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Chris Price and Mike Petraglia break down Patriots offseason in latest edition of ‘It Is What It Is’ podcast

03.20.15 at 2:22 pm ET
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From the losses of Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork to the re-signing of Devin McCourty to the restructuring of the contracts for Rob Ninkovich and Danny Amendola to the addition of Jabaal Sheard, Patriots beat writers Chris Price and Mike Petraglia talk about an extremely busy offseason for the Super Bowl champions.

How can they go about repeating? What should they expect in the revamped AFC East? The latest edition of the “It Is What It Is” podcast has Price and Trags talking about the offseason, the draft and where the team goes from here.

Give a listen HERE.

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong

03.20.15 at 1:21 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.

Jaelen Strong (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Jaelen Strong caught 82 passes for 1,165 yards last season as a junior. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

JAELEN STRONG

Position: Wide receiver

School: Arizona State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 215 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-Pac-12 first team, 2014 ESPN All-American, 2014 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist for best receiver, 2013 All-Pac-12 first team

What he brings: Scouts are impressed with Strong’s ability to fight off defenders and pull down contested balls. He has shown a very good all-around game, but there are some concerns about his acceleration and ability to create separation. Via NFL.com, an NFC West scout said, “[Strong]’s not going to run fast, but it won’t matter because any team that drafts him is going to have a plan for him.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Strong had 82 receptions totaling 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior for the Sun Devils in 2014. ESPN has him ranked as the sixth receiver and 30th overall player in the draft. His father, John Rankin, was a star basketball player at Drexel who died from leukemia when Strong was 9. Overall, scouts and experts agree that he has the potential to be a star in the NFL but has to work on some aspects of his game in order to reach that point.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Strong is ready for NFL

Sports Illustrated: Strong honors, remembers father on way to NFL

The State Press: Strong should be first round pick

Video: Here’s Strong catching eight passes for 136 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame in 2013.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Jaelen Strong,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Kentucky DE Alvin ‘Bud’ Dupree

03.20.15 at 9:39 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.

Bud Dupree (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Bud Dupree (right) impressed at the scouting combine, posting the third-best broad jump of any player since 2003. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

ALVIN “BUD” DUPREE

Position: Defensive end

School: Kentucky

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 269 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-SEC first team, 2013 All-SEC second team

What he brings: Dupree is a leader off the field and, per NFL.com, scouts give him a plus grade for character. He is very athletic, locates the ball quickly and is passionate in his pursuit, according to CBS Sports. He is capable of changing his rush moves and tricks opponents with one speed before bursting out to create big plays.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Dupree was a team captain in 2014 and started in all his four years at Kentucky. His results in the combine earned him top-performer status as he posted a 4.56 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical jump and 11-foot, 6-inch broad jump, which is the third best of any outside linebacker at the combine since 2003. The Irwinton, Georgia, native departs from Kentucky with 23.5 total sacks, good for second best in school history. He had 7.5 sacks as a senior.

Related articles:

Pro Day: Dupree glad he stayed at UK to train

UK football: Alvin Dupree has played his way into a possible first-round draft pick 

Video: Here is a highlight video of Dupree’s time at UK.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Alvin Dupree, Bud Dupree

Witness: Aaron Hernandez ‘aggressive’ in nightclub 2 nights before killing

03.20.15 at 9:28 am ET
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In the Aaron Hernandez trial on Thursday, a woman who had been dancing with Hernandez in Rumor nightclub two nights prior to the killing of Odin Lloyd offered her testimony. Lloyd was with the former NFLer that night and prosecutors have said that Hernandez let the club angry.

The woman, Kasey Arma, said that she had seen Hernandez about a half-dozen times prior to that evening and that he attempted to get her attention by tapping on her hip. After first ignoring him, she then turned to talk to him. He introduced himself as Rock and asked to dance with her. They did for 5-10 minutes before Hernandez left in the middle of the song, telling her he would be right back.

According to Arma, when Hernandez came back roughly 10 minutes later, he was acting much differently than he had before. She said he was being more aggressive, that he brought her next to the main door and told her to dance.

“His whole demeanor was just very different: very on edge, aggressive and kind of arrogant,” she said.

Hernandez’s lawyers played a video of the two dancing by the doorway, in which they talked every so often and then parted ways. Arma said that he was being too aggressive so she didn’t want to dance with him anymore, and after being questioned by defense lawyer Michael Fee, she said that she did not like him after that night and had been talking to him to pump up her ego. She cited his arrogance specifically as something she took issue with.

