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Source: Seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais to sign contract Thursday

05.16.13 at 12:00 pm ET
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The Patriots and seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais have agreed to a contract, according to a league source, and the Rutgers product is expected to sign his deal later Thursday afternoon.

Beauharnais is a 6-foot-1, 240-pounder who was taken 235th overall, and was one of three Scarlet Knights who was selected by the Patriots in this draft. Beauharnais finished his senior season with 77 tackles, 16 of them for a loss, to go along with five sacks and three interceptions.

Beauharnais was adamant that he would not sign a deal until he was done with his studies for the year, and he was true to his word — according to a source, he took his last final on Wednesday and was in Foxboro on Thursday participating in the offseason workout program, lifting weights and attending meetings.

Beauharnais is the second member of New England’s 2013 draft class to reach a contract agreement. Third-round pick Duron Harmon signed his deal earlier in the week.

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Resetting depth chart for Patriots at defensive tackle

05.15.13 at 5:21 pm ET
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The news that defensive tackle Kyle Love was released certainly shakes up one of the most intriguing spots on the roster for the Patriots, one we examined here as part of a piece on looming position battles: Who will see the most snaps opposite Vince Wilfork at defensive tackle?

It certainly appeared that Love had the inside track on the job after the Patriots decided to cut loose Brandon Deaderick earlier this week. But with the news of New England’s decision to move on from both Love and Deaderick, it looks like newcomers Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead will be in line for a significant role in 2013.

As we wrote earlier on Wednesday, Armstead is a CFL export who brings some pass-rushing skills to the table (he had six sacks last season with Toronto) while Kelly is a veteran defensive lineman who also has shown an ability to get after the passer (he had a combined 14.5 sacks in 2011 and 2010).

Other possibilities at the spot include Marcus Forston, who is heading into his second season on the roster, as well as rookies Cory “Pork Chop” Grissom, Dewayne Cherrington and Joe Vellano.

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Patriots release DT Kyle Love

05.15.13 at 5:08 pm ET
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The Patriots have released defensive tackle Kyle Love with a non-football injury designation. Love’s agent Richard Kopelman of KLASS Sports told ESPN that Love has recently been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes.

Love, 26, is a 6-foot-1, 315-pounder out of Mississippi State who has spent three seasons in the NFL, all with the Patriots. His best season came in 2011 when he had 33 tackles and three sacks.

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Agent: No deal yet for seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais

05.14.13 at 6:49 pm ET
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Despite reports he had inked a deal with the Patriots, seventh-round pick Steve Beauharnais has not come to terms with New England as of yet, according to his agent, Mook Williams.

Williams Tweeted Tuesday evening: “True to his comments after the [NFL Draft], Steve Beauharnais is presently focussed on his finals at Rutgers. No executed contract yet.”

Beauharnais, a seventh-round pick out of Rutgers, is a 6-foot-1, 240-pounder out of Rutgers who was taken 235th overall, and was one of three Scarlet Knights who was selected by the Patriots in this draft. Beauharnais finished his senior season with 77 tackles, 16 of them for a loss, to go along with five sacks and three interceptions.

Earlier in the day, the Patriots came to terms with third-round selection Duron Harmon.

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Running back Shane Vereen seeking more consistency in 2013

05.14.13 at 5:55 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Exit Danny Woodhead, enter Shane Vereen.

In the wake of Woodhead’s decision to sign a free-agent deal with the Chargers this offseason, the 5-foot-9, 205-pound Vereen figures to take over the role of Patriots’ third-down back in 2013 on a full-time basis.

The Cal product, who got a small taste of the workload last season, flashed positively at times throughout the season, including a three- touchdown performance in the divisional playoff round against the Texans.

“What I learned from that [game] is that I can do it, confidence wise,” said Vereen, who had two receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the win. “It helps, but it’s a new season. Anything can happen. You’re starting from ground zero.”

Vereen, who finished the 2012 season with 62 carries for 251 yards and three touchdowns and eight catches for 149 yards and one touchdown, knows that it’s one thing to perform at a high level for a game here or there. It’s another thing to do it on a consistent basis, something that’s eluded the 24-year-old over his first two seasons in the league for a couple reasons: One, Woodhead was ahead of him on the depth chart, and his durability and skills allowed him to get the bulk of the snaps as the primary third-down option out of the backfield.

