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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Georgia CB Sanders Commings

03.02.13 at 8:35 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Cornerback

School: Georgia

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 216 pounds

Achievements: Preseason All-SEC third team (coaches)

What he brings: Commings has good size and agility. As a former outfielder who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks (37th round, 2008), Commings also has great hands, helping him force turnovers and pass deflections. He is very physical with receivers and is a good special teams player. He has a lean, athletic upper body and loose hips. Commings sneaks peeks at the quarterback throughout the route and has good body control to turn quickly, locate the football and make a play on it. He is good at fighting through blocks to keep his containment responsibilities and make tackles.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 3 or later

Notes: In 2011, Commings started all 14 games, making 55 tackles and recording a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. He had 51 tackles and three interceptions in 12 games in 2012. He missed the first two games of his senior season in 2012 due to a suspension, resulting from a domestic violence charge.

Related Articles: Sanders Commings arrested for domestic violence charge

Athens Banner-Herald: Sanders Commings has big SEC championship game vs. Alabama

Video: Here’s a good look at Commings in action vs. Alabama in 2012.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Sanders Commings,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson

03.01.13 at 4:27 pm ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Defensive tackle

School: Missouri

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 295 pounds

Achievements: All-SEC first team (media), first-ever All-SEC designee from Mizzou, led all SEC interior linemen with 75 tackles

What he brings: Richardson is described as agile for his size, and his athleticism combined with his length have impressed scouts. His first step off the snap is quick, and he’s been praised for his ability to adjust to different screening and blocking plays. He’s proven his strengths as a defensive player in pursuit, but some are concerned about his ability to bring down ball-carriers in space and produce sacks. There also are some concerns about injuries, as he had shoulder surgery after the 2011 season and redshirted the 2010 season due to a wrist injury. He played in junior college instead of going straight to Missouri for academic reasons and was suspended for a game during the 2012 season for a violation of team rules, believed to be academic.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: After playing at the College of the Sequoias in California and establishing himself as one of the top junior college prospects in the nation, Richardson decided to return to his native Missouri, choosing Mizzou over more prominent programs, including USC, Miami and other SEC schools.

Related articles: St. Louis Post-Dispatch: NFL is next stop for Sheldon Richardson

Yahoo! Sports: Missouri DE Sheldon Richardson has some choice words about Georgia’s style of play

Fox Sports Midwest: NFL scouts gushing over Mizzou’s Richardson

Video: Here’s Richardson against South Carolina in 2012.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Sheldon Richardson,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: West Virginia WR Tavon Austin

03.01.13 at 12:25 pm ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Wide receiver

School: West Virginia

Height: 5-foot-8

Weight: 174 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Paul Hornung Award Winner (most versatile player), 2012 All-America first team (all-purpose player), tied for second in FBS in receptions (114) and all-purpose yards (230 per game) in 2012

What he brings: If Austin falls to the Patriots, he has the potential to be an absolute demon in their offense. The speedster, who NFL Network’€™s Marshall Faulk referred to as ‘€œPercy Harvin and Wes Welker wrapped into one,’€ enters the draft coming out of one of college football’€™s premiere spread offenses and has everything NFL teams are looking for — except prototypical height, something that will lead some teams to balk at him early in the draft.

However, NFL teams have seen enough players like Carolina’€™s Steve Smith, Philadelphia’€™s DeSean Jackson and Welker providing great examples players 5-foot-10 or under that are worth a look in the first round. Add to that Austin’€™s abilities in the return game, and you have exactly what the Patriots have been looking for in one player — again, except for size.

Austin has been vocal about how Welker’€™s play has inspired him as a player so much that he models much of his game after his and has watched hours of tape on him. However, the West Virginia product is faster — much faster — clocking in with a 4.34-second 40 time at the scouting combine.

What Austin lacks in size, he definitely makes up in confidence, claiming that was “the all-around best player in the draft” during the combine. He also has shown that he can take the hits for a player his size, never missing a game during his time at West Virginia.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: It’€™s important to really understand what Austin’€™s height limits, which is his ability to go vertical down the sideline, battle for jump balls, beat press coverage and block larger opponents. What it does not affect is his versatility, which was on display during his historic performance against then-No. 12 Oklahoma this past season.

When injuries left the Mountaineers depleted at running back, Austin filled the role. Initially recruited as a running back before settling into his role as a receiver, Austin racked up 344 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the night. He added 82 receiving yards and 146 kick return yards to give him a total of 572 all purpose yards, which is the second most in NCAA history.

Austin blew away scouts on Sunday with his 40-yard dash. However, he did not participate in the 3-cone drill, in which he was expected to have a stellar performance. While the Patriots are known to put great emphasis on that particular drill, they still can use Austin’s pro day and hours of tape to establish whether his agility is as good as advertised.