In addition, another of Hernandez’s lawyers, James Sultan, went after the footprint evidence in the case that had been presented days before, asking how it was collected and matched with Hernandez’s shoes from that night. Massachusetts State Police Lt. Steven Bennett had said that the footprint found at the scene matched the print of the shoe Hernandez was wearing. He also said that he knew a colleague wanted him to link the print with the ex-Patriot before he made the match.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

Live Chat: Talk all things Patriots, NFL with Chris Price, Friday at noon

03.19.15 at 10:01 pm ET
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Join Chris Price of WEEI.com to break down all things Patriots and the NFL, Friday at noon. Price will answer all your questions about the offseason, as well as the landscape of the league as the dust settles following the initial wave of free agency.

Live Blog Chris Price Live Patriots Chat
 

Who are Bill Belichick’s favorite trade partners?

03.19.15 at 4:13 pm ET
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Based on their relationship and history between the two franchises, Chip Kelly could emerge as a go-to trade partner for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. (Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)

Based on their relationship and history between the two franchises, Chip Kelly could emerge as a go-to trade partner for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. (Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)

If you’re of the mind that the Patriots need to make some deals in hopes of shoring up the secondary of defensive line in the wake of the personnel losses of Darrelle Revis or Vince Wilfork, you should be checking out the rosters in Houston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.

History tells us that when it comes to dealing, Bill Belichick has a relatively small circle of teams — and more specifically, individuals — he prefers to deal with more than others. Since he took control of the Patriots in 2000, by our count, Belichick has made 102 trades. In all, he’s made the most deals with Oakland (9), followed by Denver, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Green Bay (all 6). That’s followed by Houston, New Orleans, Baltimore and Philly (5).

The Raiders have been Belichick’s most frequent trade partner, and deals with Oakland have arguably produced the most blockbusters, including the trades of Richard Seymour and Randy Moss. However, it’s worth noting that since the death of Al Davis in October 2011, the Patriots have not made a single deal with Oakland. (The last trade between New England and Oakland came when the two teams swapped picks on draft weekend in April of that year.) That’s not to rule out any sort of future trades between the two teams — only to suggest that the Raiders might not necessarily be the first team Belichick targets when he picks up the phone to talk about a deal this time around.

As for the best of the rest, it’s also unlikely that the Patriots and Broncos look to make a deal anytime soon, given the nature of their rivalry, as well as the fact that old friends Mike Shanahan or Josh McDaniels are no longer with Denver. Tampa Bay and Green Bay remain intriguing trade partners, as the Packers and GM Ted Thompson have shown a willingness to work with Belichick in the past on more than a few occasions over the last decade, with the last trade between the two teams coming last summer when New England acquired defensive tackle Jerel Worthy for a draft pick. And while the Patriots and Bears made a couple of notable deals a little over a decade ago (New England acquired Ted Washington in 2003 and a swap of draft picks that same year netted the Patriots Ty Warren), the two teams haven’t made a deal since 2007.

(Two teams we do know who are likely off Belichick’s trade radar: the Colts and Jets. While New York received compensation for losing Belichick to the Patriots in 2000, since he arrived in New England, Belichick has not made a personnel swap with either Indy or the Jets.)

That brings us to the Texans, Ravens, Eagles and Bucs. All four of these franchises have shown a willingness to work with the Patriots in the past, and given the deep relationship Belichick has with most of the decision-makers in each one of the four teams, it makes it a possibility that they could put together another deal in the not-too-distant future.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Al Davis, Bill Belichick, Bill Belichick New England Patriots, Bill O'Brien

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Washington OLB Shaq Thompson

03.19.15 at 3:44 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.

Shaq Thompson (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Shaq Thompson is a linebacker, but he also spent some time as a running back for Washington and he had a brief stint as a baseball player in the Red Sox‘ minor league system. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

SHAQ THOMPSON

Position: Outside linebacker

School: Washington

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 228 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America first team, All-Pac-12 first team, Paul Hornung Award for most versatile player, 2013 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, Freshman All-America team

What he brings: Thompson is a versatile player who has successfully played both linebacker and running back, but he has told NFL teams that he is a linebacker. Scouts consider him an athletic linebacker who excels in run defense and consistently finishes his tackles. He has played safety and is great in pass coverage as well. There are concerns about his size, as he doesn’t have the bulk to match up with many NFL linemen.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: ESPN.com ranks Thompson as the ninth linebacker and 62nd overall in the draft. As a running back in 2014, he had 61 rushes for 456 yards and two touchdowns. He was selected by the Red Sox in the 2012 MLB draft and went 0-for-39 with 37 strikeouts in rookie ball that summer before giving up baseball and making the full-time commitment to football.

Related articles:

USA Today: Thompson’s draft diary

NESN.com: Thompson on brief baseball career

Video: Here are highlights from Thompson’s 2014 season.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Shaq Thompson,
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