With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
Oregon TE Ed Dickson plays a position of great need for the New England Patriots. He may not be the best blocker, but his hands are incredible. He has professional size and measurables. A season of watching Patriots TE Alge Crumpler and learning how to block from OL Coach Dante Scarneccia, Dickson has the potential to become an elite all-around TE. At face value, he's just a great receiver with mediocre blocking skills. If picked, he could immediately contribute on special teams and he has played HB before. He could be the tight end of the future- he could also be just another Ben Watson. However, since Dickson is projected to be a mid-round pick, spending a 4th rounder or so on a Ben Watson type player seems like a great deal.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-4. Weight: 250.
Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
Combine 40 Time: 4.67.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.61.
Benchx225: 25. Vertical: 34. Arm: 33.
Dickson is an excellent receiving tight end that will give effort as a blocker but lacks the top size and bulk to be a dominating blocker at this level. He is quick on his release and shows a burst coming out of his breaks to separate from defenders. He has the downfield speed to stretch the middle of the field when running seam routes. He can show a tendency to short-arm some passes when going over the middle and in traffic. He has the speed and open field running skills to get a lot of yards after the catch.
Dickson had a proactive junior season with 35 catches for 508 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps equally impressive was the fact that he accomplished this with three different quarterbacks. Dickson is a big receiving tight end at 6-5, 243 pounds, possesses good hands, and is a good overall athlete. He needs to work on his blocking ability to become more of a complete tight end, but has the ability to do that.
Strengths: Is big and well-built. Looks like an NFL tight end. Shows the strength to tie up ends when using good technique in pass protection. As an in-line run blocker, is able to lock up and seal ends. Accelerates to full speed quickly and gets down the seam for big pass plays. Has the hands and body control to catch off-target throws. Shows no fear catching passes in traffic.
Weaknesses: Does not always play with passion or aggressiveness. On in-line run blocks, has a bad habit of popping upright at the snap and often gets jolted backward. Doesn't consistently bend his knees and block with good leverage. Will fall off blocks. Does not explode off the snap into routes and lacks elite speed to separate on deep routes.
Bottom line: Dickson must be more aggressive to be a consistent blocker, and he must run sharper routes to create separation. He shows the versatility to be an effective blocker, and he can play fullback. Look for him to develop into a productive starter.
Verdict: While Dickson may not be a great blocker, he definitely can learn behind Alge Crumpler. With phenomenal hands, Dickson is definitely worth a mid-round look.