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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Colorado State C Weston Richburg

04.04.14 at 10:03 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.

Weston Richburg helped Colorado State set school records for offensive production in 2013. (AP)

Center Weston Richburg (left) helped Colorado State set school records for offensive production in 2013. (AP)

WESTON RICHBURG

Position: Center

School: Colorado State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 298 pounds

Achievements: 2013 Mountain West first team, 2012, Mountain West honorable mention, 2011 Mountain West second team, 2010 Mountain West honorable mention

What he brings: Richburg, a two-time captain at Colorado State, has solid initial quickness and is a durable player. He helped the 2013 Rams to the most prolific scoring offense in school history with a school-record 470.8 yards per game. The knock on Richburg is that he lacks athleticism and ideal size. He helped his cause with a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and is considered by many to be the top center in the draft.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Richburg was a quarterback and a linebacker as a freshman in high school before growing out of those positions and into his role as an offensive lineman. While at Colorado State, Richburg started in 50 consecutive games over the course of four years — a school record. … Richburg, who redshirted his first year at Colorado State, completed his degree in animal science last summer and started a second degree during his final season with the Rams.

Related articles:

MLive.com: Colorado State’s Weston Richburg, one of the best centers in the draft, eyeing Detroit Lions

USA Today: Weston Richburg is the center of attention

Video: Here is a video highlighting Richburg’s performance in a game against Alabama

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Patrick Chung: Chance to return to Patriots ‘like a blessing’

04.04.14 at 12:10 am ET
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Patrick Chung returns to the Patriots. (AP)

Patrick Chung returns to the Patriots. (AP)

One year later, veteran safety Patrick Chung is set to return to the Patriots.

Chung, who was signed as a free agent by the Eagles last season after four seasons in New England, was re-signed by the Patriots on Thursday. The 26-year-old, who was a second-round pick of New England in 2009, said the chance to get back to Foxboro “was like a blessing.”

“I’€™m glad to be back,” he said Thursday on a conference call with the media. “It’€™s like family here. It feels like home. I’€™m glad to be back. I love the fans, love the coaches, love the environment, love the city.”

Chung’s finest season with the Patriots came in 2010 when he played in 14 games (13 starts) and finished the year with 96 tackles (72 solo), nine passes defensed and three interceptions, all career-highs. Following the 2012 season, he ended up signing a three-year, $10 million free agent deal with the Eagles. In Philly last year, he played in 12 games and ended with 59 tackles, but struggled at times playing for his old college coach Chip Kelly with the Eagles.

New England figured to be in the market for some safety help when Steve Gregory was cut loose earlier this offseason, and while he won’t be guaranteed his old roster spot, Chung could provide some depth for the Patriots secondary.

“I don’€™t feel I’€™m any different,” Chung said. “I’€™m just going to continue to keep working, keep getting better, whatever I can do to help the team, whatever role I might have to play. I feel I’€™m the same. The scheme, I guess, would fit a lot better. I’€™ve had a lot of conversations so I just feel like this would be the best fit right now. Plus, I’€™m really glad to be back too. I’€™ve missed you guys.

“I don’€™t have any expectations,” he added. “Whatever Bill [Belichick] need me to do, this team, I’€™m going to do it. Regardless if it’€™s special team or it’€™s defense, whatever my role is here, I’€™m OK with that. This is where I want to be, so that’€™s good for me. I’€™m not worried about all the distractions, ‘€˜Am I going to be playing, am I going to be doing this?’€™ Whatever I can do to help the team win, then I’€™m good.”

Here are more highlights of Chung’s Thursday afternoon Q&A with the media.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Patriots offseason schedule unveiled

04.03.14 at 4:39 pm ET
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Just two-plus months after the season-ending loss to the Broncos in the 2013 AFC title game, word comes down that the Patriots will start prepping for the 2014 season in earnest when offseason workout programs open April 21.

The initial portion of the offseason program is limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only, and runs for two weeks. The second part of the program runs for three weeks, and can include on-field drills — however, live contact is prohibited.

