Wednesday June 26th, 2013 was a bad day for Aaron Hernandez. It probably started off much like any other day for him, chugging a dozen raw eggs or whatever it is that professional football players eat for breakfast, but it quickly got much worse. Hernandez was arrested and paraded out of his home by 7 officers, where he was taken into police custody. The New England Patriots wasted no time in waiving Hernandez, even though they are quickly running out of options on the offensive side of the ball.Hernandez was officially arraigned at 2 PM ET on Wednesday, and he was charged with six different counts including first degree murder.Now the question becomes, what happens to the Patriots offense? Where will Tom Brady turn come week 1 with Rob Gronkowski potentially sidelined to open the season, and a slew of new options in the offense?
Current TE on the roster (or roster bubble):Jake Ballard – I could give you my perspective here, but rotoworld.com does such an eloquent job of it… here is what they have to say about J.B. – “Those expecting Jake Ballard to simply slide right into Hernandez’s role are going to be disappointed. Even before his devastating knee injury, he was a lumbering in-line tight end. Ballard is not capable of playing 41 percent of his snaps in the slot and 18 out wide like Hernandez did.”Michael Hoomanawanui – After 3 years in the NFL Hoomanawanui is widely regarded as a blocking TE. At 6’4″ and 263 lbs, is this the season where he finally gets to start running routes? If he can show sure hands in training camp and the preseason, Hoomanawanui could emerge as a sleeper target for targets after catching 5 balls for 109 yards in 2012.Daniel Fells – Not even sure he will hang around if Zach Sudfeld can prove his worth. Fells is strictly a blocker, and it would be very surprising to seem him gain any sort of pivotal role in the Patriots offense.Zach Sudfeld – WHO??? Sudfeld played 6 years for the Wolfpack at the University of Nevada, and was considered a long shot to even crack the 53 man roster, but hey, a spot just opened up at TE! Zach is 6’7″ and 255 lbs; making him the dark horse candidate to win a larger role out of camp.
If not at TE…. then who?
Julian Edelman – WR
Edelman has been showing his worth in flashes for a few seasons now. His main problem appears to be staying on the field, as he played in just 9 games for the Pats a season ago. In 2012 Edelman caught 21 passes for 235 yards and 3 TD’s, and even got involved in the running game to the tune of 4 rushes/ 45 yards. IF he can stay healthy, Edelman could be one of the primary beneficiaries of Hernandez’ release.
Shane Vereen – RB
Many pundits already viewed Vereen as the favorite in passing down situations for the Patriots, and after totaling 149 yards receiving last year on just 8 catches, why not? With the injury bug plaguing Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman the past few years, Vereen could be the healthiest bet for fantasy owners to make this season, and his arrow is pointing straight up for 2013
Aaron Dobson/ Josh Boyce – WR
Both Dobson (2nd round) and Boyce (4th round) were picked up in this year’s draft class, and it looks like both men will be given the chance to succeed in their first year. No telling who will have the better connection with Brady at this point, so be sure to catalog the names as the preseason progresses we will get a better idea of who should see the majority of playing time at the “X” receiver.Tim Tebow – QBJust had to throw this one in for laughs. Tebow could probably figure out TE… he just doesn’t want to. The guy wants to prove he is a QB, and will likely hold a clipboard all season long… of course with Bill Belichick you never really know.