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Continuing with the theme of profiling potential Patriot tight end targets, we shift our focus to Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz. Like Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas, Fiedorowicz has the make-up of a more traditional tight end. As a skilled blocker who excels on the line, Fiedorowicz isn’t a guy who is ever going to catch 80 passes or 12 touchdowns in a given season.
However, he has the potential to be a longtime NFL player who can do a lot of good things for an offense like the Patriots who are seeking a tight end to be a supporting piece to an already potent attack. Fiedorowicz is likely to go in the third round, but a team (like the Patriots) might be enticed to select him in round two. If you’re a fan (like me) who would prefer that the Patriots address other needs in the first round, like defensive line or safety, then Fiedorowicz might be a prospect to keep an eye on.
One knock on Fiedorowicz is that he lacked production equal to his potential at Iowa. Although, this may simply be due to the system he played in and the talent around him. C.J. measured in at 6’5″ and 265 lbs at the combine in February, while also posting a fairly average 4.76-second 40 time. During the 2013 season at Iowa, Fiedorowicz caught just 30 balls for 299 yards and 6 touchdowns. While he improved his touchdown total, (he had just 1 in 2012) Fiedorowicz reception and yardage totals dropped significantly from his 45 for 433 numbers his junior season.
Despite fairly average receiving numbers at Iowa, Fiedorowicz’s potential is still real. His combination of size and athleticism is similar to that of Niklas, and he has a very good catch radius due to his length. What’s important to note when looking at Fiedorowicz is that he is a block-first player. This is a skill becoming rarer among NFL tight ends, and while some may not think this type of player warrants a second or third round pick, Fiedorowicz is the real deal. If placed alongside Gronkowski in the Patriots offense, he could really thrive. While he’ll never play to the level of Gronkowski or Hernandez, Fiedorowicz would be a solid addition to the Patriots offense that would like to return to using more two tight end sets in 2014.