|02.23.13 at 1:46 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Bill Polian said this draft is well-stocked for a team looking to make additions at three different positions: offensive line, linebacker and safeties.
“This draft is a draft that I think is pretty good on the offensive line — I mean, throughout. Not just the first round. It’s pretty good on the offensive line,” said the former Colts GM at the scouting combine on Saturday afternoon. “I think there are some pretty good linebackers. I think there are some really good safeties. You probably would lean toward defense if you drew a line and said which side of the line this draft is heaviest on.”
Polian, who now works as an analyst for ESPN, said that while he’s not sure which direction the Patriots will go this year, he was impressed by what they did last spring when it came to restocking their defense with first-round picks Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower.
“I’m not sure which direction they’d go — they make that decision,” Polian said of New England, which holds the 29th overall pick in the draft. “They’ve done it well, making great use of all their picks — their multiple picks — to shore up the defense recently. They’ll make the right decision.”
|02.23.13 at 9:40 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — … And that’s all that matters, right?
Aside from Te’o, defensive linemen and linebackers will speak Saturday, while offensive linemen, tight ends and special teamers will work out.
|02.22.13 at 7:30 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — The second day of the combine wrapped up Friday evening. Here are some of the highlights:
– A pair of West Virginia speakers met with the media. Tavon Austin (who is obsessed with Wes Welker) is the name that Pats fans want to hear called in the first round, but why not take his more productive teammate later in the draft in Stedman Bailey?
– Speaking of wide receivers, Da’Rick Rogers is a really interesting prospect. Talent and size-wise, he’s been compared to Julio Jones, but he had to transfer from Tennessee after testing positive for marijuana for a third straight year. He was honest with the media Friday, and he might be worth the risk in the third round if he’s available.
– The Patriots met with Virginia tackle Oday Aboushi on Friday. Aboushi originally committed to Boston College but decommitted after Jeff Jagozinsky was fired.
– Many of the quarterbacks in this rather shallow QB class spoke Friday, with Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib and Landry Jones among those to talk.
‘It’s definitely a wide-open year,’ Jones said. ‘There’s a lot of guys with a lot of talent. The further we get into this process, I think there’s going to be a guy that’s going to be coming up, and there’s going to be somebody that puts himself ahead, and I think it’s the guy that’s going to work the hardest and the guy who wants it more.”
– Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is set to meet with the media Saturday. That should be interesting.
|02.22.13 at 5:19 pm ET|
Rob Gronkowski, who has had an eventful offseason, won’t be working the Oscars after all. According to ESPN.com, the Patriots tight end has been replaced by Ravens safety Ed Reed as the special “red carpet correspondent” for the “Rich Eisen Podcast.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|02.22.13 at 4:06 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Tavon Austin is getting a lot of attention in the pre-draft process, and rightfully so, but Pats fans shouldn’t be too quick to overlook another West Virginia receiver.
Stedman Bailey‘s measurables don’t jump off the chart — he measured in at 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds — and while he’s taller than Austin, he doesn’t come close to being as fast, yet Bailey has been dominant in college. He led the nation with 25 receiving touchdowns last season and hauled in 114 passes for 1,622 yards last season.
While Austin currently projects to go in the first or second round, Stedman figures to be more of a mid-round guy. He sees himself as versatile when it comes to potentially being used in the slot or on the outside, so while Austin is the flashier option to potentially replace Wes Welker, don’t sleep on Bailey, who can be had later and potentially bring his big numbers to New England.
“Sted is definitely an underrated player,” Austin said Friday of his teammate, “and I think he should be higher than [where he is].”
As for why he’s flying under the radar, Stedman says he feels it’s “definitely” because of his measurables.
“From what I hear, time and time again, ‘He’s only 5-foot-10 and he probably won’t be able to that type of stuff in the NFL against bigger corners’ and stuff like that,” he said. “I feel like if I was 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-2, anywhere over 6-foot, with the numbers I put up I would probably be the No. 1 receiver (in the draft) but that’s not the case. It’s something I can’t control, so I just go with the flow.”
Considering he plays a position that’s been known to have its fair share of divas, Stedman seems more focused on performing well than getting the attention he deserves. He said he plays with a “dog” in him, but he doesn’t mind flying under the radar with fans and the media as long as NFL understand what he has to offer.
“I feel like I deserve the credit that’s due, but there’s a lot of things that I can’t control,” he said. “I don’t boast about it, or I don’t try to argue with anybody about it. I feel like my film work should speak for itself. I put up a lot of good numbers in college, broke a lot of records at West Virginia. If I was anywhere two inches taller, I’d probably be the No. 1 receiver in this draft, but that’s not the case.”
|02.22.13 at 3:42 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Rams GM Les Snead indicated Friday that St. Louis wasn’t going to hit wide receiver Danny Amendola with the franchise tag.
While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’d become available as a free agent, it certainly leaves open the possibility the Patriots would at least take a look at the slot receiver if they were unable to reach an agreement with veteran Wes Welker.
(We took a look at Amendola as a free agent possibility for the Patriots here.)
Snead, speaking with NFL.com at the scouting combine, said there were no plans to hit Amendola with the franchise tag, which would be more than $10 million. Amendola, a 5-foot-10, 186-pounder, is a 27-year-old who has had some success as a slot receiver with the Rams over the last three seasons — he had 63 catches in 11 games in 2012 and a career-high 85 catches for 689 yards and three touchdowns in 2010. However, he’s been plagued by a variety of injuries in that time, including heel, foot and clavicle problems, and has missed 20 games over the last two seasons as a result.
|02.22.13 at 3:30 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Virginia offensive tackle Oday Aboushi has gotten the Patriots’ attention, as he said Friday that he met with them “for quite a bit,” but it isn’t the first time he’s been in talks to play in New England.
Aboushi was originally committed to Boston College before then-coach Jeff Jagodzinski was fired. With the program up in the air, Aboushi decomitted and went to Virginia, where he had a successful career as a starting left tackle.
“Their coaching staff when they had that change up, I would call and ask questions and hopefully try to get some answers to see where the program was headed or who was next. That couldn’t be answered for most of the time,” Aboushi said of his decision to decommit. “I didn’t feel like I could get solid answers from the coaching staff or from the personnel that was still there, so I decided to start my recruiting trail again and I wanted to start this journey on a good foot.”
Aboushi measured in at the combine at 6-foot-5 6/8 and 308 pounds. He started his sophomore as a right tackle before moving to left tackle, where he prefers to stay. That might not be what ultimately happens, as many project him to play right tackle or possibly guard at the next level.
He got some guard experience in in his week at the Senior Bowl, and said teams have spoken to him about playing both tackle and guard. Aboushi said there’s “not much of a difference” going from left tackle to right tackle, and that he’d be fine doing it.
One of 10 children to his Palestinian-born parents, Aboushi observes Ramadan, a month of fasting in the Muslim calendar. This year, Ramadan is set to run from July 8 to Aug. 8, but Aboushi insisted it would not interfere with training camps, saying that he would eat if need be.
“It won’t affect training camp at all,” he said. “The point of Ramadan is to be to humble, not to starve yourself or to put yourself in a health risk. Ramadan will be in the summer this year. If two-a-days come around and it’s 110 degrees and obviously it’s not safe to fast, so you’re able to make up the days. It’s not like you do or die by the fast. It’s a very lenient religion. You just make up the days when you have time.”