The Patriots added some depth at tight end by adding UCLA’s Devin Asiasi in the third round (91st overall.)
Asiasi is the first tight end to be drafted by New England in the first four rounds since 2010, when the team grabbed Rob Gronkowski in the second round and Aaron Hernandez in the fourth.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 25, 2020
Here are five things to know about the 6-foot-3-inch, 257-pound California native:
He spent one year at Michigan.
It was a quiet one, but Asiasi spent his freshman season in Ann Arbor in 2016. He had one touchdown on two catches for 18 receiving yards.
Asiasi attended De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., which is 361 miles north of UCLA.
“He leaves in great status,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said when Asiasi transferred. “He was doing great in school, doing great in football, really popular and well-liked by his teammates.”
Despite 44 receptions last year, he sees both sides of the position.
A true two-way tight end, Asiasi had 44 receptions for 641 yards and four touchdowns as a redshirt junior in 2019. But in an interview with UCLA’s Daily Bruin last year, he emphasized the importance of blocking.
“[Run blocking] sets the tone for the whole game,” Asiasi said. “You’re coming up and you’re punching that dude right in the mouth first play, you’re setting that tone for the rest of the game. So to me, the running game is just as important as the pass game.”
He was the first one in his family to go to college.
When Asiasi was a four-star prospect coming out of high school, he had more on his mind than his football dreams. Asiasi, who had more than 20 offers from every Power Five conference, was a first-generation college student.
“That’s my inspiration,” he told Bleacher Report in 2015. “That’s what drives me every morning. Every time I see my cousins, they’ll say, ‘You’re the one.’ They say I’ll be the one to show that you can do way more than what’s being done.”
In the back of his mind, he did have his NFL dreams.
“God willing, I’ll make it to the NFL and make all of that money,” he said. “But for me, it’s all about getting my education and going to college. Football is going to provide opportunities and open doors for me.”
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) April 25, 2020
His Samoan heritage lends itself to brotherhood.
Asiasi is of Samoan descent, and in a 2015 interview, he shared how that contributed to the brotherhood he’s found in football.
“When you grow up in a Polynesian family, it’s always God that always comes first, and then it’s your family.”
In high school, he split time between two positions.
As a high school senior, Asiasi stood at 6-foot-3 and weighed 270 pounds, a perfect fit for the defensive line. But he had scoring power then, and it took some convincing to earn a spot on the offensive side on the ball at the next level.
“In general, people think I’m going to be a D-end,” Asiasi told Bleacher Report as a high school senior. “I want to play tight end. That’s where my heart’s at. I’m going to come out every day and prove myself that I can be a tight end at the next level. That’s where my mentality is every day.”
He got his wish when he began his college career at Michigan.