This Patriots Starter Will Be the First to Lose His Job in 2020

New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse
New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse / Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The New England Patriots thought they could replace Rob Gronkowski with a bunch of flotsam at tight end, and that strategy proved futile over the course of the 2019 season.

One of the players who helped hold down the fort, journeyman Matt LaCosse, might be going into camp as the starting tight end, but two 2020 draft picks will give him all the competition he can handle. He is by no means guaranteed a starting spot in 2020.

The first of two tight ends New England took in the third round was UCLA's Devin Asiasi, an athletic freak with plus speed and soft hands who could be a Pro Bowler if his gifts as a route runner are maximized. LaCosse had just 13 catches for 131 yards last year, and Asiasi could double or triple those numbers as a rookie.

Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene was also picked up in the third round, and his ceiling is much higher than that of LaCosse. Nicknamed "Rambo" in college, Keene can line up as an H-back, tight end or fullback, all the while providing solid blocking and YAC ability.

LaCosse is one step short of a dead man walking in New England given the young talent Belichick loaded up on in the NFL Draft.