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Logan Mankins on Brandon Spikes’ guarantee of wins over Patriots: ‘Spikes being Spikes’

04.17.14 at 12:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Logan Mankins hasn’t spent much of his offseason worrying about Brandon Spikes.

Spikes, who signed with the Bills as a free agent after four seasons in New England, recently predicted a pair of Buffalo wins over the Patriots this season. He also took a shot at New England’s approach to the injury report, hinting that the Patriots aren’t completely truthful when it comes to reporting injuries.

But on Thursday morning, Mankins wasn’t interested in retaliating.

“Everyone has their own opinions and everyone likes to think they know it all,” said Mankins during a break in his offseason workout program while at Gillette Stadium. “It really doesn’t bother me too much. I know what we have here. I know the owner pretty well now over the years and the head coach and those guys care about the team. They care about winning football games. Whatever anyone says, it kind of rolls off our backs. We know what we have here.

“I don’t pay too much attention to the media that much anyways — I’ve only heard guys joking around about what he said. But I think it’s just Brandon being Brandon. He has a pretty good sense of humor, I think — well, I don’t know if it’s good. But he likes to make jokes. I don’t know if he was joking here or being serious. But I think that’s just Spikes being Spikes.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Penn State WR Allen Robinson

04.17.14 at 9:47 am ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Allen Robinson (AP)

Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson set the school record for receptions in a season with 97 in 2013. (AP)

ALLEN ROBINSON

Position: Wide receiver

School: Penn State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: 2013 first-team All-American, 2013, 2012 Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year, 2013, 2012 first-team All-Big Ten (coaches, media), 2013 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist

What he brings: Scouts say that Robinson is faster than people would expect for his size and they also stress that he is a productive player. Robinson is second in Penn State history with 177 career receptions even though he only caught three during his freshman season. Scouts note that he occasionally loses focus, causing him to drop passes.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Robinson had a breakout year in 2012 when he broke the school record for catches with 77 and was named first team All-Big Ten. He then went on to improve on that record by finishing 97 catches for 1,432 yards as a junior in 2013. … The 20-year-old announced that he would leave for the draft the same day as Penn State coach Bill O’€™Brien said he was leaving for the NFL.

Related articles:

PennLive: NFL draft combine 2014: What’s left to prove for Penn State’s Allen Robinson

NFL.com: Penn State WR Allen Robinson declares for 2014 NFL Draft

ESPN: Big Ten postseason player rankings: No. 7

Video: Here is a highlight reel from Robinson’s 2013 season

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Raymond Clayborn on Hall call: ‘Why did it take so long?’

04.16.14 at 9:36 pm ET
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Raymond Clayborn isn’t much for small talk.

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Raymond Clayborn is eager to be recognized for his stellar career. (Patriots)

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Raymond Clayborn is eager to be recognized for his stellar career. (Patriots)

Asked on Wednesday for his reaction to the news that he had been nominated as a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, the former New England cornerback didn’t mince words.

“Why did it take so long?” he replied.

Clayborn could very well have a point. The three-time Pro Bowler played with the Patriots from 1977 through 1989. The first-round pick out of Texas finished his career with a franchise-leading 36 interceptions (tied with Ty Law) for 555 yards for a 15.4 yard per interception average. Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns — as a rookie in 1977, Clayborn returned 28 kickoffs for 869 yards and led the NFL with a 31.0-yard return average and returned three kicks for touchdowns, both of which remain franchise records.

Clayborn, Law and Bill Parcells are this year’s three finalists for the Hall of Fame. (Fans can vote on the finalists for the next month at Patriots.com.)

“I’€™m really honored with the people that I’€™m a finalist with, the two other gentlemen — Bill Parcells and Ty Law,” Clayborn said. “Bill’€™s already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I believe Ty will definitely get there one day himself.”

Clayborn and Law are often linked as the two best corners in franchise history, and are tied atop the franchise list for most career interceptions. While he remains competitive, Clayborn acknowledges Law would likely sit in first place alone if he hadn’t missed the bulk of the 2004 season because of injury.

“Realistically looking at it, Ty got hurt and he did it. I think it was the (fifth) game of the season or something and the next year, he wasn’t with the team,” Clayborn said. “So quite frankly speaking, Ty would have broken the record if he hadn’t been injured and to hold the record with him is an honor. I really truly believe he’€™s one of the better cornerbacks to play during his time.”

