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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: West Virginia WR Kevin White

04.10.15 at 9:22 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.

Kevin White (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Kevin White had a West Virginia-record 16 receptions in a game against Texas in 2014. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

KEVIN WHITE

Position: Wide receiver

School: West Virginia

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: 2014 AFCA All-America team, 2014 Biletnikoff finalist for best receiver

What he brings: White’s size and long arms give him an advantage over some other top receiver prospects. He receives praise from scouts for his downfield acceleration and ability to break press coverage. There are concerns among some experts about his blocking ability and ability to make defenders miss. There are a few concerns among scouts and experts about dropped balls after his 2013 season, but he drastically improved in that area in 2014.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: White had 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Mountaineers in 2014. He set a school record with 16 receptions in a game against Texas on Nov. 8, 2014. He attended Lackawanna College for two years before transferring to West Virginia in 2013. At the NFL scouting combine he ran a 4.35 40, tied for third fastest among wide receivers, and had 23 reps in the bench press, tied for first.

Related articles:

SI.com: Evolution of Kevin White

NFL.com: White is best receiver in draft

Video: Here’s White making 13 catches for 216 yards against Maryland in September 2014.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Kevin White,

Resetting Patriots depth chart: Tight end

04.10.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Rob Gronkowski was a tremendous force in 2014 for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski was a tremendous force in 2014 for the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With the majority of free agency completed and the draft looming, we’re going to take a look at the Patriots depth chart by position and try and assess the level of need going forward. We started with special teams. Now, it’s tight end:

Current depth chart: Rob Gronkowski (82 catches, 131 targets, 1,124 yards, 12 TDs), Scott Chandler (47 catches, 70 targets, 497 yards, 3 TDs for Buffalo in 2014), Tim Wright (26 catches, 33 targets, 259 yards, 6 TDs), Michael Hoomanawanui (3 catches, 6 targets, 44 yards)

Lost in free agency: None.

Gained in free agency: Chandler is the biggest offensive addition the team made in free agency, agreeing to a contract with the Patriots on March 13. The 6-foot-7. 270-pounder, who was cut loose by the Bills earlier this offseason, has put together some really impressive performances against the Patriots over the years, with 28 catches for 384 yards and four touchdowns in his career against New England. The big tight end, who will turn 30 before the start of the 2015 season, had his best season in 2013 when he finished with 53 catches for 655 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In his career, he has 182 receptions for 2,120 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Other changes: None, although given the addition of Chandler — as well as his body type and skill set — it wouldn’t be a shock to see Wright evolve into more of a wide receiver type in 2015. Wright is a dependable pass catcher (his 79 percent catch rate was the best on the team for any offensive skill position player who was targeted at least 20 times), and is fundamentally a non-factor as a blocker. Something to keep an eye on this coming season.

Is this an area of need for the Patriots going into the draft? No. In an offseason where the tight end market is pretty bad — there are no consensus first-round picks in the draft at the position, and only Julius Thomas and Charles Clay made any real guaranteed money in free agency — the Patriots are in very good shape. While New England could chase after a tight end in the later rounds in the draft (or even go after a rookie free agent or two), as it has done the last couple of years with prospects like Zach Sudfeld), don’t expect the Patriots to utilize any prime draft capital at the spot this spring.

Read More: Michael Hoomanawanui, resetting the depth chart, Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Louisville G John Miller

04.09.15 at 5:30 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.

John Miller

John Miller

JOHN MILLER

Position: Guard

School: Louisville

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 312 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-AAC honorable mention, 2013 All-AAC second team

What he brings: Scouts like Miller’s strength in his upper body but are concerned that his lower body is not as strong. He is expected to be effective in straight-ahead run protection and phone booth pass protection but may struggle once more foot movement is required. There are hopes that with the right coaching and more experience Miller will be able to add some awareness to go along with his strength in making up for his lack of top-end athleticism.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-5

Notes: Miller posted close to average numbers on the athletic drills at the combine. He tied for seventh among offensive linemen for the bench press (29 reps).

Related articles:

CardinalAuthority.com: Miller on combine performance, draft stock

CardinalAuthority.com: John Miller rising on NFL big boards

Video: Here’s an interview with Miller on media day before the 2014 season.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, John Miller,

Packers, Panthers highlight Patriots 2015 preseason slate

04.09.15 at 4:08 pm ET
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The Patriots have announced their opponents for the 2015 preseason schedule. While times and dates — as well as potential joint practices — have yet to be announced, here’s the list of opponents.