“It’s going to be hard to replace a guy like Woody,” Vereen said of Woodhead, who in 2012 became the first New England running back to finish a season with at least 40 catches and 40 carries since Kevin Faulk did it in 2008. “He had a lot of experience. He had a lot of knowledge. He’s a smart player. His role was pretty key to the team. I learned a lot from him. You can’t really replace him. All you can do is move on and hope to get better from there.”

And two, Vereen struggled with injury at times over his first two seasons, including hamstring and foot issues.

“Injuries are never good — it’s always frustrating,” he said. “You want to be out there as much as possible, so when I’m not, it’s disheartening. But I’m out there now, and I’m trying to stay as healthy as possible.”

Now, this Golden Bear realizes he has a golden opportunity. As a result, he’s sharpened his focus, saying that he’s approaching the 2013 season “a little bit differently than I did last season” when it comes to his role on the team.

“There’s a little more focus on my part. There has to be,” he said. “[I need to] just be more consistent. More reliable. That comes with practice and that comes with time, so hopefully we’ll get there,” he said Tuesday in between workouts at Gillette Stadium.”

“I was ready to play, probably last week,” he added. “Just getting back and getting the itch for it. You kind of miss it now that we’ve been out a couple of months. It’s coming. It’ll be here faster than we realize. The itch is back.”

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Patriots sign third-round pick Duron Harmon

05.14.13 at 5:32 pm ET
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The Patriots have signed third-round pick Duron Harmon. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Harmon, a defensive back out of Rutgers who was taken with the 91st overall pick, is the first member of New England’s eight-man draft class to come to terms on a rookie contract.

As a senior at Rutgers, Harmon had 50 tackles and seven pass breakups while starting all 13 games for the Scarlet Knights, and came away with his second consecutive first-team all-Big East nod.

No contract information was immediately available, but last year’€™s 91st overall pick was Southern Miss tackle Lamar Holmes, who went to the Falcons. He signed a four-year, $2.633 million contract that included a $533,600 signing bonus.

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Donald Jones ready to be part of remade receiving corps in Foxboro

05.14.13 at 1:17 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Donald Jones already had a rep by the time he showed up in New England for his free agent visit this offseason. The wide receiver had strung together some impressive stretches with the Bills over the course of his three-year career, including 18 catches for 319 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots.

Of course, the New England braintrust also recognized him as being the unlucky fellow on the receiving end of this shot from defensive lineman Vince Wilfork which took place in last September’€™s Patriots-Bills game in Buffalo.

‘€œIt was a middle screen,’€ Jones said when asked to recall how the play developed. ‘€œI don’€™t even really remember how Vince ended up right there when I caught the ball. He was right there, so … He read it well and he just caught me in the air. I guess that’€™s something D-linemen always hope for — to catch a wide receiver coming over the middle. So he got his thing that he always hopes for, I guess.’€

The shot was one of the biggest hits of the year for the New England defense. As for Jones — who signed a free agent deal with the Patriots in March — it has followed him here to Foxboro.

‘€œI talked to [Wilfork] about it. Guys make jokes about it all the time. They bring it up,’€ he said during a break from the offseason workout program at Gillette Stadium. ‘€œAt the same time they’€™d make a joke and then at the end they’€™ll try to fix it over by saying, ‘€˜You got up anyway, though, so it’€™s all good.’

‘€œYou know, it actually looked a lot worse than it was. It didn’€™t hurt. I’€™m sure if he landed on me it would have hurt a lot more. He caught me in the air, so the hit didn’€™t hurt or anything. That was not the hardest hit that I’€™ve taken.’€

Of course, Jones is much more than just a speedbump for defensive linemen. The 6-foot, 208-pounder is a Youngstown State product who spent three seasons in the league, all with the Bills, and has 82 career receptions. His best year came in 2012 when he caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns.

He enters a position that’€™s in a state of flux for the Patriots — only one guy on the current roster caught a pass from Tom Brady last season (Julian Edelman). Jones competing with new faces like veterans Danny Amendola and Mike Jenkins and rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. Jones welcomes the competition.

‘€œWhen you get into the NFL, every year is going to be competition,’€ he said. ‘€œEvery year in Buffalo we had 10 receivers, 11 receivers, so you have to have a bunch of receivers going into camp because guys get hurt, things like that. As far as the competition, I’€™ve been competing every year since I got into the NFL, so it’€™s not going to be any different here. I’€™m working with the quarterbacks so when we get into OTAs and moving forward into camp and the preseason games, everybody is on one [page].
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