Training camp preview: Tight end


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.


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