New England Patriots: James O’Shaughnessy is a tight end worth watching

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: James O'Shaughnessy
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: James O'Shaughnessy /

Tight end James O’Shaughnessy had a good showing in his preseason debut and is extra motivated to make the New England Patriots 53-man roster.

Last week, it was undrafted rookie free agent Jacob Hollister.  This week, it is veteran tight end James O’Shaughnessy who has jumped ahead in the competition for the New England Patriots third tight end role.

Acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2017 NFL draft, O’Shaughnessy is a player who has gone under the radar and rightfully so.  In just two seasons with the Chiefs, he caught eight passes for 87 yards.

Nothing to write home about.  But, in catching five passes for 41 yards in Saturday’s 27-23 preseason loss to the Houston Texans, O’Shaughnessy gave a hint of how he could contribute offensively.

Versatility at tight end

Combine that with his ability to play special teams and he could find a way to beat out Hollister, Matt Lengel and rookie Sam Cotton for the third tight end spot behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.

As is the case with many players trying to make the final 53-man roster, O’Shaughnessy knows he has to show that the can contribute in many different ways to catch the attention of Bill Belichick.

"“As a tight end, you’re asked to do a lot of different things, whether it be in the passing game, special teams,” O’Shaughnessy said Monday, via NESN.  “So my goal is just to keep improving in every facet.  I like to think I can contribute in different ways, and it’s up to the coaches to choose how they want to do that.”"

Learning from the best

 In his brief NFL career, James O’Shaughnessy has now had the luxury of learning from two dominant All-Pro tight ends.  He played behind Travis Kelce in Kansas City and now has the opportunity to learn from Gronkowski in New England.

FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 13: Rob Gronkowski
FOXBORO, MA – NOVEMBER 13: Rob Gronkowski /

While comparing the two on the field would be a tough task, the 25-year-old tight end says he is fortunate just having the opportunity to watch greatness first hand and learn from it.

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"“They’re both great guys,” he said.  “Both heck of tight ends.  I can’t say enough about both of them helping me out through my early years in my career.  I learned a lot from Travis, and I’m learning a lot from Gronk, so I’ve been very fortunate to have those two as my leaders early in my career.”"

Size wise, O’Shaughnessy is not as big as Gronkowski or Kelce.  At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, he is a little smaller, but then again, not many tight ends in the league are as big as either one of them.  He still would present another big target for Tom Brady in the passing game if he shows more of what he showed on Saturday night.

In all, he didn’t look as impressive as Jacob Hollister as far as the passing game goes.  But he did show an ability in other areas that could give him an advantage over the rookie.  He did draw recognition from Belichick as a player who did positive things during the game.

Next: New England Patriots: Matt Lengel out to claim third TE role

When Belichick singles a player out, they must be doing the little things the coach looks for in players who could contribute.

While we have yet to see Matt Lengel on the field, James O’Shaughnessy is worth watching for that third tight end spot.