Oh, remember him?
Except for a nice touchdown reception in the final game of the 2020 NFL season, the former third-round pick out of UCLA hasn’t given fans a reason to get extra excited about his role in the Patriots’ offense.
Add Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith to the mix and Asiasi has pretty much been an afterthought. But injuries to the two big money tight ends is given the young tight end an opportunity to shine…at least in the preseason.
New England Patriots second-year tight end Devin Asiasi has an opportunity to shine at the tight end position
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With more reps expected on Thursday night, Asiasi not only has a chance to clench his claws into that third tight end role, but he is also embracing the increased reps in practice as a big confidence boast that should improve both his readiness and play execution on the field.
"“Obviously more reps and getting out there a little more than the last couple days,” Asiasi told reporters Tuesday after practice regarding his increased reps., via WEEI. “Just taking it rep by rep and just trying to improve and trying to understand my assignments as I go out there.”"
Will that improvement show in 2021?
In catching just two receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown, things can only go up for the talented young tight end who didn’t see many targets from Cam Newton during his rookie season. With the addition of Henry and Smith, those targets may not increase, but at least he has two tight ends ahead of him that he can learn from, quite different than a season ago when second-year tight end Ryan Izzo was the most experienced tight end.
While getting the extra reps and some extra meeting time has added to his confidence, Asiasi is learning from those two exciting veteran tight ends, which should help him learn how to adjust his own talent to the NFL level.
"“Just being in the same room with them and watching film with them, watching them and seeing how they carry themselves on and off the field, I take in everything I’m watching everything they’re doing,” Asiasi said, via Patriots.com. “Just being around them is a great experience.”"
In all, Asiasi is a player to watch in the New England Patriots second preseason game against the Eagles. As the only tight end dressing, he should see some targets at least from rookie quarterback Mac Jones when he is in the game.
With less pressure on him this season, the Patriots second-year tight end should show a little more in 2021 as that third option who could have an opportunity to play a larger role given the injury history of Hunter Henry.
Will he take advantage of the opportunity?
Well, if he does, it would be more due to his maturity on and off the field. Add that to his talent and confidence level and the New England Patriots could find themselves with three capable tight ends in the passing game.
Wouldn’t that be a great surprise.