Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
After waiting through almost three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft, Dalton Keene's wait came to an end just a few picks before the end of the second day of the NFL Draft thanks to the New England Patriots.
The Patriots selected Dalton Keene with the 101st overall pick after the Patriots traded the 125th and 129th picks plus a 2021 sixth rounder to pick Keene. Keene is not only the first Virginia Tech player selected in this year's draft, but also the first player selected out of the ACC Coastal in this draft. He is also the fourth tight end selected in this year's draft after Cole Kmet (Chicago), Devin Asiasi (New England), and Josiah Deguara (Green Bay).
Keene became a fan favorite during his three seasons at Virginia Tech starting 38 of 39 games while accumulating 59 receptions for 748 yards and 8 receiving touchdowns over his three seasons. Additionally, Keene showed some versatility in how he gets the ball with 11 carries for 33 yards this past season.
One of the most valued things with Keene is the versatility that he brings as a tight end that can be used in a traditional spot, in the slot, and as an h-back/fullback all over the backfield. His versatility, toughness, and well-rounded skill set as a blocker and short pass game receiver are a few of the reasons why Keene fits well especially with New England's other TE selection Devin Asiasi who is seen as primarily a vertical receiving threat.
With this selection, Keene becomes the earliest picked tight end in Virginia Tech history surpassing Ken Barefoot who was selected 113th overall in the 1968 NFL Draft. The honor is well-deserved for Keene who may not have put up the biggest receiving numbers, but made a big impact in many ways on the field and off of it.
Keene may not be the only Hokie selected in this year's draft as Reggie Floyd, Deshawn McClease, and Ryan Willis are all hoping they will be selected during the 4th-7th rounds of the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft.