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Report: Patriots host draft prospect Jake Locker

04.12.11 at 2:09 pm ET
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According to an ESPN report, the Patriots are hosting University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker for a two-day visit starting Tuesday. Locker, who passed for 2,265 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, is projected to go in the mid- to late first round of the draft later this month. The Patriots have the 17th and 28th overall picks.

Tom Brady‘s backup in 2010 was Brian Hoyer, who was signed as an undrafted free agent from Michigan State in 2009.

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2011 preseason schedule will be announced Tuesday afternoon

04.12.11 at 1:45 pm ET
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On the heels of a Tweet from Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay, it was confirmed that, despite the labor unceratinity surrounding the NFL, the 2011 preseason schedule will be released at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Gregg Rosenthal of later confirmed the news, and added that the league will also be announcing the TV schedule for nationally-televised games.

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Vote: Who was the best third-round pick in Patriots history?

04.12.11 at 12:57 am ET
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With the NFL draft on the horizon, we’€™re going to look back at the Patriots’€™ best draft picks by round, with the four best selections the franchise has made in each round. We’€™ve already put the best of the eighth through the fourth round in the spotlight. Now, we’€™ve got the best of the third round, a group that includes a pair of undeniable impact players that will likely make this a two-team race. Vote for your favorite:

Tedy Bruschi: 1996, 86th overall. This undersized defensive lineman out of Arizona made the switch to linebacker when he arrived in New England, and became a defensive stalwart with the Patriots. A Pro Bowler, he was part of five AFC Champions and three Super Bowl champions, and averaged more than 50 tackles a season over the course of his career. But even more than his on-field numbers, his attitude and intensity made him one of the most popular players in the history of New England sports ‘€” in 13 seasons in New England, he became one of the players most identified with the success of the Patriots.

Curtis Martin: 1995, 74th overall. Martin, a product of Pitt, only spent three seasons in New England, but ended up as one of the most prolific backs in franchise history, finishing with 3,799 rushing yards (fourth-best in team history). He still holds the franchise marks for most rushing attempts in a season (368), most rushing attempts in a game (40) and most rushing touchdowns in a season (14) and a game (three). In 11 seasons with the Patriots and Jets, Martin accrued 14,101 career rushing yards, good for a place in the Top 10 in NFL history. (Rather surprisingly, last year he was the first of the NFL’€™s Top 10 career rushers not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot.)

Clayton Weishuhn: 1982, 60th overall. The Angelo State product was part of a brilliant coterie of New England linebackers in the early 1980s that included Andre Tippett and Steve Nelson. Weishuhn, an inside linebacker, played five seasons with the Patriots, and finished with a team-record 229 tackles in 1983.

Carl Garrett: 1969, 58th overall. A running back out of New Mexico Highlands, Garrett played four years with the Boston/New England Patriots and had 2,235 rushing yards in his time in New England. (A versatile offensive option, he also had 107 catches for 1,158 receiving yards with the Patriots as well.) A Pro Bowler, he also worked as a return man, finishing his rookie season with a 28.3 average on kick returns.

Just missing the cut: Ellis Hobbs (2005, 84th overall); Kevin Turner (1992, 71st overall); Marv Cook (1989, 63rd overall); Robert Perryman (1987, 79th overall); Stephen Starring (1983, 74th overall); Steve McMichael (1980, 73rd).

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Carl Garrett, Clayton Weishuhn, Curtis Martin

Fred Taylor: I’m ‘basically retired’ from pro football

04.11.11 at 2:19 pm ET
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Running back Fred Taylor, who was with the Patriots the last two seasons, told the Gainesville Sun on Monday that he’s “basically retired” from football.

The 35-year-old Taylor struggled to stay healthy in his two seasons with New England, as he was hobbled by a series of injuries that forced him to miss 19 of 32 regular-season games while with the Patriots. In two years in New England, Taylor has 106 carries for 424 yards and two touchdowns.

In 13 seasons, the Florida product has compiled some truly amazing numbers, with 2,534 carries (21st on the all-time list) and 11,695 yards (15th all-time). The Pro Bowler also average 4.6 yards per carry in his NFL career.

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Tom Brady recalls his long wait on draft day

04.11.11 at 11:09 am ET
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In an excerpt from the upcoming ESPN special “The Brady 6,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady looks back on the long wait before being selected 199th overall by New England in 2000.

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Vote: Who was the best fourth-round pick in Patriots history?

