Jonnu Smith arrived in Foxboro with high expectations, and thus far he’s met them.
Smith, a multi-faceted tight end, was one of the top overall free agents available this offseason and, along with Hunter Henry, was scooped up by the New England Patriots in their offseason spending spree.
He’s been sharp-enough in camp, and in his first preseason appearance made two catches for 22 yards Thursday. It wasn’t exactly an attention-grabbing performance, but few preseason showings are.
So, what’s standing out for Bill Belichick? Well, everything.
“We’ve seen Jonnu for four years, and he does a lot of things well,” Belichick said Friday morning. “He blocks well. He runs well. He’s fast. Catches the ball well. Can run with it after the catch. He’s got a good set of skills and can help us on all downs, and I’m glad we have him on the team.
“I think he’s a good player, and I look forward to working with him. It’s been great to work with him,” Belichick continued. “He’s got a good attitude. He works hard. He’s tough. Competes every day. Just keep trying to find ways to help all of our skill players be productive, and he’s got a good variety of skills that we can work with.”
Perhaps the biggest asset Smith brings is his ability to run after the catch. That will be particularly valuable in a Patriots system that banks more on short passes and letting the receivers rack up yards after the catch, instead of launching one bomb after another.
He’s uber-versatile though, so no matter what, the Patriots will find something for him to do on a regular basis.