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Cameron Jordan: ‘The Patriots are a phenomenal team. I feel like they’re one of the good teams in the NFL’

02.26.11 at 1:00 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS ‘€” If Cal defensive lineman Cameron Jordan has already spoken to the Patriots, he’€™s doing a good job disguising it.

It’€™s believed that the engaging Jordan, who held court with the media here at the NFL scouting combine on Saturday morning for nearly 10 minutes, could provide the New England defense with a jolt if the Patriots decide to take him with one of their first two first-round selections. Jordan’€™s versatility and body type ‘€” the 6-foot-4, 287-pounder was a defensive lineman in college who could make the transition to outside linebacker in New England’€™s 3-4 defensive scheme ‘€” could make him awfully attractive to the Patriots at either No. 17 or No. 28. (Several mock drafts have him going to New England at No. 17.)

But if Jordan has already talked with Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England braintrust, he’€™s not telling.

‘€œI’€™ve talked to a plethora of teams, and it’€™s been pleasing just having the experience of talking to them,’€ Jordan said with a knowing smile when asked about the Patriots. ‘€œThe Patriots are a phenomenal team. I feel like they’€™re one of the good teams in the NFL. I’€™d just like to be part of [any] team.’€

Jordan, who said he’€™s ‘€œalways a happy guy ‘€” I usually wear a smile around, 24/7’€ says that he hits a ‘€œswitch’€ on game days.

‘€œIf you see my film, I’m hitting people. I’€™m laying people out,’€ Jordan said with a chuckle. ‘€œActually, there’s sort of a switch because I still have the smile on my face, but it’s all for a different mode. It’ll put the biggest smile on me to hit a quarterback and hear the wind come out of his chest. That just pleases me the most.’€

Jordan appears to have the physique to be either a defensive end or outside linebacker in a 3-4, but would likely have to either gain or shed weight to make that happen at the NFL level.

‘€œIf I’€™m seen more as a three-technique, I have to add some weight. Depending on whether I’€™m a defensive end or not, I might have to add or gain or lose or stay,’€ Jordan said. ‘€œI’€™ve gained weight. I’€™ve been up around 295 at my heaviest, and then I came into college at 265. I’€™ve played through different weights.’€

The son of former Minnesota Vikings tight end Steve Jordan, a six-time Pro Bowler who played collegiately at Brown, Jordan joked Saturday about wanting to ‘€œadvance’€ the family name. He said he plans on doing that by any means necessary.

‘€œMy motto is, ‘€˜Draft me and I’€™ll play anywhere. I don’€™t care where I play. I just want to be on a team. I just want to play football.’€™ That’€™s what I love doing. That’€™s what I hope to continue doing,’€ he said. ‘€œI have shown that I can stand up. I can play the three technique. I can play the five technique. Like I said ‘€” put me anywhere, and I’€™ll play.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cameron Jordan, NFL scouting combine, Steve Jordan

Ryan Kerrigan may be in an odd position for Patriots

02.26.11 at 12:47 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Every year we talk about what the Patriots want in their next pass-rushing outside linebacker. Think Willie McGinest. Six-foot-5, 270 pounds, and if they’re lucky, maybe some of McGinest’s talent, too.

This year’s draft class has plenty of pass-rushers, and good ones that figure to be available when the Patriots are picking at No. 17, 28, and 33. As far as “motor” guys go, look no further than Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan: a beast of a 4-3 defensive end in college who plays a relentless style and forces fumbles.

Kerrigan measured in a just a hair under 6-foot-4 (6-foot-3 7/8) and 267 pounds. He’s got the size, and he’s got the attitude.

Yet in standing two feet from the jacked Kerrigan, he just looked like he was built to play defensive end in a 4-3. Despite his willingness to play outside linebacker in a 3-4, it seems the popular notion that he’s better off in a 4-3 might make sense. The popular line of thinking has been that he’d stick with the position that got him to where is now, though he’s willing to make the switch if the opportunity arises.

“It’s been about even,” Kerrigan said of how he’s been viewed by teams with varying defensive schemes. “Both are looking at me, and whatever a team wants me to play, I’ll play that.”

Kerrigan said he will participate in linebacker drills on Monday, something he’s been preparing for after standing up “very minimally” at Purdue.

“In my training for the combine, I’ve been working on a lot of drops from a 3-4 linebacker standpoint,” he said. “I feel like I’ve really made a lot of strides with that.

“When you’re a 4-3 defensive end, you drop back in pass coverage occasionally, but not too often, whereas a 3-4 linebacker, you drop back quite a bit. I think that would be the biggest adjustment.”

Kerrigan had 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles last season at Purdue.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, NFL scouting combine, Ryan Kerrigan,

Cameron Heyward: ‘I want to leave a legacy of my own’

02.26.11 at 12:25 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Having the NFL in one’s blood never hurts, but for Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, it isn’t everything.

Heyward, a potential first round pick whose abilities could project him to play the five-technique for a team like the Patriots, is the son of running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who played for a number of teams over his career in the late ’80s and the ’90s. He appreciates his father’s experience and any advice he’s been given, but the lineman wants to be more than just the son of a professional.

“I want to leave a legacy of my own,” Heyward said. “I don’t want to live in his shadow, but he was a great player. He’s always in my heart, and I appreciate everything he’s done, but I want to do everything on my own.

