The 2020 Scouting Combine helped prepare Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene for NFL life. And not in the way you might expect.
Asiasi and Keene were combine roommates, sharing a hotel room for a week in Indianapolis during the marquee event of the NFL’s pre-draft process.
On Friday, the New England Patriots selected them 10 picks apart in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, trading up to do so on both occasions. The duo now will be tasked with revitalizing a once-great tight end group that fell into disarray in Year 1 of the post-Rob Gronkowski era.
They’re thrilled to be teaming up again.
“I’m actually really excited about that, because I think we’ll complement each other really well,” Keene, the 101st overall pick, said Saturday in his introductory conference call. “I was actually roommates with him at the combine, so I got a chance to get to know him, and he’s an awesome guy. I’m really excited for him.
“I think he’s going to do a lot of things really well, especially in the passing game. I couldn’t be more excited to start to develop our relationship, and I think he’s going to do a lot of really good things.”
Asiasi, drafted 91st overall, said he and Keene both adopted a businesslike approach during the combine, the results of which can boost or tank a prospect’s draft stock. But once the endless gauntlet of tests, drills, team interviews and media obligations was through, they had a chance to relax together and look toward the future.
“After the whole combine wound down, we kind of relaxed and had a good conversation about the whole thing,” Asiasi, who, coincidentally, also briefly roomed with Patriots second-round draft pick Josh Uche ahead of his freshman year at Michigan, said during his introductory call. “We definitely gave each other our ‘good lucks’ and all of that. I’m definitely looking forward to going out there and working with him.”
Keene called their time together in Indy a great bonding experience for two players who will be spending a whole lot of time with one another over the coming months and years.
“It was a really good shared experience, just because of the stress and everything going on at the combine,” Keene said. “We had that shared experience, and I think it was really good to start to build our relationship. I think that’s going to help us out a lot moving forward because we’ve already broken the ice, we already know each other. I’m really looking forward to getting to play with him.”