Related articles: Charleston Daily Mail: WVU’s Austin a triple threat as WR, returner Tavon Austin, Marquise Goodwin, revive NFL tweener questions Mike Mayock: Tavon Austin is a ‘matchup nightmare’

CBS Sports: Tavon Austin: Despite his size, he will be an NFL star

Video: Here’s a compilation of highlights from Austin’s senior season at West Virginia.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Tavon Austin, Wes Welker

Heath Evans on M&M: ‘Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth’

02.28.13 at 1:21 pm ET
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NFL Network analyst Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to defend Tom Brady against critics of the quarterback’s new contract and call out Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for being “an absolute fool” in his latest attack on the Patriots.

Brady generally has received high praise for his restructured contract, although there is a faction that is critical of him for setting the contractual bar lower. Some Boston media members sounded off on Brady on a local TV show Wednesday.

Said Evans: “There’s two parts of the media I never want to be equated with. One, I don’t know what I’m talking about, which those people don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t know who they are, but you can tell them they can call me and apologize any time they want for not knowing what they’re talking about.

“And then two, the idea that they actually think this is going to affect other people’s contracts. Here’s the thought: In 2015 our cap changes. The cap is going to increase $20 million a year. So if Tom is still playing lights-out football like I expect he will be, he’s going to go right back to the table and get a whole bunch more guaranteed money. He’s not affecting his overall purse very much as long as he’s still playing well, which — we’re betting on Tom Brady, he’s going to be here.

“They make news out of nothing. This isn’t news. This is one of probably the greatest quarterbacks of all-time saying, ‘Hey, I want to put myself in a position in my twilight years to win another ring or two, or at least get back to the big dance and have a chance.’ That’s exactly what he did. We should applaud Brady for what he’s doing.”

Added Evans: “It’s stupid media, and I don’t ever want to be a part of that.”

Suggs, the Ravens veteran who blasted the Patriots after the AFC championship game, joined The Big Show on Wednesday and insisted “the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots” due to their arrogance. Evans, who played fullback for the Patriots from 2005 until 2008, dismissed Suggs’ comments.

“He’s an absolute fool. He is,” Evans said. “Maybe he’s one of the best pass-rushers that we’ve seen in a long time, but he’s a fool if doesn’t believe that [teams respect the Patriots]. For me, I say things that I believe in. ‘€¦ I just speak the truth. And the truth is, people are scared to death when they step on the field to face Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, a healthy [Rob] Gronkowski, a healthy Aaron Hernandez, defensively Jerod Mayo is one of the best middle linebackers in this game, Vince Wilfork, there is no match for him.

“Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth. Are you a heck of a player? Absolutely, an amazing player. But give me a break. I watch this film, I watch how people move and react according to what the Patriots do. I watch this whole league sit back and try to copy them. Heck, [Ravens tight ends] Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta is a formula of what New England is trying to do.

“So, give me a break. Don’t just get on airways and speak nonsense. Watch game tape, know this game inside and out, and then speak your opinion based on facts that are truly evident to everyone across this business, that knows this business inside and out. When people come out speaking that nonsense, it screams of insecurity. It screams of the fact that, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we actually beat them again, somehow we got lucky and actually did it, and whoo-hoo, and now we’ve got a Super Bowl ring.’ That’s what it says to me.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Read More: Bill Belichick, Heath Evans, Terrell Suggs, Tom Brady

Post-combine Mock Draft: Offensive linemen dominate top 10

02.28.13 at 9:20 am ET
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With the annual scouting combine in the books for 2013, it’s time to take another look at the overall landscape of the first round.

The overall takeaway from Indianapolis is that this is a draft that’s all about offensive linemen, boasting depth at tackle and featuring two blue-chip guard prospects. None of the tackles may be Joe Thomas, but there are enough of them that any team in need of someone to protect its quarterback’s blind side should have options.

One team need changed at the top, as the Chiefs don’t even have to think about reaching for Geno Smith after trading for Alex Smith.

1. Chiefs (2-14) — Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
I don’€™t project trading of picks in mock drafts, but I’€™ve never wanted to more in my life. Now that the Chiefs have addressed the quarterback position with their second-round pick, they should re-sign Branden Albert, trade down and fill another need. Left tackle isn’€™t a big need, and letting Albert walk just so they can draft another good left tackle to replace him wouldn’€™t provide them with much organizational progress.

2. Jaguars (2-14) — Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
A lot of folks think that Dee Milliner could be the pick here. Yes, he ran well at the combine, but Milliner as a top-five pick, let along a top-two pick, is a bit of a stretch. The Jaguars need sacks almost as much as they need a quarterback, so Jones is the better fit.

