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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Offseason Blueprint: Patriots

By Mike Reiss

If there is one common thread to ESPN Insider's "offseason blueprint" for the Patriots, it's the focus at the tight end position. It was noted in the "front office priority," "free agents" and "draft" sections of the blueprint.

The Patriots received valuable contributions from tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan in 2013, particularly as blockers. They have value to the team and it wouldn't be a surprise if they return this year, but where the Patriots were hurt most without injured Rob Gronkowski was not having as dynamic/productive of a pass-catching presence at the position.

It makes sense to think the Patriots will look to bolster this area in free agency (Buffalo's Scott Chandler and Detroit's Brandon Pettigrew are possible targets) and then if the right player falls to them in the draft, they could add there as well (e.g. Notre Dame's Troy Niklas).

It might not be top priority for the Patriots, but it seems like a most obvious one based on the current snapshot.