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Mock Draft, Take 6: Could Robert Quinn go first overall?

03.21.11 at 12:14 am ET
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We’€™ve got a new No. 1 pick in the latest edition of the WEEI.com mock draft, and it wouldn’€™t be surprising to see it continue to change as we get closer. That’s generally the kind of madness that occurs when there isn’t a quarterback worthy of the top pick in a given year. Last year, it was only a matter of time before people realized Sam Bradford should have been the first overall pick. This year, there isn’t that simple solution, as Blaine Gabbert is very good, but not special.

Meanwhile, two of the Patriots’€™ first three picks are different from the last edition, and Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo is moving up.

1. Carolina (2-14) Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina Da’€™Quan Bowers was hanging on by a thread to the top spot, and with word emerging that teams are concerned with his knee, he drops out of this position for the first time. Some have Cam Newton going in this spot, but I don’€™t buy it. The last time the Panthers were in this situation was 2002. They had to choose between a quarterback who was not a slam-dunk (Joey Harrington) and a star pass-rusher (Julius Peppers). Marty Hurney and the Panthers chose correctly last time, and they would be correct to go with the pass-rusher (who just so happens to be a local guy) this time.

2. Denver (4-12) Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU If you can come out of a draft with the best player, it’€™s not a bad thing at all. That’€™s exactly what will happen for the Broncos if they opt to grab Peterson. He would start alongside Champ Bailey immediately, and take over as the No. 1 when the 32-year-old (he’€™ll be 33 at the start of next season) decides to retire. Given his talent, it wouldn’€™t be surprising it all to see Peterson have as big an impact as Bailey has had over the course of his career.

3. Buffalo (4-12) Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Not to ogle a linebacker’€™s 40 time, but a sub-4.5 40 at Miller’€™s Pro Day only confirms that the Butkus Award winner can get to the quarterback in a hurry. Miller’€™s addition would give the Bills a type of exciting player on defense that they simply don’€™t have. The only question is his size, but he hasn’€™t been stopped in the past. With the Bills planning on being scheme diverse this season, Miller should be able to fit in both the 3-4 and 4-3.

4. Cincinnati (4-12) Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri Perhaps ignored in the midst of the whole Cam Newton debate is how good Gabbert actually is. He is by no means a top-tier quarterback, but he is the only signal-caller in this draft that seems a safe bet to be a solid starter in the league throughout his career. In a quarterback class this weak, that goes a long way. Carson Palmer apparently means business with his demand to be moved, so if the Bengals end having to do so once a new CBA is in place, it makes sense to grab a quarterback here.

5. Arizona (5-11) Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama There isn’€™t much not to like about Dareus, but because he’€™s clearly this draft’€™s best five-technique prospect, he might be a better choice for a 3-4 team. Some like him to go as high as No. 1 overall, but since Ron Rivera is sticking with a 4-3 defense, Quinn makes more sense for the Panthers than Dareus if they want an end. That being said, the Cardinals would have to be ecstatic to see Dareus available at No. 5.

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, A.J. Green, Aaron Williams, Aldon Smith

Robert Kraft will not attend NFL’s annual meetings

03.21.11 at 12:10 am ET
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Robert Kraft will not attend the NFL’s annual meetings this week in New Orleans.

The Patriots’ owner will miss the meetings ‘€œdue to a private family medical matter,’€ according to a team release. Club president Jonathan Kraft and Bill Belichick will both be in New Orleans this week.

Robert Kraft is viewed as one of the most influential owners in the NFL. He is a member of five committees — including the Management Council Executive Committee — and is considered a key voice in the ongoing labor negotiations with the NFLPA.

The Big Board: Updated list of Patriots’ private workouts

03.20.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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Here’€™s an updated list of players who have had or will have private workouts or meetings with the Patriots. This is by no means a complete list ‘€” simply a rundown of those we have independently verified:

Offense
Hillsdale wide receiver Andre Holmes
Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey
Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith
Kentucky wide receiver Chris Matthews
Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams
Nevada tight end Virgil Green
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton
TCU wide receiver Jeremy Kerley

Defense
Citadel defensive back Cortez Allen
Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey
Northwestern defensive lineman Corbin Bryant
Missouri defensive back Kevin Rutland

In addition, it’€™s been reported by multiple outlets the following players will have or have had private workouts or meetings with the Patriots:

Offense
Connecticut running back Jordan Todman (via National Football Post)
Mount Union wide receiver Cecil Shorts (via NEPatriotsDraft.com)
Montana State offensive lineman Mike Person (via Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts (via SI.com)
Maryland running back Da’€™Rel Scott (via SI.com)
Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb (via SI.com)
Kentucky running back Derrick Locke (via SI.com)

Defense
Maryland linebacker Adrien Moten (via National Football Post)
Fresno State defensive back Desia Dunn (via Fresnostate.scout.com)
Louisville defensive back Johnny Patrick (via ESPNBoston)

(UPDATE, Sunday at 4:20 p.m.: Temple defensive back Jaiquawn Jarrett also has a workout scheduled with the Patriots, according to the National Football Post.)

