PATS REPORTER

Perry: Pats place Keene on injured reserve, go bargain shopping at tight end

PATS REPORTER

The Patriots spent two third-round picks on tight ends in this year's draft but have received just one catch from the rookie duo of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in 2020.

That number will sit at one for the time being.

Keene, the Patriots announced on Tuesday, has joined Asiasi on injured reserve. Dealing with a knee issue that held him out of Monday night's game against the Jets, Keene will now miss at least the next three weeks.

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Ryan Izzo, who was also injured going into Monday night with a hamstring issue, ended up playing the vast majority of offensive snaps (76 of 81) at tight end for the Patriots against the Jets. Izzo ran 30 routes (compared to 39 snaps as a run-blocker and seven as a pass-protector) but was not targeted.

With the Patriots hurting for players to fill the tight end role in the offense, they played tackle Korey Cunningham on four snaps at the position on Monday night, and fullback Jakob Johnson took reps in what looked like a wing-back role at times.

The Patriots searched for further answers at the position via waivers early this week, putting a claim in for and being awarded tight end Jordan Thomas from the Arizona Cardinals.

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Thomas was a sixth-round pick in 2018 and measures in at a whopping 6-foot-5, 277 pounds. His size gives him the look of a blocking specialist. In 2019, with the Texans, he played as an in-line tight end for 63 snaps, versus spending 25 snaps in the slot or out wide. He did, however, run 49 routes last season versus spending 43 snaps as a blocker. In 2018, he spent 64 percent of his snaps as a blocker. For his career, he has 22 catches for 226 yards and five touchdowns.

 

The Patriots officially added two more tight ends on Tuesday, signing Dylan Cantrell and David Wells to their practice squad.

Another sixth-round pick in 2019, Cantrell played receiver at Texas Tech and was a very good athlete for his size (6-foot-3, 226 pounds), running a 6.56-second three-cone drill and jumping 130 inches in the broad jump at the combine. Since then, he's bulked up (240 pounds now) as he makes a position switch. Wells (6-5, 255 pounds) was undrafted in 2018. He was a practice-squad player for the Chiefs in 2018 and spent 2019 on injured reserve.