The third and final portion includes voluntary organized team activities. Those dates are May 27, May 29-30, June 2-3, June 5, June 9-10, June 12-13. And finally, mandatory minicamp runs from June 17-19 — the last major event on the calendar before the start of training camp, which usually opens the last week of July.

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Patriots hosting DE Stephon Tuitt on pre-draft visit

04.03.14 at 3:56 pm ET
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The Patriots are hosting defensive end Stephon Tuitt on a pre-draft visit, according to Tuitt’s twitter account.

The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Tuitt had a dynamite sophomore year — he finished 2012 with 47 tackles and 12 sacks. (The 12 sacks are the second most in a single season in Notre Dame history.) However, he slipped a bit in 2013 — following offseason hernia surgery, Tuitt was not in top condition for the start of his junior season. While he still managed to finish with 49 tackles and 7.5 sacks, he was not the same presence he was the year before.

For more on Tuitt, check out our pre-draft profile on him here.

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

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Patriots sign S Patrick Chung

04.03.14 at 1:54 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Thursday they have re-signed Patrick Chung. Here’s a portion of the release issued by the team:

Chung, 26, spent four seasons with New England (2009-12) after joining the team as a second-round draft pick (34th overall) out of Oregon in 2009. The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an unrestricted free agent on March 12, 2013. He was released by Philadelphia on March 11.

Chung has played in 62 NFL games with 40 starts and has registered 291 total tackles, seven interceptions, 22 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He has played in eight postseason games with five starts and has added 23 total tackles.

Chung played in 50 games with 30 starts during his first four seasons with New England and accumulated 235 total tackles, seven interceptions and 19 passes defensed. He blocked a punt and a field goal in the same game at Miami on Oct. 4, 2010, and finished that season with a career-best 89 total tackles.

Last season in Philadelphia, Chung played in 12 games with 10 starts and finished with 56 total tackles, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery. He started in the Eagles postseason game vs. New Orleans on Jan. 4, and finished with four total tackles.

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

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Mississippi State OG Gabe Jackson

04.03.14 at 9:36 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.

Gabe Jackson (AP)

Gabe Jackson started 52 consecutive games at Mississippi State after redshirting his first season. (AP)

GABE JACKSON

Position: Offensive guard

School: Mississippi State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 336 pounds

Achievements: First offensive lineman to win Conerly Trophy, won inaugural Kent Hull Award, 2013 second-team All-American (Walter Camp, USA Today, Athlon Sports), 2013, 2012 first-team All-SEC, 2010 freshman All-SEC selection (coaches)

What he brings: Jackson not only has ideal size, but he possesses good movement despite his larger frame. Scouts say, though, that he sometimes lacks awareness of where he is on the field and does not have elite quickness when recovering.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage named Jackson the top offensive lineman for the South in the 2014 Senior Bowl. … After redshirting in 2009, Jackson started in 52 consecutive games. The Liberty, Miss., native helped the team break school records for total yards, first downs and yards per game during his senior season.

Related articles:

AL.com: Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson yes top grade of South offensive linemen at Senior Bowl

GulfLive.com: Football: Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson wins Conerly Trophy as state’s top college player

Video: Here is a video highlighting Jackson’s career at Mississippi State.

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Where will Patriots pick in 2014 draft?

04.03.14 at 6:15 am ET
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With the compensatory picks doled out across the NFL, we now know the full draft order for next month. With the understanding that the Patriots and 49ers will flip between the 29th and 30th pick in each round (they both finished with 12-4 marks in 2013), here’s a look at when the Patriots will be selecting:

First round: No. 29 overall
Second round: No. 62 overall
Third round: No. 93 overall
Fourth round: Nos. 130 and 140 (140 is compensatory — the last pick of the fourth round)
Fifth round: None (pick dealt to Philadelphia in Isaac Sopoaga trade)
Sixth round: Nos. 198 (via Eagles as part of Sopoaga trade) and 206
Seventh round: No. 244

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