SleepersAugust 22, 2010

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Sleeper Watch

By Michael Hawes

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 02: Aaron Hernandez  tries to hang on to the ball as Kyle Arrington  breaks up the pass during the New England Patriots training camp on August 2, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots went out and drafted two TEs in the 2010 draft. The first, Rob Gronkowski, went in the 2nd round and is possibly the best all around TE from the 2010 draft. The second, Aaron Hernandez, lasted until the 4th round and is a pure pass catcher. The issue at hand for Mr. Gronkowski is that Aaron Hernandez is probably flat out better than he is as a receiver.

At slightly over 6′2″, Hernandez carries his almost 250 lbs very well. He catches just about everything thrown at him and is able to make elite plays after the catch. He is a threat to break any play into a big gain.

In his 2nd preseason game Hernandez put up a statline of 4-46-1, not too bad considering that he received only limited playing time against the Saints’ first team defense. He showcased his playmaking ability and tremendous finesse with a nice toe touch on a sideline grab. He is going undrafted in most leagues and currently does not have an ADP at all.

Both of the rookie TEs have drawn praise from reporters and the Patriots coaching staff and both will see a good amount of playing time this year. However, given Gronkowski’s advanced skills as a blocker and honestly, Hernandez’s deficiency in that area, it is highly likely that Hernadez ends the season with the better receiving stats. It is too early to annoint him as elite but if all goes well, he will be one of the top-10 pass catching TEs in the NFL. The only catch is that you have to temper all the hype surrounding Hernandez with the fact that he plays on a team coached by “Wild Bill” Belichick, a coach who is well known for being unpredictable.

Michael Hawes is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Michael in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of bungle613.
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