Hokies' tight end Dalton Keene drafted by New England Patriots in third round

Tyler Byrum
·2 min read

Last season, it was revealed the New England Patriots were in desperate need of a tight end upgrade after the "retirement" of Rob Gronkowski. In the third round of the NFL draft, the Patriots addressed that issue by drafting two tight ends, one being Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene.

Keene was selected 101st overall in the third round. He was the second straight TE off the board for New England, who drafted UCLA's Devin Asiasi just 10 picks prior.

The 6-foot-4 Keene finished his junior season with the Hokies in a pretty mundane fashion. He caught 21 passes for 240 yards (11.4 yards per catch), scoring five touchdowns. But what makes Keene appealing was his versatility in multiple positions on the offense. He can catch, block and run.

Last season he lined up in the Virginia Tech backfield for 11 carries for 33 yards. While not impressive, his movement threw off opposing defenses and forced teams to account for a ground and pound scheme. Sounds like a fit for Bill Belichick's style of play.

At 253 lbs, he brings nice positional size to the Patriots and is roughly the same size as Asiasi.

Last season the Patriots desperately needed a tight end after years of the position being a strength. Their position group only had 37 total receptions, 419 yards and a touchdown.

Both Keene and Asiasi could find a home in the Patriots offense. They have employed a two-tight end system before and is a regular formation for Belichick's offense. However, the question is who will be throwing the ball to them.

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Hokies' tight end Dalton Keene drafted by New England Patriots in third round originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington