The New England Patriots’ bye week is just about over and it is time to prepare to return to action. The team is on a seven-game win streak and currently atop the AFC East standings with a two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills.
The team’s surge this season has a lot to do with the contributions of several young players who were drafted this year and in 2020. Mac Jones, the team’s first-round pick in 2021 is the most high-profile selection, but other such as Christian Barmore and Kyle Dugger have shined bright.
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Patriots’ 2020 Tight Ends Slammed in Recent Draft Grades
NBC Sports’ Nick Goss recently graded every Patriots draft pick from the past two years and not everyone got as sparkling of a grade as Jones. The Patriots’ rookie QB got an A from Goss, but tight end Devin Asiasi was given a big, fat F for his lack of production.
Goss wrote: “Asiasi has appeared in only one game this season, Week 10 against the Cleveland Browns. After a disappointing rookie season, the Patriots went into free agency and spent $87.4 million to sign the top two tight ends available in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. If they felt good about Asiasi’s and Keene’s potential, they probably wouldn’t have invested so much money into bolstering the tight end position on the free-agent market.”
The Patriots signed Hunter Henry (three years, $37.3 million) and Jonnu Smith (four years, $49.8 million) to multi-year contracts. That influx of talent and investment is proof the Patriots had no faith in the tight end situation after the 2020 season. Asiasi has only appeared in 10 games in almost two complete seasons. He has just 2 receptions and a TD.
Goss didn’t spare another TE the Patriots drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, Dalton Keene. Goss went in on Keene whom he also graded an F.
Goss wrote: “Much like Asiasi, Keene has been a huge bust at tight end. There’s still time for Keene to make an impact, but he’s unlikely to see many snaps on offense with Henry and Smith ahead of him on the depth chart. Those opportunities won’t come until 2022, though, because Keene was placed on injured reserve before the season.”
Keene had 3 receptions for 16 yards in 2020.
What’s Next For the Patriots?
The stretch run begins for the Patriots on December 18 when they head to the midwest to take on the Indianapolis Colts. New England has a chance to solidify their standing in the AFC even more with a win.
Here is a look at the Patriots’ remaining schedule as well as the scores to their first 13 games in 2021.
New England Patriots (9-4) 2021 Regular Season Schedule
- Week 1 – vs. Miami Dolphins 17, New England Patriots 16
- Week 2 – New England Patriots 25, at New York Jets 6
- Week 3 – New Orleans Saints 28, New England Patriots 13
- Week 4 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19, New England Patriots 17
- Week 5 – New England Patriots 25, at Houston Texans 22
- Week 6 – Dallas Cowboys 35, New England Patriots 29 – OT
- Week 7 – New England Patriots 54, New York Jets 13
- Week 8 – New England Patriots 27, Los Angeles Chargers 24
- Week 9 – New England Patriots 24, at Carolina Panthers 6
- Week 10 – New England Patriots 45, Cleveland Browns 7
- Week 11 – New England Patriots 25, at Atlanta Falcons 0
- Week 12 – New England Patriots 36, Tennessee Titans 13
- Week 13 – New England Patriots 14, Buffalo Bills 10
- Week 14 – Bye Week
- Week 15 – at Indianapolis Colts at 8:20 pm ET – NFL Network – December 18
- Week 16 – Buffalo Bills at 1 pm ET – CBS – December 26
- Week 17 – Jacksonville Jaguars at 1 pm ET – CBS – January 2
- Week 18 – at Miami Dolphins at 1 pm ET – CBS – January 9
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