New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

This year’s tight end class is one of the deepest in the history of the draft. With tight end being a need for the Patriots, there are so many different ways they can go. They got a good look at the class (which tested well across the board) at the NFL Combine over the weekend, and met with at least two players at the position as well.

In addition to speaking with consensus top tight end Michael Mayer of Notre Dame, the Patriots also spoke with Tucker Kraft of South Dakota State, according to The Draft Network’s Justin Melo. The Patriots were one of 15 teams to formally meet with Kraft, per Melo.

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  • Kraft is a two-time FCS All-American who is expected to go on Day 2 of this year’s NFL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 254 pound tight end had a breakout season for the Jackrabbits in 2021, catching 65 passes for 773 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. Last season, he played in nine games, catching 27 passes for 348 yards and three scores as South Dakota State went on to win its first National Championship in program history.

    At the Combine, Kraft ran a 4.69 40-yard dash. He also recorded a 7.08 second 3-cone drill, which ranked third among tight ends. His 23 reps on the bench tied for the positional lead.

  • As player, Kraft is a well-rounded tight end who can compete both as a blocker and receiver. He uses his size to his advantage in both situations, excelling in contested catch situations and giving his quarterback a wide catch radius. Coming into the league, there will be questions about him adjusting to the level of competition, as well as why his production fell off last year.

    That being said, it wouldn’t be like the Patriots to worry about the former. They actually drafted one of Kraft’s teammates last year in running back Pierre Strong. South Dakota State also has produced at least one NFL-caliber tight end before in Dallas Goedert, who was a second-round pick by the Eagles in 2018.

    Kraft is one of just many players the Patriots met with at the Combine. The full list of who they spoke with can be found here.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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