Much could be asked of a handful of the Patriots’ young and inexperienced players from the get-go in the upcoming NFL season.
New England was hit hard by free agency back in the spring, as a number of starters from the 2019 campaign found new homes. The Patriots also lost a few key contributors via opt-outs over coronavirus concerns.
Among the young Patriots with pressure to succeed is Devin Asiasi. The UCLA product was one of two tight ends New England selected in the third round in April to address its underwhelming position group, which lost Ben Watson to retirement and Matt LaCosse via opt-out. Asiasi has a chance to be an impact player from Day 1 in Foxboro, which is part of the reason why NFL analyst Lance Zierlein is tabbing the 23-year-old as the Patriots’ “pivotal rookie” in 2020.
“Asiasi just looked like a Patriots tight end when I was getting through his tape prior to this year’s draft,” Zierlein wrote for NFL.com. “Now the talented rookie will need to stand out as a big target who can attack the seams for either Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham … or the Patriots could be in for a long season.”
Luckily for the Patriots, Asiasi appears to be trending in the right direction. The rookie tight end has been among New England’s training camp standouts over the past week-plus.