Ryan Izzo looks like potential starting tight end in Patriots' preseason win over Panthers

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Patriots' tight end depth chart remains largely unresolved, especially for the start of the season. But they got a confidence boost at the position on Thursday night with the performance of Ryan Izzo.

Now in his second year out of Florida State, Izzo looked the part of a starting tight end as he ran with the 1's in the first half with Tom Brady under center. Izzo may never excel as a receiver, but the Patriots need dependable blockers at tight end too. He certainly did well in that department, most notably helping spring Sony Michel up the middle for a 30-yard run that got called back due to a penalty.

Izzo's a humble kid. He needs to get a better look before assessing himself, even as a blocker.

"It felt good. You know you always have to go back and look at film, but you know, right now I'm happy about it," Izzo said after the game. "But, still got film to watch tomorrow."

Izzo mostly turned heads on Thursday with an 18-yard catch up the seam. Izzo was well-covered, but Brady hit him with a dart where only his hands could touch it and he did a good job snagging the ball away from his body.

That kind of play won't be needed very often for the Patriots offense. Izzo may not make catches like that on a frequent basis.

But can he be a safety valve for Brady? If he can continue to block like he has in the run game, that may be enough for Izzo to prove he belongs as a potential starter. He definitely succeeded with the chances he got on Thursday.

"The opportunity is always there if they put me out there," Izzo said. "You know if it's run game, pass game again or special teams, I just want to make the most of those opportunities."

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].