Week 1: vs. Packers. New England will open the 2015 preseason at home against the defending NFC North champions. The Patriots have played Green Bay in the preseason 13 times with the most recent game played at Green Bay in 2005.
Week 2: at Saints. The Patriots last played New Orleans in the preseason in 2012 when the Saints and Patriots held joint practice sessions prior to playing the first preseason game of the season at Gillette.
Week 3: at Panthers. The Patriots and Carolina will meet in Week 3 of the preseason for the second straight season. Last year, New England hosted Carolina in Week 3, with the Patriots taking a 30-7 win.
Week 4: vs. Giants. The Patriots and Giants will play each other in the preseason finale for the 11th straight season and for the 25th time overall, the most frequent preseason opponent for New England.

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

Read More: Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, new orleans saints, New York Giants

Local TV photographer ordered not to cover Aaron Hernandez trial after following jurors

04.09.15 at 2:29 pm ET
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The Aaron Herndandez trial took a strange turn on Thursday when two jurors said a news truck followed them after court on Wednesday.

Judge Susan E. Garsh ordered the WHDH-TV van driver to testify. The cameraman said he followed the jury bus to their parking lot after court on Wednesday as a way to know where the parking lot was located. He said he did not speak to any of the jurors.

The cameraman was ordered off the case by the judge as the court has previously issued an order that specified that “no person shall contact a juror” and following the bus was considered contact.

WHDH-TV as an entity is still allowed to cover the case.

The jury is still deliberating as of Thursday afternoon.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Boise State RB Jay Ajayi

04.09.15 at 1:29 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.

Jay Ajayi (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Jay Ajayi, who switched from soccer to football after moving from England to the United States in 2000, set a Boise State record with 1,823 rushing yards in 2014. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

JAY AJAYI

Position: Running back

School: Boise State

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 216 pounds

Achievements: 2014 AP All-America third team, 2014 All-Mountain West first team, 2013 All-Mountain West first team

What he brings: Ajayi started his athletic career as a soccer player and was even recruited by the Nigerian national team, according to CBS Sports. What he learned as a soccer player has helped him with what NFL.com called his “great feet” and balance. He has a similar body type and running style to Marshawn Lynch and will be able to play on all three downs. Ball security and running into avoidable defenders are potential weaknesses for Ajayi, but he’s also capable of getting yards after contact and making defenders miss.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Ajayi’s parents are Nigerian and he was born in London before moving to the United States in 2000. He joined Boise State in 2011 and, per CBS Sports, in a week’s span in October was arrested for stealing sweatpants and then tore the ACL in his right knee. However, three years down the road, Ajayi got himself out of his coach’s doghouse and, as a junior in 2014, set school records for rushing yards (1,823), carries (347), all-purpose yardage (2,358), rushing touchdowns (28) and 100-yard rushing performances (10). He became the first player in FBS history to have 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season. At the NFL scouting combine, he was second among running backs in the 60-yard shuttle (11.10 seconds), third in the 40 (4.10 seconds), fifth in the vertical jump (39 inches) and fifth in the broad jump (10 feet, 1 inch).

Related articles:

Idaho Statesman: Boise State’s Jay Ajayi trains for the NFL with Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon

Idaho Stateman: Boise State’s Jay Ajayi a man on a mission

Video: Here are Ajayi’s highlights from the 2014 season.

Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, 2015 Potential Patriots, Jay Ajayi,

Could suspensions for LeGarrette Blount, Le’Veon Bell impact NFL’s opening night scheduling decision?

04.09.15 at 12:48 pm ET
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Le'Veon Bell is planning to appeal his three-game suspension. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Le’Veon Bell is planning to appeal his three-game suspension. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Patriots and Steelers are set to face each other in 2015 in Foxboro, and with the regular-season schedule still to be announced, that game would appear to be one of a handful of possibilities that could serve as the traditional Thursday night opener for the defending champions.

However, there’s the very real likelihood that now the NFL wants no part of Pittsburgh-New England as an opening night contest. The two lead backs on each side — LeGarrette Blount of the Patriots and Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers — have both been suspended after an incident last August when they were both charged with marijuana possession. (Bell was also arrested on DUI charges.) Earlier this week, it was announced that Blount was banned for the opener, while Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported Wednesday that Bell is facing a three-game suspension and a fine of an additional game check. (Bell is reportedly planning to appeal his punishment.)

While the Steelers and Patriots have always made for compelling theater when they’ve met on the field, it’s unlikely the NFL would be interested in having the specter of two missing stars (out of action because of drug suspensions) serving as a potential distraction for a marquee event like the regular-season opener. As a result, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the league lean toward an opening night matchup involving New England and the Eagles, Jets or Bills.

Read More: Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount,

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