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Patriots Roster Prediction #26: TE Aaron Hernandez

Player Name: TE Aaron Hernandez

Experience: Rookie

Past Role: Hernandez was first team All-SEC, first team All-American and was voted the best collegiate Tight End, all in 2009. He was the Florida Gators' leading receiver, as a junior, and decided to forgo his final year in college to enter the NFL draft. A Hern (which shall be his nickname) was a pass catching tight end who, at 6-2, 245 lbs, was too small to be a successful in line blocker. He made his living catching the ball and blocking downfield, as well as helping out as a halfback.

Predicted Role: A Hern should be a large part in the Patriots offensive success. He has tremendous size, which would make him uncoverable by a cornerback or a safety. He'd be a great red zone threat and has the strength to help out in the running game, should the running back run off tackle. He's going to be one of Tom Brady's favorite targets all over the field, especially if Randy Moss faces his regular double coverages.

In the first preseason game, A Hern was used on a couple quick screen passes to no success. These plays do not play to his strengths and that route should not be his primary route during the regular season. Look for A Hern to adopt a Dallas Clark type of role on the offense, as a big receiver who creates big mismatches in the secondary.

Predicted Season Numbers: 7 Games Started, 16 Games Played, 45 receptions, 600 yards, 6 TDs

Predicted Depth Chart: #1 WR/TE, #3 TE

Summary: A Hern should have a successful rookie year. He should have a productive season as one of Brady's primary targets. If the coaching staff uses him downfield, he'll see a lot more success and should put up huge numbers for a rookie. If the staff keeps him on those screen passes, he'll have an awful rookie year.