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Ty Law: Hall induction would be ‘icing on the cake’ as far as career with Patriots

04.16.14 at 7:24 pm ET
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For Ty Law, it’€™s the chance to bring a legendary career full circle.

Ty Law was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots. (Patriots)

Ty Law was a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots. (Patriots)

The cornerback, who is one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame, admitted Wednesday that when it came to how things ended with the franchise, it was a less than ideal scenario.

After playing 10 years with New England, he left as a free agent following the 2004 season. He ended his career with brief stints with the Jets, Chiefs and Broncos (and retired following the 2009 season), but it was a bittersweet final act for one of the best defensive backs of his era.

“€œI’€™d be the first one to admit now, I’€™m older, wiser, more mature, that if I could have done something all over again, I would have tried my damnedest to stay in New England and finish my career,” he said on a conference call with New England media.

“€œNot that I have any regrets about the teams that took me in as far as the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs — I’€™m thankful for the opportunity. I think I said this early in my career; I would have loved to start and finish my career with the Patriots. Unfortunately that didn’€™t happen, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have made more effort to stay a Patriot.”

Now, Law has the opportunity for a final farewell. It was revealed Wednesday that he’€™s one of three finalists for the Hall of Fame, a class that includes cornerback Raymond Clayborn and former coach Bill Parcells. (Fans can vote on the finalists for the next month at Patriots.com.)

Law was a three-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), a four-time Pro Bowl player (1998, 2001, 2002, 2003) and a two-time All-Pro (1998, 2003) during his tenure with the Patriots. Law tied Clayborn’€™s career franchise-record with 36 interceptions and finished with the most interception-return yards in team history with 583

Law, who said he was “€œspeechless”€ when he was informed that he was a finalist, said, ‘€œit would mean a lot’€ if he gets the nod.

“€œIt will put the icing on the cake, as far as my playing career with the Patriots, and give some validation to me that I’€™m appreciated by the fans, they still care for me and they show me that with my business on and off the field and it just puts a stamp of approval [from] Patriot Nation,”€ he said. “€œI’€™m really humbled by that to even be considered with the great Bill Parcells and Raymond Clayborn, who was such a great player and spent so much time in New England. I’€™m honored just to be considered and on the list with those two guys.”
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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Stanford DE Trent Murphy

04.16.14 at 5:12 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Trent Murphy (AP)

Trent Murphy led the FBS with 15 sacks in 2013. (AP)

TRENT MURPHY

Position: Defensive end

School: Stanford

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 250 pounds

Achievements: 2013 consensus All-American, first-team All-American (Walter Camp, AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, SI.com, ESPN.com), first-team All-Pac 12, 2012 Butkus Award semifinalist

What he brings: Murphy is known as an above-average athlete with strong instincts. While he has a solid frame, though, analysts note that he does not have as much muscle as an average professional football player.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Murphy played in just two games during the 2010 season after he suffered a leg injury. … During the 2013 season, Murphy led the FBS with 15 sacks and had at least one sack in 10 of 14 games. … Murphy was one of the top performers at the 3-cone drill during the combine.

Related articles:

FOXSports.com: Draft Diary: Stanford LB Trent Murphy tracks path to the NFL (Part 1)

FOXSports.com: Draft Diary: Stanford LB Trent Murphy tracks path to NFL (Part 2)

CBSSports.com: 2014 NFL draft: Winners, losers, surprises in combine 3-cone

Video: Here is a video highlighting Murphy’s career at Stanford.

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What does history tell us about Patriots and pre-draft contact with elite prospects?

04.16.14 at 3:14 pm ET
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Tackle Nate Solder had a pre-draft visit to Foxboro scrubbed at the last minute, but the Patriots still made him a first-round pick. (AP)

Tackle Nate Solder had a pre-draft visit to Foxboro scrubbed at the last minute, but the Patriots still made him a first-round pick. (AP)

With the pre-draft process longer now than it’s been in years past, there’s more time for speculation, and official visits, workouts and attendance at Pro Days are all ways fans and the media try and gauge a team’s interest in a prospect. Some of the pre-draft work can be a smokescreen, some of it can be done for intel down the road and some of can be for practical scouting purposes. With that in mind, here’s a look at the pre-draft connections the Patriots have made with some of their top draft picks over the last few years.

