Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports

Even with Rob Gronkowski news, Patriots should still draft tight end

Ryan Hannable
April 25, 2018 - 12:16 pm

After a (sort of) suspenseful few months this offseason, Rob Gronkowski announced Tuesday night he will be back in 2018.

With his status up in the air, many pegged tight end as a priority in the draft for the Patriots and while him returning makes it less of a need, the Patriots absolutely should target a tight end with one of their first four picks in the draft this week.

The team needs to start thinking about the long-term future of the position.

Gronkowski will be 29 years old next season and his body has taken a beating over the years, as he's had more surgeries than he had touchdowns last year. While Gronkowski may not be considered year-to-year at this point of his career, he's the closest thing to it. Given his frustrations last season and WWE rumors this offseason, the organization needs to be prepared for him to potentially step away from the game after any season from here on out.

Having a young player in place, with at least a year of experience under his belt, would ease the concerns if Gronkowski were to leave.

The Patriots have four picks in the first two rounds -- when will they be able to say that again in the next few years? They have the ability to select impact players for the future and a tight end should be one of them.

It also doesn't need to come in the first round, either. But, if there is a player they really like and he's still available at No. 23 or 31, it's worth the pick. The draft is fairly deep at the positions of need, so taking a tight end in the first round wouldn't completely disrupt the draft.

Some names to keep an eye on are: Hayden Hurst, Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki and Jaylen Samuels.

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