 2015, New England’s pass protection and rushing production took a major hit. Brady was sacked 38 times for 225 yards while the running game finished 30th in the league with 1,404 yards.

As the Patriots look to fill the void at tight end left by Rob Gronkowski, Beck is an interesting candidate to replace the future Hall-of-Famer’s stout blocking ability. Gronk was reserved mainly to a blocking role in an injury-plagued 2018 season and, along with Dwayne Allen, formed a blockade around Tom Brady.

If Beck can fill a similar role as Develin or Allen, and with added receiving ability, he will likely find a spot on the roster.

Blocker By Trade

In many scouting reports on Beck, his best trait is as a run blocker. He consistently helped neutralize opposing defensive ends at Texas to open running lanes for his backs.

His pass protection needs a bit of sharpening up, but there’s no doubting his toughness on running plays. Known as a hard-nosed player with retro toughness, his shift to the backfield makes too much sense for New England.

While Beck is a far cry from replacing Rob Gronkowski’s overall production, New England perhaps could look to replace the blocking of Gronk and Allen in the aggregate. That run-blocking production could come from Beck.

Quite the Catch

The Patriots have used James Develin in the receiving game on rare occasions, usually on short, uncontested slant routes toward the sidelines as a means of gaining short yardage. This could transition into Beck’s eventual role as a full-back hybrid.

While most of his use could be in the running game, he could very well be used on short slants as well as if an extra blocker is needed. Beck has a bit more speed than Develin, and though he didn’t flourish in a receiving role, he managed to draw coverage and would be viewed as more of a threat than Develin.

It’s not a question of whether Beck will beat out Develin on the roster, that’s not even a competition. But without the blocking services of Gronkowski, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Patriots go with two full-backs in the opening month.

Belichick Loves Versatility

Beck started his football career as a linebacker, transitioned to tight end in college, and is now attempting to switch positions again.

That past linebacking experience could prove helpful in a special teams role, much like how New England used Jacob Hollister in his first two seasons when healthy. Hollister featured on the punt coverage team and even in some kickoff capacities.

As a rookie with a lot of flexibility, Beck fits the mold for a Patriots player whom coach Bill Belichick uses in several different roles. And honestly, the Patriots could use any added protection for their 42-year-old quarterback.

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