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Jamie Collins: ‘I’m going to do whatever I’m told to do’

05.08.14 at 1:46 pm ET
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FOXBORO — When the 2013 NFL Draft came around, Jamie Collins was not really paying attention except to find out where he would wind up.

When the Patriots nabbed him with their second-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, Collins was ready to do whatever he was asked to do. That would turn out to be very helpful as the Patriots selected him because of his reputation in college as one of the more versatile linebackers in college in the ’13 draft.

In his rookie season, Collins played both down and linebacker positions, showing he could get to the quarterback, play the run and drop in coverage.

Collins, asked this week to reflect on his first year in the pros, said once you have the talent, the rest is pretty elementary when you play for Bill Belichick.

“It’s pretty easy,” he said. “It’s not easy but it is easy. I don’t know if you get that or not. I’m going to do whatever I’m told to do. I’m the type of guy that is going to do what I have to do. I’m going to get it done, no matter what it is.”

In other words, Belichick has very specific plans for the linebacker, who showed up this spring in Foxboro looking bigger and stronger, all the more reason for the Patriots coaching staff to show more confidence in Collins, who began coming into his own as the 2013 regular season came to an end.

“Guys are different,” he said. “I just look at things and I just know it’s my job and I have to do what I have to do to survive. I was learning, regardless. But once a guy goes down, it’s next man up. You have to be strong. You lose a guy, the next man has to be ready to play. I’m excited to have him [back]. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Oregon State CB Rashaad Reynolds

05.08.14 at 12:25 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

RASHAAD REYNOLDS

Position: Cornerback

School: Oregon State

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 189 pounds

Achievements: 2013 All-Pac-12 second team (coaches), 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention

What he brings: Reynolds is a very athletic corner who has impressed scouts with his anticipation instincts and leadership ability. Concerns have been raised over Reynolds’ slim build, as he needs to work on his tackling and avoid being pushed back in piles. Despite these shortcomings, most scouts view Reynolds as a durable, low-risk prospect.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: Reynolds finished his final year with Oregon State with 61 tackles and a career-high six interceptions. His six picks tied him for the conference lead and was tied for seventh in the nation. … Reynolds was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch list in 2013. The award is given to the top defensive back in the country. … At the NFL combine, Reynolds posted a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash and completed 20 reps at the bench press (tied for third among all CBs).

Related articles: 

Corvallis Gazette-Times: Reynolds taking first step toward NFL with East-West Shrine game

Video: Here is a video of Reynolds’€™ performance against Washington State in 2013.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Rashaad Reynolds,

Patriots debut ‘jersey guarantee’ at team store

05.08.14 at 10:01 am ET
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In an unprecedented move, the Patriots announced on Thursday that they will become the first team in the NFL to offer a “jersey guarantee.”

According to the Patriots Pro Shop website, if a fan purchases a jersey from the team website or store and the player is no longer with the team within a year of the purchase, the Patriots will give the fan a 25 percent discount on their next Patriots jersey purchase. The fan will have two months from when the player leaves the team to use the discount and does not have to return the original jersey.

The move follows a decision by the Patriots to allow fans with Aaron Hernandez jerseys to exchange the item for a different player’s jersey last summer. The deal, which more than 1,200 fans participated in, was created after Hernandez was charged with murder.

Overall, the team’€™s decision was a move toward giving fans confidence in purchasing jerseys after Tim Tebow, whose jersey became popular last summer, was cut before the season even started and LaGarrette Blount joined the Steelers after a second-half surge in New England.

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Tennessee OT Ja’Wuan James

05.08.14 at 9:44 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

JA’€™WUAN JAMES

Position: Offensive tackle

School: Tennessee

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 311 pounds

Achievements: 2013 second-team All-SEC (Associated Press, College Sports Madness), 2010 freshman All-SEC (coaches)

What he brings: James has more than ideal size and, according to scouts, has shown both patience as a pass protector as well as power at the point of attack. Scouts also say, though, that he struggles with getting to the right pad level at times.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-3

Notes: James started in every game he played in during his four-year career at Tennessee. The 49 starts, all of which were at right tackle, set a school record for career starts by an offensive lineman. … in 2012 James was a part of an offense that averaged 475.9 yards per game (20th in the NCAA), had 315.6 yards of passing offense per game (15th) and allowed just 0.67 sacks per game (fourth).

Related articles:

The Washington Post: Tackle Ja’Wuan James working to further increase draft stock

The Daily Beacon: Ja’Wuan James a model of consistency throughout UT career

Video: Here is a video that highlights James’ career with Tennessee.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Ja'Wuan James,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Fresno State QB Derek Carr

05.08.14 at 9:35 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

DEREK CARR

Position: Quarterback

School: Fresno State

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 214 pounds

Achievements: 2013 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, 2013 third-team All-American (CBSSports.com, Phil Steele), 2013 Sammy Baugh Award (nation’€™s top passer), 2012 Mountain West Player of the Year, 2012 honorable mention All-American (Sports Illustrated)

What he brings: Carr has a gunslinger mentality with an ability to fire the ball with relative ease all over the field. He has impressed scouts with his ability to read coverage and his athleticism. However, Carr lacks the ideal height for an NFL QB and has small hands. Analysts have also pointed out that his impressive stats have been padded by playing in a Mountain West Conference that has some of the worst defenses in all of college football.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Carr had one of the most impressive seasons for a quarterback in 2013, throwing for 5,082 yards with 50 touchdowns vs. eight interceptions. He became just the fourth QB in FBS history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season. … Carr’€™s 113-to-24 career touchdown-to-interception ratio stands as the second-highest in FBS history. … At the NFL combine Carr posted a 4.69 at the 40-yard dash and a 34.5 in the vertical jump (second among all QBs). … His brother, David Carr, also was a standout QB at Fresno State and was the first pick in 2002 NFL draft by the Texans.

