Patriots free agent addition Jonnu Smith: 'I’m the most versatile tight end' in NFL

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Nick Goss
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Pats free agent addition Jonnu Smith: 'I’m the most versatile tight end' in NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Jonnu Smith is ready to work.

The 25-year-old tight end is joining the New England Patriots on a reported four-year, $50 million free agent contract

The additions of Smith and fellow free agent tight end Hunter Henry address a glaring weakness on New England's roster in a major way. The Patriots received the least amount of receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns from tight ends in 2020.

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Smith not only brings a high level of skill to the tight end position, he also sets a high standard for himself and teammates as far as work ethic and preparation.

“They (Patriots) are definitely getting the hardest worker that’s ever come through Gillette Stadium,” Smith said Wednesday on NFL Network. “That’s what I believe in. That’s all I know. I was never the highest recruited high school player, never labeled the best tight end in college. Even at this level, I just had to carve out a path for myself. That’s what kept me going, that’s what kept me in that weight room an extra 30 minutes more than other guys. That just kept me going. Staying after practice on the JUGS (machine) every day. That’s all I know. That’s what I believe in.

"There’s not a guy, when I walk in that building, that can outwork me. And I’m sure the Patriots -- that’s what they believe in. So just being around a lot of guys with that same mindset, it’s just a great feeling to have. To know that everybody over there breathes success and stands for the same thing, man, they’re getting a hell of a worker.”

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Smith does it all at his position, whether it's catching passes and dominating in the passing attack, or paving the way as a blocker in the run game. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be able to use Smith in a variety of roles and formations.

“I just feel like I’m the most versatile tight end in this league,” Smith said. “That’s really not up for other people to tell me or not -- I know what I can do. I know what I can do once the ball is in my hands, and I just feel that there’s no tight end in the league better than me at that. I’m just going to go out and prove that.”

Smith set career highs with 41 receptions for 448 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games for the Tennessee Titans last season. His excellent speed and size should make him a reliable target for whoever starts at quarterback for the Patriots in 2021.