Patriots rookie free agent Zach Sudfeld fills big void Monday, August 19, 2013 By: Karen Guregian
FOXBORO — When it comes to assessing rookies during training camp and the preseason, it’s best not to overreact, overblow, oversell or overhype. Only, the task becomes difficult when you come across guys like Zach Sudfeld.
ESPN analyst Sal Paolantonio went so far as to dub him “Baby Gronk” after watching the 6-foot-7, 260-pound tight end torch the Eagles defense during the lead-up to the preseason opener in Philadelphia.
With Sudfeld doing more of the same against Tampa Bay during joint practices, and again in Friday night’s win against the Buccaneers — he caught a two-point conversion from Tom Brady and a 22-yard TD pass from Ryan Mallett — the nickname isn’t likely to change.
Nor will the buzz for the likeable undrafted rookie out of Nevada.
Now, we’re not ready to cast Sudfeld’s bronze bust in Canton just yet, as Bill Parcells often warned against. But at the very least, the long-haired kid wearing No. 44 in your Patriots program is worthy of note based on what he’s done the past few weeks.
For starters, if this kid continues to be a threat catching the football, a legitimate red-zone option, and also a blocking presence, there will be less of a need for Gronkowski to rush back from June back surgery. That would be critical because the most important X-factor for the Patriots offense is getting the Pro Bowl tight end back at 100 percent.
I was able to draft him last night in the 14th round of a 12 team draft. He's had several surgeries while in college so there is some durability risk here, but a really good value for a late flier IMO.
Surgeries: two on the shoulder, one on the knee, one on a broken wrist and two on a leg he snapped in the 2010 season opener at Oregon.
He's moved way too high on lots of ADP charts and is going relatively early in mock's I've done. He could be a stud, replacing Hernandez, or... he could just have 4 weeks of decent production before Gronk comes back. I love his upside as a flier but I wouldn't want him as my first TE.
I think he actually has the potential to be a top 10 TE if not higher even if Gronk plays.
I drafted him in the 10th round last night. Would have liked to wait longer but my draft had a huge run on TE's and I overheard the guy who drafted Gronk saying they were going to target him, so I pulled the trigger.
While I'm a little nervous having him as my #1 TE ,I was happy enough with the rest of my roster to take this risk.
At least until Gronk comes back, he's a nice spot starter of sorts who I'd rank in the top 10 or so for a nice week 1 matchup vs BUF. TE is such a plateau position after the first 5, that I'm perfectly comfortable only carrying him until he proves he's worthless/Gronk comes back and then picking up a Dwayne Allen type or early season flavor of the week. Look at the TEs who emerged last year with Bennett, Rudolph, and Myers cracking the top 10 or so after going undrafted in most leagues. No palpable risk in grabbing Sudfeld late and going from there.
deltaboy wrote:He is more a Gronk than Hernandez, and more injury risk than Gronk. I can't see him being significant.
I like Sudfeld as a flyer but he's right. He's more in the mold of Gronk than Hernandez. Hernandez was almost a big WR, a downfield threat, that is not the case with Sudfeld. That's not to say he can't be productive though, but he's not filling Hernandez' role because he is not that type of player.