3. Raiders (4-12) — Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
This might be a tad high for Floyd, but he helped his stock immensely at the combine and could now be the first defensive lineman selected in what is a very deep class at the position. Both Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant are free agents, the latter of whom was arrested over the weekend.

4. Eagles (4-12) — Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Mike Mayock says that Fisher has closed the gap between he and Joeckel considerably, so there’€™s a chance that the Central Michigan product won’€™t even be on the board by the time this selection is made. If teams trade up with teams not from Kansas City, he would likely be their target.

5. Lions (4-12) — Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions would have a really tough decision to make if this scenario were to arise: Do they add a potential star corner and address what is seemingly always an area of need, or do they grab a defensive end to replace the aging Kyle Vanden Bosch? Both Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril are free agents.   Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 combine, 2013 NFL draft, Geno Smith, Lane Johnson

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah

02.28.13 at 8:30 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Defensive end

School: BYU

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 274 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Pro Football Weekly All-America honorable mention, 2012 Phil Steele FBS All-Independent first team

What he brings: Ansah, who just starting playing football three years ago at BYU, is a raw, athletic specimen who is all upside for whatever team chooses to grab him in the first round. It’€™s for this reason that many analysts are making strong comparisons between Ansah and South Florida product/Giants starter Jason Pierre-Paul — that and the fact that the two have nearly identical builds.

Like JPP, Ansah enters the draft as a defensive end prospect who will require a great deal of molding from NFL coaches to produce an elite talent. However, there’€™s are a great deal of physical skills to work with when it comes to Ansah, who lined up everywhere from nose tackle in a light three-man front to rush linebacker all across the 3-4 during his time with the Cougars.

The speed, power, instincts, work ethic and motor are all there for Ansah. This is a guy who ran a 21.9-second 200-meter dash. What teams need to see from him before calling his name in the draft, though, is an improvement in footwork, better pass-rushing technique and the ability to not get lost when facing NFL offenses.

Don’€™t start getting the wrong idea, Ansah is not just a sack artist. In fact, he only tallied 4.5 sacks his senior season. Instead, Ansah’€™s talents were mostly on display in his 13 tackles for loss, evidence of his ability to penetrate into opposing backfields and wreak havoc. Another element Ansah brings for NFL teams is the ability to knock down passes (he broke up nine passes his senior season), an asset that’€™s become more in vogue for NFL teams as of late thanks to J.J. Watt.

Ansah also is fantastic in space, showing great quickness and agility to adjust to what offenses throw at him, especially when it comes to stopping screens. This will be a great asset for teams, especially when he learns enough of the game to get himself in the right position to stop plays rather than trying to catch up.

Finally, Ansah also brings great versatility on special teams — which is how the Ghana native worked his way into a starting role on the team — something that Bill Belichick is known to value highly, even drafting in the first round (See: McCourty, Devin).

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1 (likely through trading up)

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, BYU, Ezekiel Ansah

Terrell Suggs: ‘I guarantee the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots’

02.27.13 at 4:34 pm ET
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Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs joined The Big Show on Wednesday, discussing his frustration with the Patriots and explaining why he called them “the most arrogant pricks in the world” after Baltimore defeated New England in the AFC championship game.

“Do I apologize for what I said? No. Do I mean what I said? Yeah,” Suggs said. “Could I have worded it a little better? Probably, but the fact of the matter is you can’t really consider it a rivalry because you have a few more championships than we do, but this has been steaming for a while.”

Suggs pointed to the way Patriots players behaved when the teams met in the 2007 season as why he doesn’t like them, adding that the league bent over backward to accommodate Tom Brady after his season-ending injury in 2008.

“There was the whole invention of the Brady rule,” he said. “Years before, I hit Drew Brees and I accidentally tore his knee up. No rule was made. Of all the quarterbacks in the NFL who got their knees blown out when they got hit — Carson Palmer got his knee blown out — but then one guy got hit and changed the whole rule for the NFL?”

Suggs said that he doesn’t feel the Patriots “respect anybody,” and that he “guarantees the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots.”

He also added that players who have played in New England share stories of what’s wrong with the organization, though he wouldn’t specify.

“The NFL is not very big,” he said. “You think we don’t talk to guys that have played for the New England Patriots, that have been on the New England Patriots that have been like, ‘Oh, it’s been like this.’

“It ain’t just me. Why did Bart Scott say the same thing? You think it’s just us? You think it’s just got something to do with us? No. This is because we have inside information. We know.”

For more on the Patriots, visit

Read More: Terrell Suggs, Tom Brady,
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