2019 NFL Draft : T.J. Hockenson can replace Gronkowski, but Pats will have to trade up
With future hall of famer tight end Rob Gronkowski retiring at the end of the 2018 season, their is a large gap in the New England offense. Gronkowski had 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in his nine seasons with New England. WIth these numbers, the next Patriots tight end will have to be able to produce in the pass attack.
The standout tight end of this year’s NFL draft is clear. T.J. Hockenson out of Iowa University is the complete package. Hockenson has spent just two seasons playing college ball, but has proven his high level pass catching ability. The 6’5, 250 pounder has the rare combination of speedy route running and textbook blocking, making him quite the weapon for any team who is able to acquire him this April.
With Hockenson representing the perfect replacement for Gronkowski, the Pats will have to consider trading up to be able to draft him. This will be hard to do with their current draft status. New England has the last pick of the first round, a placement in the draft that Hockenson will likely not be around for. As such a hot prospect at the tight end position, Hockenson is expected to be picked anywhere between the 10th and 20th picks. Multiple teams are looking to strengthen the tight end position, including the Packers, Broncos, and Giants.
If New England wants to pick up Hockenson, they will have to give up some assets in exchange for a top 15 draft pick. The Pats have plenty to give up, though. New England has two second round draft picks, and three picks in the third. Don’t be surprised if the Patriots are able to create a trade that is appealing enough to entice a team to squad picks.
Mock Trade :
Patriots receive :
Broncos 1st round pick : (10th)
Broncos receive :
Patriots 1st round pick (32nd)
Patriots 2nd round pick (56th)
Patriots 3rd round pick (73rd)