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Julian Edelman creates inspired ‘Star Wars’-Patriots mashup

04.17.15 at 11:38 pm ET
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Let’s face it — Tom Brady could post a half-million videos of him jumping off cliffs or Photoshopping his body into a full cast as an April Fools prank, but he’d never be able to come up with something like this. Julian Edelman just changed the social media game in the Patriots locker room with this little number.

Read More: because it's the offseason, Julian Edelman, Star Wars, Tom Brady

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Washington State DT Xavier Cooper

04.17.15 at 5:18 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 2015 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.

XAVIER COOPER

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Washington State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 293 pounds

Achievements: 2014 WSU Defensive Lineman of the Year, 2013 WSU Tim Petek Award for strongest man, 2012 All-Pac 12 honorable mention

What he brings: Cooper has “outstanding foot quickness and an ability to pursue in space,” wrote Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. He barely ever gives offensive linemen a still target, and “it’s hard to land a solid, sustained punch on him.” He is good at timing the snap and can sync the quickness of his hands with that of his feet for “early wins along the line of scrimmage.” Cooper has shorter limbs for his size and he doesn’t have “pure power at the point of attack.” If he doesn’t win with his hands, Zierlein wrote, he gets pushed off the spot.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: Cooper sat out his first season so that he could make sure his academics were in order, while in 2012 he had 34 tackles, with 8.5 for loss, and three sacks. He got even better in 2013, making 50 tackles, 13.5 for loss with five sacks, and in 2014, he made 37 tackles, 9.5 for loss and had five sacks. At the scouting combine Cooper ran a 4.86-second 40-yard dash, had 29 reps on the bench press, posted a 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump and ran a 4.37-second 20-yard shuttle.

Related articles:

Dallas Morning News: Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State

Seahawks.com: Tacoma native, Washington State standout Xavier Cooper: ‘Hard work has got me here’

Fox Sports: NFL Draft Diary: Washington State DT Xavier Cooper tracks path to NFL

Video: Here is a closer look at Cooper, courtesy Washington State.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Xavier Cooper,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: UCLA ILB Eric Kendricks

04.17.15 at 1:14 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 2015 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.

Eric Kendricks (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who led all FBS teams with 149 tackles in 2014, owns UCLA’s records for single-season and career tackles. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

ERIC KENDRICKS

Position: Inside linebacker

School: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 230 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America second team, 2014 Butkus Award for best linebacker, 2014 Lott IMPACT Trophy for defensive player of the year, 2014 All-Pac-12 second team, 2013 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention

What he brings: Kendricks has been one of the top tacklers in the nation for several years, and scouts are impressed with his ability to finish tackles. He is considered to be a good man-to-man defender, as well as very aggressive, which helps him attack the run but can also catch him out of position. There are concerns that he may be small for an inside linebacker and have trouble outmuscling blockers, but he has been able to use his agility to get around defenders. Scouts also note that he needs work as a blitzer.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Kendricks finished the 2014 season with an FBS-leading 149 tackles to go along with two sacks and three interceptions. He holds the UCLA record for tackles in a single season (150 in 2012) and career (481). He was named Defensive MVP of the 2015 Alamo Bowl after recording 10 tackles (three for loss) and helping the Bruins beat Kansas State, 40-35. His father, Marvin, was a running back at UCLA in the early 1970s and played in the Canadian Football League. His brother, Mychal, is a linebacker for the Eagles who was drafted in the second round out of California in 2012. At the scouting combine he ran the 40 in 4.61 seconds, put up 19 reps in the bench press, reached 38 inches in the vertical jump and leaped 10 feet, 4 inches in the broad jump.

Related articles:

Philadelphia Magazine: Kendricks brothers compared

SB Nation: Kendricks looks forward to joining brother in NFL

Video: Here are highlights from Kendricks’ 2014 season.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Eric Kendricks,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

04.17.15 at 1:11 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 2015 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.

IFO EKPRE-OLOMU

Position: Cornerback

School: Oregon

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 185 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America first team, 2014 All-Pac-12 first team, 2014 Thorpe Award finalist for best defensive back, 2013 All-Pac-12 first team, 2012 All-Pac-12 first team

What he brings: Ekpre-Olomu is expected to be a great cover corner in the NFL. He is considered to be above average in both man and zone coverage. There are concerns about his short frame, but he is able to be efficient when defending contested balls. Scouts consider him a physical defender who is aggressive in run defense, and runners are rarely able to break tackles once Ekpre-Olomu wraps them up. One of the main concerns with his game is that he might be too physical when the ball is in the air, leading to unwanted pass interference and illegal contact penalties.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: He recorded 63 tackles and two interceptions in 2014. He tore his ACL while preparing for the Rose Bowl and had surgery in December, which has made him unavailable to work out for teams prior to the draft. He likely would be ranked higher on many draft boards if he were healthy.

Related articles:

The Oregonian: Ekpre-Olomu discusses injury, targeted September return

CBSSports.com: Ekpre-Olomu on working out while injured during Oregon pro day

Video: Here’s Ekpre-Olomu recording five tackles, an interception and a pass defended against Washington State in 2013.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: TCU FS Chris Hackett

04.17.15 at 9:19 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 2015 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.