04.11.11 at 12:26 am ET
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With the NFL draft on the horizon, we’€™re going to look back at the Patriots’€™ best draft picks by round, with the four best selections the franchise has made in each round. We’€™ve already put the eighth, seventh, sixth and fifth rounders under the microscope. Today, we’€™ve got the fourth rounders, a group that includes three impact players and another that went on to bigger and better things with another franchise. In all, nine Pro Bowl appearances and an MVP award highlight this group. Vote for your favorite:

Aaron Hernandez: 2010, 113th overall. Listed as a tight end but playing more like a wide receiver, this rookie was a matchup nightmare in his first season in the NFL. A Florida product, he ended the 2010 season with 45 catches for 563 yards and six touchdowns. He was occasionally overshadowed by his fellow rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski, but Hernandez made a tremendous impact in his first full season in the league, and figures to have an even bigger role in the offense going forward.

Stephen Gostkowski: 2006, 118th overall. Charged with unenviable prospect of replacing the legendary Adam Vinatieri, the Memphis product has become one of the best young kickers in the NFL, reaching the Pro Bowl in 2008 and notching first-team All-Pro status to boot. Gostkowski has hit 113-of-134 career field goal attempts, and his 84.3 percent accuracy rate is the highest in Patriots history and sixth-best in NFL history.

Asante Samuel: 2003, 120th overall. The Central Florida product saw plenty of action his first two seasons, but became a full-time starter in 2005 and soon evolved into one of the most feared corners in the league, picking off a combined 16 passes in 2007 and 2008. However, his lasting legacy with the Patriots may be the way things ended for him in New England ‘€” a potential game-ending interception at the end of Super Bowl XLII went through his hands. And in the following offseason, hours into free agency, he signed a big deal with the Eagles. (As a side note, it’€™s hard to believe that Dan Klecko was taken three spots in front of Samuel at No. 117.)

Rich Gannon: 1987, 98th overall. The Delaware product was selected by the Patriots in 1987. But after a conversation with coaches who said he might work out better at a different position, he made it clear in no uncertain terms he was not interested in doing anything other than playing quarterback. That led to a trade to Minnesota just days after the draft. Gannon’€™s faith in himself would be well-founded ‘€” he played 17 seasons in the NFL and ended up passing for 28,743 yards. A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, he was the NFL MVP in 2002.

Just missing the cut: Jarvis Green, (2002, 126th overall); Scott Zolak (1991, 84th overall); Johnny Rembert (1983, 101st overall); Don Blackmon (1981, 102nd overall).

Vote: Who was the best fourth-round pick in Patriots history?

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Aaron Hernandez, Asante Samuel, Rich Gannon

Vote: Who was the best fifth-round pick in Patriots history?

04.08.11 at 4:54 pm ET
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With the NFL draft on the horizon, we’€™re going to look back at the Patriots’€™ best draft picks by round. We’€™ve already put the eighth, seventh and six round under the microscope. Today, we’€™ve got the fifth rounders ‘€” a surprising group that doesn’€™t have any Hall of Famers, but is still a talented cast that can boast of seven Pro Bowl appearances between them. Vote for your favorite:

Ben Coates: 1991, 124th overall. Selected out of tiny Livingstone College, Coates went on to become one of the great tight ends in franchise history, becoming a favorite target of Drew Bledsoe throughout the 1990s ‘€” in 1996, he set the NFL’€™s single-season reception record for a tight end with 96. He ended his career ranked in the Top 10 all time among tight ends in receptions (499), yards (5,555) and touchdowns (50).

Fred Marion: 1982, 112th overall. A Miami product who would go on to play 144 games in 10 years with the Patriots, Marion reached the Pro Bowl in 1985 after a season where he picked off a career-best seven passes for 189 yards. (He finished with 29 interceptions for his career.) He was voted to the Patriots’€™ 50th anniversary all-time team as a safety alongside Rodney Harrison.

Steve Grogan: 1975, 116th overall. Grogan was initially drafted out Kansas State as a backup to Jim Plunkett, but he ended up taking the full-time starters’€™ job in his second season and ended up spending a franchise-record 16 seasons with the Patriots, finishing his career as the Patriots all-time career-passing leader with 26,886 yards. A face of the franchise for so many seasons, Grogan held the franchise record until 2007 with 182 career touchdown passes.

Dan Koppen: 2003, 164th overall. The Boston College product stepped in midway through his rookie year for an injured Damien Woody and was immediately part of back-to-back Super Bowl teams. Koppen has started 119 of 120 games for the Patriots over eight seasons with the club, and was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2007.

Who is the best fifth-round draft pick in Patriots' history?

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Ben Coates, Dan Koppen, Fred Marion
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