Almost all of the Zach Sudfeld hype has disappeared after his vanishing act in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. He was largely ineffective before going down with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. That same injury caused Sudfeld to miss last Thursday’s game against the New York Jets. Now that Sudfeld is healthy, it is time to feature him against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let’s not forget why Sudfeld has been receiving so much hype. He is an athletic freak who ran a 4.71 40-yard dash at the University of Nevada pro day. That time was among the top-10 fastest tight ends who ran the 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Combine. Sudfeld also possesses excellent size at 6-foot-7, 260 pounds. That is actually an inch taller than tight end Rob Gronkowski. Plus, Sudfeld had a breakout collegiate campaign in 2012, nabbing 45 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdowns. He was quite a find for Bill Belichick and company.
It’s too early to give up on Sudfeld. He has only played in one NFL game and was targeted just once in that game (though he did stumble and cause quarterback Tom Brady to throw an interception). If anything, he wasn’t targeted enough. It seemed like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was trying to get his wide receivers involved in the passing game, and Sudfeld was just an afterthought.
And yet Sudfeld must be a part of the gameplan to beat Tampa Bay. He has the best chance for success, as he can beat Bucs’ linebackers Mason Foster and Dekoda Watson in coverage. He can also be a nice red zone target for Brady (and probably the best one until Gronkowski returns). It’s just a matter of McDaniels calling Sudfeld’s number.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.