“I’m not asking anybody to give me a second look or anything just because my dad was Ironhead, but they all know I have a big head like him.”

Heyward knows that despite playing a totally different position, the mere fact that he’s Ironhead’s son will lead to added pressure at the next level. He said Saturday that he “hopes” that’s the case.

“I want to perform well and wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “If guys are expecting a lot out of me, so be it, because I’m a guy that’s going to produce and give it all I’ve got.”

Heyward, who just got cleared to begin running last week, said he is disappointed that he is not working out working out in Indianapolis, as he is coming off UCL reconstruction. His Pro Day is on March 30.

“It’s getting better,” he said, adding that he’ll be completely “back in three months.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Cameron Heyward, NFL scouting combine,

Big things (and players) on tap for Saturday

02.26.11 at 10:17 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Welcome back to Lucas Oil Stadium, where today promises to be full of big names and guys Patriots fans have been wondering about. Defensive lineman and linebackers are on tap for today, and given the Pats‘ need for an improved pass-rush, there’s a good chance that the answer is in the building Saturday.

In addition to guys the Pats may be looking at, we’ll get to talk to the draft’s top two prospects in Da’Quan Bowers and Nick Fairley. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton did not speak on Friday, so he will go Saturday as well.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, NFL scouting combine,

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy: Tom Brady is ‘a hero of mine’

02.25.11 at 11:27 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS ‘€” While many of the quarterbacks who met the media at the NFL scouting combine on Friday said they wanted to model their game after Aaron Rodgers, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy left no doubt as to his allegiance: He’€™s all about Tom Brady.

‘€œHe’€™s the most fun guy to watch in the league right now,’€ McElroy said of Brady. ‘€œThere’€™s a lot of efficient quarterbacks, but as far as his control, his balance, the way he sets up in the pocket, the way he is so mechanically sound, it really is such a joy to watch. It really is such a joy to watch. He’€™s so fluid. He never gets flustered. Just his subtle movements, all of his subtleties, every little detail is addressed.

‘€œCoach [Nick] Saban would never let me watch another quarterback play. He thinks that’€™s soft or something, but yeah, I obviously have spent time watching Tom Brady. He’€™s a hero of mine and a guy who I would love nothing more than to try to pattern my game off of.’€

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound McElroy won’€™t get a chance to throw this weekend at the NFL scouting combine ‘€” he has a fractured second metacarpal on his throwing hand ‘€” but he certainly has a lot in common with Brady. Projected as a mid-round draft choice, he never put up colossal numbers, but has won in high school, and was a national champion in college as a junior at Alabama. In addition, he was accorded as one of the most accurate passers in college football the last two seasons. (As a senior, he threw just five interceptions on 313 pass attempts. And as a junior, he had a string of 141 pass attempts without an interception.)

The last couple of seasons, the Patriots have been one of a few teams that have operated with two quarterbacks on their active roster, using Brady and backup Brian Hoyer. But McElroy would love to be part of the mix in Foxboro. Would be mind backing up Brady?

‘€œIn a heartbeat, absolutely.’€

Read More: aaron rodgers, Brian Hoyer, Greg McElroy, NFL scouting combine

Speed kills? Torrey Smith thinks Heyward-Bey comparisons are ‘ignorant’

02.25.11 at 11:18 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — A Maryland receiver with blazing speed? Better stay away, right?

That’s what some may be thinking when Torrey Smith inevitably tears it up in the 40-yard-dash here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Former college teammate Darrius Heyward-Bey turned heads two years ago with a 40 time that some timed as being in the high 4.2 range, and though the workout brought him from being a second-round prospect to the seventh overall pick, Heyward-Bey’s production with the Raiders in the NFL has been minimal.

“I feel like Darrius is going to be fine. I feel like it’s ignorant for people to compare two completely different people, too,” he said Friday. “Just because we went to the same school doesn’t mean anything. If he didn’t go to Maryland or I didn’t go to Maryland, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. At the end of the day, we’re two completely different people. I went on a completely different path than he did.”

Though Smith doesn’t like the idea of people his school and speed causing some people to have one opinion on him, he can still understand that the latter will go a long way into a team’s eventual decision to select him.

“I’m pretty sure the NFL is fast, but I can run well,” he said. “My speed will definitely be one of my strengths as I head to the next level.”

Smith could be the third straight Terrapin to steal the show at the scouting combine. After Heyward-Bey turned heads in 2009, tackle Bruce Campbell ran a 4.78 40, the best ever by an offensive lineman.

“I have my own personal goals for the 40. I want to be mentioned with Darrius and Bruce,” Smith said. “I have my goals.”

—-

Sure, he can catch the ball and return kicks, but Smith can also dunk. Check out the video below.

“I can do a few different dunks,” he said. “I don’t get too crazy. You’ve got to worry about falling now.”

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, NFL scouting combine, Torrey Smith,

Report: Charlie Weis to receive record-setting salary

02.25.11 at 9:26 pm ET
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According to the Palm Beach Post, former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis — who left the same job with the Chiefs after the 2010 season to become offensive coordinator at the University of Florida — will receive the largest salary for an assistant coach in Gators history. Weis will receive a three-year, $2.625 million deal, according to the report, that includes a $100,000 signing bonus, base salaries of $765,000 in 2011 and $865,000 in both 2012 and 2013 and $10,000 per year in bonuses for wearing Nike apparel.

Read More: Charlie Weis, university of florida,
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