Patriots Urged to Avoid Risking Draft Pick on ‘Second Version of Rob Gronkowski’

New England Patriots

Getty The New England Patriots should avoid Michael Mayer according to one NFL analyst.

While the New England Patriots have hit the jackpot when it comes to drafting tight ends, one NFL analyst believes that the team needs to stay away from a player that could become the next Rob Gronkowski.

Boasting the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, New England has plenty of options when it comes to who they could select in the first round. Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey, however, believes that the Patriots need to stay away from Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer.

“The thought of Mayer becoming the second version of Rob Gronkowski in New England has to have at least crossed the minds of some Patriots fans,” Tansey wrote. “Mayer measured at 6’4½” and 249 pounds at the NFL combine. Gronkowski checked in at 6’6″ and 264 pounds before the 2010 NFL draft. The allure of drafting Mayer at No. 14 is understandable because of Henry’s drop-off from nine touchdown catches in 2021 to two in 2022. Henry’s receiving-yard total fell from 603 to 509.”

New England does have room to grow when it comes to young tight ends as Hunter Henry will be 29 years old by the end of the 2023 season and Mike Gesicki will be 28 years old. Still Tansey believes that the Patriots have greater needs on offense.

“Mayer could be the best player available on the board at No. 14, but the Patriots can’t risk taking him with two veteran tight ends already in place and a clear need on the outside at wide receiver,” Tansey concluded.

Another Top TE Prospect Will Visit the Patriots

Mayer isn’t the only tight end that New England will be interested in. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dalton Kincaid will visit the Patriots ahead of the 2023 draft.

“Kincaid visited the Bengals today, and is scheduled to be in New England on Thursday and Green Bay next week,” Schefter tweeted. “He already has visited, or spent significant time with, the Texans, Raiders, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, Lions, Chiefs and Cowboys.”

NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared the tight end to Zach Ertz in his pre-draft analysis.

“Kincaid is a fluid route runner with the athleticism and play speed to create mismatches against lesser coverage,’ Zierlein wrote. “Impeccable ball skills and sticky hands allow him to tilt 50/50 contested throws in his favor. He lacks the play strength and technique to work in-line, but can handle some positional blocking in space from time to time. Kincaid can manage a more extended route tree, allowing calculating play-callers to open up the entire field and stress coverages. He will need to acclimate to a more physical/athletic brand of coverage, but should blossom into a weapon.”

Former Patriots Director of Player Personnel Could Return to Franchise

A key member of the Patriots front office could make his return to the organization. Houston Texans reporter John McClain said on Texas’ Sports Radio 610’s “Payne & Pendergast” that he heard that former New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio could return to New England.

“I had somebody tell me at the combine that they heard Caserio is going to go back to New England after the draft,” McClain said. “And I said, ‘So he’s going to walk away from a $5 million contract after two years on the job, after he’s put in all that work?’ And this guy said, ‘It’s just something I’ve heard.’ I have no idea if any of that’s true. I can’t imagine Nick Caserio would be leaving knowing how happy the McNairs are with him right now and how well he works with (new Texans head coach) DeMeco Ryans.

“It’s just a friend told me that’s what he heard,” McClain added. “When I explained how well things are going (in Houston) now, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Well, I just heard that.’ I didn’t put any stock in it because (Bill) Belichick, in his contract, he has control of everything, so I can’t imagine Caserio, (who) couldn’t wait to get out of there, tried to come here twice and was unable to because of Belichick, would want to go back there where Belichick has control of everything.”

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