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Three Friday night pre-draft thoughts on Patriots connections with Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin and Crockett Gilmore

04.04.14 at 9:32 pm ET
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Wide receiver Brandin Cooks said Friday the Patriots had taken a look at him. (AP)

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks said Friday the Patriots had taken a look at him. (AP)

Three Friday night pre-draft thoughts on the Patriots:

1. Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks told the NFL Network on Friday that the Patriots have worked him out. With the understanding that “worked out” could have many different definitions when it comes to the pre-draft process, Cooks presents himself as an interesting prospect as it relates to New England. The 5-foot-10, 189-pounder out of Oregon State is considered one of the better receivers in this year’s draft — the Biletnikoff award winner set the Oregon State and Pac-12 records for catches with 128, receiving yards with 1,730 and touchdown catches with 24 as a junior in 2013. While he had terrific numbers as a collegian, he really landed on a lot of radar screens with an excellent performance at the combine in February, where he was the top performer in the 20-yard (3.81) and 60-yard (10.81) shuttles, and had the best wide receiver time (4.33) in the 40-yard dash. It’s debatable as to whether or not he’d be available the Patriots pick at No. 29, and as a result, New England might have to swing a draft weekend deal to move up if they want a shot at Cooks.

2. While receiver isn’t considered an overwhelming need for the Patriots in the draft, Cooks is just the latest relatively high-profile pass catchers who has drawn the interest of the Patriots throughout the pre-draft process. Late last month, the New England coaching staff apparently took a long look at Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin. From our viewpoint, Benjamin is the most impressive receiver — from a physical standpoint — we’ve seen throughout the pre-draft process. While there are questions about his consistency, it’s easy to look at his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame and think about the possibility of a Calvin Johnson-type presence in the passing game. In 2013, he caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns last season for the national champions. Considered a late first-round/early second-round possibility, could be available if New England sticks at 29 and wants to throw everyone curveball by getting a receiver in the first round.

3. Tony Pauline — an eminently reliable source when it comes to pre-draft visiting, scouting and the like — noted Friday the Patriots brought in tight end Crockett Gilmore from Colorado State in for a visit earlier in the week. Gilmore is a fascinating prospect for a few reasons — considered a mid-round possibility, the 6-foot-6, 260-pounder was named first-team All-Mountain West in 2013 after finishing with 43 catches for 533 yards for CSU. He also has some interesting versatility in that he’s a converted defensive end, having made the switch from one side of the ball to the other between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Want to know more about Gilmore? Check out his own website, CrockettGilmore.com.

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Adrian Wilson tweets his thanks to Patriots after his release from club: ‘Can’t make the club in the tub’

04.04.14 at 3:59 pm ET
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Adrian Wilson worked out with the Patriots in training camp before being placed on season-ending IR. (AP)

Adrian Wilson worked out with the Patriots in training camp before being placed on season-ending IR. (AP)

FOXBORO — The Adrian Wilson era is over in Foxboro before it really ever began.

The Patriots released the 34-year-old safety on Friday, just over a year after being signed as depth in the secondary.

Wilson was signed on March 15, 2013 to a three-year deal. In 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Wilson established himself as one of the hardest-hitting safeties in football, earning five trips to the Pro Bowl, three All-Pro honors and a trip to Super Bowl XLIII. In 11 seasons, he recorded 25 sacks and 25 interceptions.

He was released by the Cardinals on March 8, 2013, then signed by the Patriots a week later for three years and $5 million.

Wilson originally entered the NFL as a third-round draft choice (64th overall) by the Cardinals out of North Carolina State in 2001. He was released by Arizona on March 8, 2013. Wilson has played in 181 career games with 162 starts and compiled 716 tackles, 25½ sacks and 27 interceptions in his 12 years with the Cardinals. He holds the NFL record for most sacks in a single season by a defensive back (8), is the Cardinals’€™ all-time leader in passes defensed (99) and forced fumbles (15), and his 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in 2006 is tied with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the longest in team history.

Right after he joined the team, he offered Kyle Arrington a year’s supply of diapers for Arrington’s newborn baby to have Arrington’s jersey number 24, the number Wilson had in Arizona. Wilson eventually got his No. 24 jersey Arrington. Darrelle Revis can have No. 24, the number he’s played with on the Jets and Buccaneers.

Wilson never played a regular season snap for the Patriots as he was placed on season-ending injured reserved on Aug. 31, 2013 with an achilles injury.

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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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