New England Patriots tight end Jake Ballardisn’t a lock to make the 53-man roster due to his recovery from a severe knee injury but he is definitely a near-lock and would be a shocker of a cut. Ballard is proof of just how difficult it is to recover from microfracture surgery but it’s great to see that his blocking hasn’t deteriorated as a result of the injury. I’m sure his pass-catching ability has but he should still be a solid tight end. The emergence of Zach Sudfeld means a lesser role for Ballard but he should get a solid stream of snaps as an in-line tight end and will make Daniel Fells‘s spot on the roster obsolete when Rob Gronkowski is healthy. I like Fells as a blocker and view him as a quality tight end but the Patriots aren’t keeping five TEs on the roster. Ballard and Fells are battling for that fourth job when Gronk is healthy and cap space and pass-catching upside mean that this battle is clearly in Ballard’s favor.