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Training camp preview: Tight end

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 22, 2012 09:02 AM

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Aaron Hernandez doesn't get as many headlines as teammate Rob Gronkowski, but he's been nearly as productive. He had 79 receptions for 910 yards and seven touchdowns. (Bill Greene/Globe Staff)

Shalise Manza Young provides a status report on the Patriots' offensive position groups heading into the start of training camp on July 26.

Position: Tight end
Current number of players: Five
Four-year average at cut to 53: 2.75
Last season at 53: 2

Locks (3): Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells
Near-locks: None
Battling (1): Tyler Urban
Injured reserve/physically unable to perform (1): Jake Ballard

53-man prediction
On the team:
Gronkowski, Hernandez, Fells
Cut: Urban

Parting thought: This might be the easiest position on the team to predict. Gronkowski and Hernandez are arguably the best tight end duo in the league, and while Fells’ three-year contract didn’t exactly break the bank, it shows the team wants to have him around. Claimed off waivers from the Giants, Ballard may not play this season – he’s coming back from a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl. Urban, an undrafted rookie, is a project and could land on practice squad.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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