With Lee Smith and Will Yeatman battling it out for the third Tight End (TE) position, when Patriots brought in Garrett Mills it left people wondering what he offered to the team. Originally drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, he wasn’t expected to be your ‘traditional’ TE. He was also listed as a Full Back (FB), the 4th TE on the roster, and expected to play multiple roles (unlike David Thomas, the TE also taken by the Patriots that year in the round prior to Mills). However, Mills was Â placed on IR mid-way through the season. He was cut at the beginning of the 2007 season and claimed off of Waivers by the Vikings, despite Belichick’s intention to place him on the Practice Squad.
Mills stands at 6’1″ and weighs in at 235 lbs. He doesn’t fit the ‘traditional’ hybrid TE mold. Gronkowski, who you would consider the perfectÂ exampleÂ of aÂ hybridÂ TE, is 6’6″ tall and 265 lbs; a considerable difference! There is another type of TE. The type who can move around, be a little more versatile; play on the Line of Scrimmage, motion out into the slot and even block as a FB on goal line and short yardage plays! However, we already have one of those! Aaron Hernandez, the second TE on our depth chart, is also 6’1″ and slightly heavier at 245 lbs! We are alsoÂ loadedÂ at Receiver, lessening the need for a TE who can motion out into the slots.
So how about Full Back? He can play there. If we were to go with Mills as the 4th TE and FB on the team, it would almostÂ certainlyÂ spell the end for Sammy Morris, who is assuming that role currently this preseason. There is every chance Belichick could go with Mills and free up a spot for him by cutting one Running Back (RB). However I feel we need the veteran presence on in the RB corps and Morris is filled with experience at the position whilst a big contributor already on Special Teams.
So what do we do with him? I think we do what Bill Belichick wanted to do back in 2007; get him on theÂ practiceÂ squad. He offers depth at TE and FB (insurance forÂ MorrisÂ somewhat) as a versatile player and can play Special Teams. We all know just how much Bill loves these versatile players. He offers us another option should we have any problems at either of those positions.
Garrett Mills will make the team, but in theÂ PracticeÂ Squad, not the final 53. Don’t be surprised to see him at some stage of the 2011 season if he is required through injuries.
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