Chris Hackett (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Chris Hackett led the Big 12 and ranked seventh in the nation with seven interceptions in 2014. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

CHRIS HACKETT

Position: Free safety

School: TCU

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 195 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-Big 12 first team (AP, coaches), 2013 All-Big 12 second team (AP)

What he brings: Hackett has been praised for not shying away from hits and doing whatever he can to make tackles. However, many scouts are concerned about his below-average speed and size. Experts say that he is able to read offenses well but has trouble recovering from fakes because of his speed. He will have trouble being a force in run defense, but there are more than a few people in the NFL that like his ability to defend the pass.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 5-7

Notes: In 2014 as a redshirt junior Hackett led the Big 12 and was seventh in the nation with seven interceptions, and he had 75 tackles. In 2013 he had three interceptions and 88 tackles. He did not miss a game due to injury in his three seasons with the Horned Frogs. He ran a 4.81 40 at the combine, among the slowest times for defensive backs.

Related articles:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Hackett looking forward to NFL

Video: Here’s Hackett recording 13 tackles and an interception against Oklahoma in 2014.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Chris Hackett,

Patriots DBs finish spring workouts in Arizona

04.17.15 at 7:55 am ET
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Alfonzo Dennard, Will Sullivan, Devin McCourty, Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon pose for a picture at Sullivan’s workout facility in Arizona on Thursday. (Photo courtesy Will Sullivan)

Over the last couple of years, a handful of Patriots’ defensive backs have made the trek out to Arizona to work with Will Sullivan, who has collaborated on training schedules for several NFL players over the course of the offseason, including Darrelle Revis.

Sullivan’s work with several members of the New England secondary has been well-documented in stories here and here, and he texted over a photo on Thursday night of many of the Patriots who have been with him in at his facility in Arizona. It’s a group that includes cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and safeties Devin McCourty, Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon. (Cornerback Logan Ryan had worked with Sullivan earlier in the offseason.) With the Patriots set to begin their offseason workouts at Gillette next week, the group said farewell to Sullivan (for now) on Thursday night with the group shot.

Read More: Alfonzo Dennard, Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson

NFL mock draft, Version 2.0: Big board gets shuffled as selection process looms

04.17.15 at 4:30 am ET
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Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State are the primary focus of the 2015 draft. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State are the primary focus of the 2015 draft. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Here’s our second stab at a mock draft. We made a few tweaks since our first one, including the Patriots’ approach at No. 32. As is the case every year, it’s important to note that more than anything, mock drafts are a crapshoot. (Occasional emphasis on “crap.”) This one is no exception. That being said, we’ve done our due diligence when it comes to trying to match needs with suitable (and realistic) prospects. There will be a handful of trades, and we’ve made a few notes as to where we believe those deals will take place.

1. Tampa Bay — Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: I know there’s a growing consensus to put Marcus Mariota ahead of Winston, from this viewpoint, Winston is the choice here for a few reasons, including the fact that he has a higher potential ceiling than Mariota. There are plenty of red flags, but he’s still the choice. For what it’s worth, I believe Mariota is going to end up being a pretty good quarterback. But if Winston gets into a good situation with a solid locker room infrastructure around him and the Bucs exercise a reasonable level of expectations around him as a rookie, he has a chance to be special.

2. Tennessee — Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: All right, already, Titans. Your preference for a quarterback is clearly more than a smokescreen (or maybe you believe their statement that Zach Mettenberger is a poor man’s Tom Brady). If they don’t get Mariota here, they’ll try and swing a deal with San Diego for Philip Rivers.

3. Jacksonvillle — Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida:
A really solid selection for Gus Bradley and the Jags defense here at No. 3.

4. Oakland — Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:
It’s either him or Kevin White from West Virginia at this spot — while the names and faces change in Oakland, the overall organizational philosophy that adheres to measurables above almost everything else (particularly at the skill position spots) fits here.

5. Washington — Leonard Williams, DT, USC: The Redskins are the beneficiaries of the shuffle up top, as they get a guy some believe could be the second coming of Richard Seymour.

6. New York Jets — Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: The Jets are a bit of a wild-card here — if the Titans don’t trade for Rivers and he’s still here at No. 6, there’s the very real possibility they go for Mariota at No. 6. (There could still be a post-selection trade in the works here as well.) In the meantime, we’ll go defense, and give them Ray or Clemson’s Vic Beasley.

7. Chicago — Kevin White, WR, West Virginia:
It’s tempting for to give them one of the top defenders in a Danny Shelton or Vic Beasley, but after losing Brandon Marshall and with quarterback Jay Cutler entering a big year, we’ll say best available receiver.

8. Atlanta — Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE, Kentucky: One of the highest risers throughout the pre-draft process, new coach Dan Quinn gets an raw pass rusher who has all the intangibles needed to be a special player.

9. New York Giants — Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami:
We initially had the Giants going for a pass rusher here (Ray), but Flowers has really made a sizable jump in the eyes of many throughout the pre-draft process.

10. St. Louis — Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa: Another quick riser, in the mold of Dupree. Scherff has the tools, size and occasionally surly disposition to be a very good tackle for a very long time. There’s also the possibility they could pluck a receiver to give new quarterback Nick Foles another option in the passing game. (That might be the move here if Kevin White is still on the board.)

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