TE Mills & his fit in the offense

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
5:45
PM ET
Since the Patriots signed tight end Garrett Mills on Sunday, some on Twitter have asked about his chances to make the final roster.

For example, @westerlind65 writes, "Wasn't Mills used as a move TE and some at FB? What are his chances? If he makes it, it would seem to be the end of Sammy Morris"

Mills is 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds, putting him more in an H-Back "move" type category at tight end. He's at the opposite end of the spectrum from someone like Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265 pounds), who has the size and power to line up at the line of scrimmage regularly.

"I’m an undersized tight end, so hopefully I’m the kind of guy that can move around a little bit," Mills said Monday when asked how he's been used by different teams. "As far as my role in this offense, that’s obviously to be determined because I just got here and I’m trying to get acclimated to the offense again."

When breaking down the Patriots' tight ends, they go into two different categories -- the more traditional type, and the "move" type.

Traditional
Gronkowski (6-6, 265)
Lee Smith (6-6, 269)
Will Yeatman (6-5, 268)
Carson Butler (6-4, 260)

Move
Aaron Hernandez (6-1, 245)
Mills (6-1, 235)

Mills provides insurance should Hernandez sustain an injury like he did in 2010, as the Patriots don't have another player like him on the roster. While he is a "bubble" player for a roster spot -- the Patriots project to keep three tight ends and Gronkowski, Hernandez and Yeatman/Smith are the leaders -- the fact he has practice squad eligibility means he could potentially stick around without taking up a roster spot.

Smart teams never stop looking for depth at every spot on their roster, and that's what the Mills signing looks like from this perspective.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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