ESPN's Tania Ganguli reported that tight end Owen Daniels visited the Patriots, Packers, and Redskins before ultimately signing with the Ravens. Daniels was recovering from a broken leg and reunites with his former head coach, Gary Kubiak, now the offensive coordinator in Baltimore.
Daniels' contract has zero guaranteed money, a base value of $1 million, and escalators up to $2 million. The added familiarity with Kubiak is sure to have bumped Daniels up the list.
Daniels has averaged roughly 4 receptions and nearly 50 yards per game over the past seven seasons, one of 22 players in the league with that stat on their resume. He joins Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and (surprise) Kellen Winslow as the only tight ends in that group.
It's clear that the Patriots are interested in finding themselves a "move" tight end, with Michael Hoomanawanui penciled in as the blocking tight end. The inclusion of D.J. Williams on the roster as well as the smoke around Mark Harrison assuming the role make the position a point of interest. Even Brandon LaFell has been linked.
If the Patriots want to find their own "move" tight end, we can see the athletic make-up of the successful move tight ends. The composite player is roughly 6'3-6'5, 245-255 lbs, possesses sub-4.70 speed, can broad jump nearly 10 feet, can vertical jump almost 3 feet, owns a sub-7.0 second three cone and sub 4.2 shuttle, and can bench over 25 times.
Unfortunately, this player doesn't exist in the draft.
Only three fall in the 40 yard dash range (Colt Lyerla, Eric Ebron, A.C. Leonard). One is too far out of the Patriots range, and two come with serious issues off the field.
Only four provide the desired explosion (the above three and Crockett Gilmore).
No one comes close to the three cone or short shuttle time barriers, which is for quickness and suddenness, although the closest would be C.J. Fiedorowicz (4.26 SS, 7.10 3C) and Jake Murphy (4.27 SS, 7.18 3C). This is hurt because the trio of Ebron, Lyerla, and Leonard didn't participate in these drills.
In all, Leonard and Ebron are the only two players who remotely come close to meeting all the criterion of a move tight end and they'll be available at the completely opposite ends of the draft. In all honestly, fullback Gator Hoskins fits just as well and seems to be the only one without red flags (and the numbers support his success).
The Patriots either missed out or opted out of the Daniels sweepstakes and there aren't many options in the draft. Let's see if Jermichael Finely (failed his physical with Seattle) or Dustin Keller (tore his ACL, MCL, PCL, and dislocated his knee) can make it through the Patriots medical staff.