And here’€™s the Pro Day schedule for the next few days:
March 21: Abilene Christian, Iowa.
March 22: Georgia, Iowa State, Mississippi, Nevada.
March 23: Arizona State, Boston College, Central Florida, Connecticut, East Carolina, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Tennessee-Chattanooga.
March 24: Boise State, Fort Hays State, San Diego State, South Florida.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft,

Matt Light says he’s disappointed in Robert Kraft for missing final days of negotiations

03.20.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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Patriots left tackle Matt Light said he was disappointed that owner Robert Kraft was not present in the final hours of collective bargaining last week between the NFL players and owners.

‘€œNo doubt, 100 percent,’€ Light said when asked by Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe. ‘€œI’€™m not going to lie to you.’€

Kraft, who was on a previously planned trade mission to Israel with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, did get updates over the phone, but that didn’€™t prevent some members of the players’€™ association from expressing disappointment that one of the most powerful men in the NFL wasn’€™t there during such a crucial stage of the negotiations.

‘€œLook, again, like [Mike] Vrabel stated, like everyone else has said, we had people in that room that could get a deal done at any point. Do I know how they’€™re structured within the league? No, I have no clue.

‘€œBut I can tell you one thing: they [league negotiators] didn’€™t seem to have the ability to do any of that when they had to the leave the room, make a phone call, you guys representing the league. If it was men, I was in that model, I would have every one of my guys in those seats making sure that we had one voice and we could get a deal done,’€ Light said.

Read More: Deval Patrick, lockout, Matt Light, Mike Vrabel

Report: Patriots work out Louisville CB Johnny Patrick

03.19.11 at 3:33 pm ET
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The Patriots held a private workout Saturday morning with Louisville cornerback Johnny Patrick, according to ESPN.com. There may be character concerns with Patrick, as he was charged with assault after allegedly throwing his girlfriend to the ground last year, but he is considered a second-to-mid-round pick in April’s draft.

Patrick had five interceptions as a senior and totaled nine over his four-year career at Lousville. He stands 5-foot-10 5/8 and weighed in at 181 pounds at the combine last month. He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Johnny Patrick,

Mizzou DB Kevin Rutland says he has a private workout with Patriots next week

03.18.11 at 7:24 pm ET
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Missouri defensive back Kevin Rutland has a private workout with the Patriots scheduled for next Wednesday.

Rutland, who told The Telegraph about the upcoming workout on Thursday, is a 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back who ran a 4.46 40 at Missouri’€™s Pro Day this past week under the watchful eye of several teams, including the Patriots.

Rutland was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention as a senior, where he finished with a team-high three interceptions and four sacks. He started all 13 games in 2010 and finished the season with 44 tackles (34 solo), four tackles for loss and seven passes broken up. At the combine last month, Rutland posted a 4.58 in the 40, hit 12 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press and posted a 6.92 in the 3-cone drill.

On Thursday, Rutland said he was ‘€œa lot more comfortable’€ inside Missouri’€™s Devine Pavilion than he was the combine in Indy, and wasn’€™t in awe of some of the coaches like he was in Indianapolis because he had already met them.

‘€œI’€™ve been in this facility for five years, so I enjoyed this time,’€ Rutland told reporters. ‘€œBeing back home doesn’€™t bother you. It’€™s a lot easier.’€

NFL.com has a highlight video of his work last month at the combine ‘€” check it out here.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Kevin Rutland,

Sources: Patriots expressing serious interest in USF DT Terrell McClain

03.18.11 at 2:42 pm ET
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Two league sources confirm the Patriots have expressed serious interest in defensive tackle Terrell McClain, a 6-foot-2, 297-pounder out of South Florida. McClain, who was first-team All-BIG EAST as a senior, started 24 games over his final two seasons as a collegian, and finished his college career with 7.5 sacks.

Known as a penetrating defensive tackle with some positional versatility, he had a great performance at the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, where he was considered one of the game’€™s better defensive line prospects. (Some believe it was his performance at this game that led to a late invite to the Senior Bowl.) Considered a mid- to late-round selection, McClain has posted a 40 time of 4.98 and 29 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.

‘€œWhen you look at him physically, I think probably measurable-wise [McClain’€™s] one of our best draft candidates,’€ USF coach Skip Holtz told Tampabay.com late in the 2010 season. ‘€œWhen you look at his height, weight, speed, athleticism, the level of play he’€™s playing at, I think he’€™s doing a great job. I think Terrell has such great athleticism up front, with what he’€™s able to do moving around, creating some havoc and getting penetration ‘€¦ as I sit down and watch him, I think he’€™s the complete package.’€

South Florida’s Pro Day is scheduled for March 24.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Skip Holtz, Terrell McClain,
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