This post was updated April 24 at 10:44 p.m.
There were 253 selections before a Bruin came off the board in 2019, but Devin Asiasi didn’t have to wait quite as long this time around.
Asiasi became the second UCLA football tight end drafted in the last two seasons when the New England Patriots selected him with the 91st overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft on Friday night. The Patriots shipped former Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday and only had two tight ends on their roster entering the weekend.
Just one tight end came off the board before Asiasi: Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet.
Asiasi becomes the highest UCLA tight end picked since Marcedes Lewis went 28th overall in 2006. The last time New England took a tight end in the first three rounds was when it picked Gronkowski 42nd overall in 2010.
But while Gronkowski had future Hall of Famer Tom Brady tossing him the ball, Asiasi’s new quarterback is still up in the air. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the two quarterbacks left on New England’s roster with Brady now in Tampa Bay.
Asiasi caught just two passes for 18 yards in his lone season at Michigan, but he hauled in 50 catches for 771 yards and five touchdowns in 21 games after transferring to UCLA.
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said in a post-draft press conference that UCLA coach Chip Kelly was a good resource in helping New England scout and eventually settle on picking Asiasi.
“This kid’s got good size, runs well for his size,” Caserio said. “He’s got some technique things that he can certainly work on as an on-the-line-of-scrimmage blocker.”
Running back Joshua Kelley and cornerback Darnay Holmes are still on the board and are projected to join Asiasi as mid-round picks Saturday.