Linebacker Jamie Collins (taken with New England’s first pick in 2013, a second-round selection at No. 52 overall): Bill Belichick flew South to work out Collins before the draft, but the linebacker later indicated that he did not have much pre-draft contact with New England when compared to other teams.

Defensive end Chandler Jones (first-round pick 2012, 21st overall): Jones recalled a conversation with the Patriots at the combine in Indy the year he was drafted. “I talked to the Patriots — I talked with them at the combine,” he said. “That was the most formal thing we did. That’s basically it — we talked at the combine.”

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (first-round pick 2012, 25th overall): He didn’t work out for Patriots, but he said he “had a small (idea)” the Patriots were interested. “I met with those guys at the combine and I met them at one of the Pro Days,” Hightower recalled, “so I knew that they were kind of interested in some of the defensive players that we had at Alabama.”

Tackle Nate Solder (first-round pick 2011, 17th overall): Solder had what he called “fairly limited contact” with the Patriots throughout the pre-draft process. He met with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia the Monday before the draft in Colorado, but also had a scheduled visit to Foxboro cancelled at the last minute. “I don’t know exactly what happened,” Solder later explained. “I was scheduled to visit (but) the minute before I left it was cancelled. That’s all I know.”

Defensive back Devin McCourty (first-round pick 2010, 27th overall): McCourty met with Belichick prior to the draft, where the two had a film session on campus at Rutgers. “Bill Belichick had come to my school for a coaches’ clinic, and he was going to fly right out after the clinic to see his son play in a lacrosse game,” McCourty recalled. “But we had an hour, we watched some film and we spoke for a little while. We had a real generic conversation, but he showed me some things on film, just watching and helping me out as far as being a player.”

Linebacker Jerod Mayo (first-round pick, 2008, 10th overall): Mayo had 11 visits with teams during the pre-draft process, and remembers his visit to Foxboro fondly. “I had a great visit when I came down there,” he said. “The coaches and I sat down and talked football for a long time. Like I said, I just had a great visit and I felt like we clicked.”

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Patriots Hall of Fame finalists: Raymond Clayborn, Ty Law, Bill Parcells

04.16.14 at 11:36 am ET
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Ty Law believes in the 2012 Patriots. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Ty Law is one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Patriots announced Wednesday that former defensive backs Raymond Clayborn and Ty Law and ex-coach Bill Parcells were named finalists for the team’s Hall of Fame.

Fans can vote on which individual deserves to be the 2014 inductee starting Wednesday and continuing through May 15. The winner will be announced in early June.

Clayborn played for New England from 1977-89 before finishing up with two seasons with the Browns and was named to the Pro Bowl three times (’83, ’85, ’86). A first-round draft pick (16th overall) out of Texas, Clayborn finished his career with 36 interceptions (tied with Law for the team record) and 555 interception return yards (second to Law’s 583). He also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. As a rookie in 1977, he set single-season team records with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and a 31.0-yard return average.

Law played 10 seasons for the Patriots (1995-2004) as part of a 15-year NFL career after being drafted 23rd overall out of Michigan. A four-time Pro Bowler (;98, ’01, ’02, ’03), Law won three Super Bowls in New England. He returned a Kurt Warner pass 47 yards for a touchdown in the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win over the Rams in 2002. He holds franchise records for interceptions (36, tied with Clayborn), interception return yards (583) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (6). He became the first Patriot to lead the league in interceptions when he had nine in 1998.

Parcells coached New England for four seasons and led the team to the playoffs twice, including a run to the Super Bowl in 1997. He was named Coach of the Year for his performance in 1994, when the Patriots won their final second regular-season games to clinch their first playoff berth in eight years. In 1996 the Patriots won a then-franchise-record 11 games and their first division title in a decade. They eat the Steelers and Jaguars to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in team history before losing to the Packers. Parcells, who is the only coach to lead four franchises (Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys) to the playoffs and three different teams (Giants, Patriots, Jets) to a conference championship game, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year.

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