McShay: Pats can cash in at TE in draft

Even if the Patriots agree to a contract with veteran tight end Alge Crumpler, as has been reported by the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, they would still have a long-term need at the position.

Along those lines, Todd McShay of ESPN’s Scouts Inc., believes the team is in good position to land a quality prospect at the position – as well as wide receiver -- in the draft.

“Tight end and wide receiver are two spots I think you can get really, really good value in the second round, where they’re sitting,” McShay said on a national conference call Thursday.

“Maybe it’s an [Illinois’s] Arrelious Benn with one of their earlier picks, at wide receiver. At tight end, I think you can cash in, even late in the second round. Rob Gronkowski from Arizona would be a good pick. He’s had some injuries and would be a first-round pick if it were not for those injuries. He’s a tough blocker and really catches the ball well. I would say he’s an underrated athlete.

"Dennis Pitta from BYU, he doesn’t have great size -- 6-4, 245 – but he’s one of the most instinctive route-runners and pass catchers I’ve seen at tight end in years in the draft. And even Aaron Hernandez, who I know [Bill] Belichick and some of those guys are working out [Thursday] down in Florida. Hernandez ran a 4.61 [Wednesday] in the 40, which is one of the fastest times, and might be the fastest time of any of the first three rounds of tight ends [selected]. Then you get into the third round and Ed Dickson from Oregon, Dorin Dickerson from Pittsburgh. It’s a deep group of tight ends. I think you don’t reach for Jermaine Gresham [of Oklahoma] in the first round and you let the right fit fall to you somewhere with those three picks in the second round.”