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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Kiper mock 1.0 reaction: Patriots

By Mike Reiss

The New England Patriots have an uncertain forecast at the tight end position in 2014, so Mel Kiper Jr.'s pick for the team in his first mock draft Insider -- Texas Tech's Jace Amaro -- hits one of the few sweet spots for the team.

Once again, there will be questions about Rob Gronkowski's health as he attempts to come back from a torn ACL. The next two players on the depth chart, Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan, are scheduled for free agency. D.J. Williams, who is more of a "move" tight end, rounds out the group, and he's under contract for 2014.

So if it's not a big defensive lineman or offensive lineman, a tight end who has upside as a pass catcher but also is a factor at the line of scrimmage wouldn't be a surprising pick.

Amaro has declared for the draft after his junior season. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, the question from here is whether he's more of a receiver playing tight end or he'd be considered a true "combination" tight end who can also bang at the line of scrimmage.

If the Patriots are going to invest such a high pick at the position, the key would be the team's viewpoint that Amaro has "combination" potential.