After months of studying the NFL draft, we'll start our list of "10 perfect Patriots", narrowing down the list of prospects to a select group that we feel would be ideal (and realistic) for the Patriots, while adding a few draft-related thoughts:
Player: C.J. Fiedorowicz
Position: Tight end
Listed height/weight:6-foot-5 1/2, 265 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: 5th (scouting profile)
Draft projection: Third round
Why he’s on our list: The Patriots would benefit from adding a tight end and Fiedorowicz is one of the "cleanest" in this year's draft. He has good size, was well schooled in college playing for a team coached by former Bill Belichick assistant Kirk Ferentz, and he was among the team's pre-draft visitors to Gillette Stadium as part of the club's 30 in-house visits. Some tight ends are really just bigger receivers, but Fiedorowicz is more of a pure tight end who could factor into the blocking and pass-catching mix. With Rob Gronkowski's recent injury woes, adding one of the most durable tight ends in the draft makes sense.
A feel for the tight-end class: This is not a deep group and the sense from here is that the Patriots will probably have just a few draftable tight ends in mind. Notre Dame's Troy Niklas was initially viewed as the best fit for the Patriots, but after further review, we've made the switch to Fiedorowicz when considering the Patriots-specific fit.
Recommended link: Cody Goodwin of the Daily Iowan wrote on Fiedorowicz adding a different dynamic to Iowa's offense during the 2013 season, specifically in the red zone where his big frame stood out.
Key stat: Played in 51 career games at Iowa. Dipped from 45 receptions in 2012 to 30 in 2013.
Workout stat: His 7.10 time in the 3-cone drill was among the best at the position, while his 25 reps on the bench press highlighted his strength. His hands measured a mammoth 10 1/4-inch.
Draft strategy: If the Patriots don't select Fiedorowicz with their late second-round pick (No. 62), it's unlikely he'll be on the board at the end of the third round (No. 93), especially given the lack of depth at the position.