Nick Vannett, a sticky-fingered but mostly underutilized tight end from Ohio State, has drawn attention from the Patriots according to NFL Media’s Rand Getlin.
A 6-6, 257-pounder, Vannett was a nice third down and red zone bailout option for the Buckeyes. He caught 19 passes in both his junior and senior seasons. He could use to fill out and be more aggressive as a blocker. That’s actually an imperative since he stands little chance of being anybody’s lead pass-catching tight end. He did show some nice position versatility in terms of where he could line up – slot, end-of-line or split out.
While the Patriots have loaded up a bit at tight end, adding Martellus Bennett and Clay Harbor to the group that already had Rob Gronkowski, Michael Williams and A.J. Derby, there are myriad skills among that group. Gronk and Bennett are do-it-all types but Bennett’s contract is up at the end of the season. Harbor is an H-back. Williams is 304 pounds. Derby is a converted quarterback project.
So it does make some sense for the team to look for a true Gronk backup later in this draft.