Related Articles:

NBCSports.com: Derek Carr says teams tell him they’€™d like to pick him in the 20s

ESPN: Sins of the brother

Video: Here is a video of Derek Carr’€™s performance against Nevada in 2013.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Derek Carr,

4 biggest areas of need for Patriots in 2014 draft

05.08.14 at 8:05 am ET
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With the Patriots holding the 29th pick in the first round of Thursday’s draft, here are the four biggest areas of need for the team.

1. Defensive lineman

The fact that the Patriots went out and re-upped Vince Wilfork is a good thing, but it’s clearly time to start planning for the post-Wilfork era. The big bodies they’ve acquired over the last few seasons — guys like Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga, Joe Vellano and Isaac Sopoaga — all have been stopgap individuals. Nice complementary players, but hardly the types you can build a defense around. When New England has really invested up front, it has inevitably come away with a key player. Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Wilfork all have been key parts of the Patriots defensive front. And while Wilfork will be around for another few years, it’s time to start grooming the next great New England defensive lineman. That means going after someone like Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman, Louis Nix or Stephon Tuitt of Notre Dame or Florida’s Dominique Easley — versatile defensive linemen who not only show an ability to hold up at the point of attack against the run, but also penetrate into the backfield and get after quarterbacks and running backs. (We’re going to assume that Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan and Pitt’s Aaron Donald will be off the board.)

2. Tight end

With tight end now a question mark for the Patriots — and the possibility of New England adding a veteran like Dustin Keller or Jermichael Finley — this area appears to still be a question mark for the Patriots. However, there are several draftable tight end possibilities for New England over the first few rounds, including the hyperathletic and versatile Jace Amaro from Texas Tech, a bruiser in C.J. Fiedorowicz from Iowa, the versatile Austin Seferian-Jenkins from Washington or Notre Dame‘s Troy Niklas. One wild card in the tight end process is Oregon’s Colt Lyerla — a tremendously athletic presence who has a ton of red flags because of off-field issues, and was later kicked off the team. Regardless, look for New England to focus on tight end on one of the first two days of the draft.

“Obviously [the Patriots have] had some age and injury issues on their interior defensive line with Wilfork and Tommy Kelly,” NFL Network Mike Mayock said of the Patriots. “[But] I also think a tight end would be intriguing there. A guy like Jace Amaro from Texas Tech, who I have a second-round grade on, kind of gives them another option at tight end with [Rob] Gronkowski. I find that intriguing, kind of playing that [Aaron] Hernandez role.”

3. Safety

It’s been a weird offseason for the Patriots at the safety spot. New England let Adrian Wilson walk after the vet spent the entire 2013 season on the shelf, and it released veteran Steve Gregory after two relatively uneventful years with the Patriots. Then New England re-signed Pat Chung, a former second-round pick who spent the 2013 season with the Eagles in Philly. There’s been talk about the Patriots moving Logan Ryan from corner to free safety, but you still figure that New England could be in the market for some help at the strong safety spot. That means Washington State’s Deone Bucannon, Minnesota’s Brock Vereen (the brother of New England running back Shane Vereen), Alabama’s Vinnie Sunseri or Wisconsin’s Dezman Southward, all of whom are considered second- or third-day possibilities for the Patriots.

“I think the safety situation at some point needs to be addressed,” Mayock added. “As you know with Bill [Belichick], you never know what’s going to happen except for the fact he’s probably going to move down and around.”

4. Backup linebacker (specifically, a coverage linebacker)

Asked if they preferred rushing the passer or dropping into coverage on third down, both Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins both indicated this past week that they’d rather rush instead of dropping into coverage. While New England likely will look to play nickel coverage on passing downs (substituting an extra defensive back for a linebacker), the Patriots’ linebacking depth has taken a hit this offseason with the departure of Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher, and New England could not only use an extra body or two at the position, but a linebacker who can run with tight ends and running backs. It’s not an overwhelming priority, but given the fact that the Patriots lost Spikes and Fletcher, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them chase after a linebacker sometime on Day 3 or a couple of linebackers as potential underrated free agents when the draft is done.

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Clemson WR Martavis Bryant

05.08.14 at 6:23 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

MARTAVIS BRYANT

Position: Wide receiver

School: Clemson

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 211 pounds

Achievements: 2013 All-ACC honorable mention (coaches, media)

What he brings: Bryant is tall with long arms, and he has displayed galloping speed and an ability to make acrobatic catches with ease. Analysts note that he needs to add more bulk and had far too many double catches and drops while at Clemson.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: Bryant made the decision to enter the draft after a junior campaign when he started in 11 of 13 games and had 42 receptions for 828 yards and seven touchdowns. He missed a start against Wake Forest after he made a throat slashing gesture during a game against North Carolina State. … The 22-year-old had the fifth-best time of any wide receiver in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine as he finished the run in 4.42 seconds. … During the 2012 season, Bryant had 10 receptions for 305 yards and four touchdowns, but he missed two games because of a groin injury and was academically ineligible for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. … During his first season with Clemson, Bryant played in all 14 games and started two, totaling nine receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns.

Related articles:

The Post and Courier: The Maturation of Martavis Bryant: Clemson wide receiver is a student, an athlete and a father

The State: Mayock: ‘Gifted’ Martavis Bryant a potential second-round pick

Video: Here is a video highlighting Bryant’s career at Clemson.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Martavis Bryant,
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