|05.02.14 at 9:20 am ET|
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 is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Tight end
Weight: 265 pounds
Achievements: 2013 first-team All-Big Ten
What he brings: Fiedorowicz is more of a classic blocking tight end with a big body and build who can block very well not just at the point of attack but on the next level. The 22-year-old isn’t an elite receiver but can catch the ball well and shows natural route-running and receiving ability. He isn’t the fastest tight end, but he can create enough separation with his feet and big frame.
Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3
Notes: Fiedorowicz recorded nine touchdowns, 80 receptions and 830 yards during his career at Iowa, with 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns coming in his senior campaign. … He was named most outstanding tight end/wide receiver at the 2014 Senior Bowl. … Fiedorowicz ran a 4.73 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, benching 225 pounds 25 times and finishing the 3-cone drill in 7.10 seconds.
ESPN: 10 perfect Patriots: TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
Hawk Central: Hawkeye tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz draws attention at NFL pro day
Video: Here are Fiedorowicz’s highlights against Minnesota in 2013.
|05.01.14 at 10:38 pm ET|
The assault and battery charge is related to a fight Hernandez is said to have had with a fellow inmate, identified as Andrew Booker. The threat is from a Nov. 1 incident when Hernandez allegedly threatened to shoot and kill a guard who stopped the former Patriots tight end from getting extra food.
Booker’s attorney, Michael P. Malone, told reporters that his client will not testify against Hernandez, saying Booker “doesn’t want to be a rat.”
Hernandez remains in the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth accused of murdering Odin Lloyd last summer.
|05.01.14 at 8:29 pm ET|
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock opened the pre-draft process linking the Patriots to Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, saying New England would be a “logical” landing spot for Amaro if the Patriots end up sticking at No. 29.
And now, with a week to go before the draft, Mayock still believes Amaro would make sense for the Patriots. On a lengthy conference call Thursday, Mayock acknowledged there are some other areas of need for New England, but Amaro would give the Patriots an “intriguing” new option at tight end.
“Obviously (the Patriots have) had some age and injury issues on their interior defensive line with (Vince) Wilfork and Tommy Kelly,” Mayock said. “(But) I also think a tight end would be intriguing there. A guy like Jace Amaro from Texas Tech, who I have a second-round grade on, kind of gives them another option at tight end with (Rob) Gronkowski. I find that intriguing, kind of playing that (Aaron) Hernandez role.
“I think the safety situation at some point needs to be addressed,” he added. “As you know with Bill (Belichick), you never know what’s going to happen except for the fact he’s probably going to move down and around.”
As a junior in 2013, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Amaro broke the NCAA all-time record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end with 1,352. He had the chance to meet with the Patriots while at the combine in Indianapolis, and said New England “would be an ideal place” for him to end up.
‘It was good ‘ they broke my tape down. They look like they like me a lot. They said I fit their system very well so I guess we’ll see how it goes,’ Amaro said when asked about his meeting with the Patriots. ‘I think that starting [with] maybe one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game would be a great start for me, especially in a system like that. Yeah, I’ve taken notice of teams like that. I think that would be an ideal place for me.’
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|05.01.14 at 5:42 pm ET|
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.
Weight: 190 pounds
Achievements: 2013, 2011 first-team All-Big 12, three-time University of Missouri Cornerback of the Year, 2012 University of Missouri Kansas City Player of the Year
What he brings: According to scouts, Gaines is a confident player with good athleticism and a solid ability to anticipate routes. They also say, though, that he needs to drop his shoulder to make more thorough hits and could convert more of his blocked passes into interceptions.
Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 4-5
Notes: in 2013 Gaines had 75 tackles with three pass breakups and five interceptions as well as four tackles for loss despite missing two games with a strained quad. Gaines, who was team captain, also had an 11-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown during the SEC championship game against Auburn. … Gaines became a starting cornerback during the 2011 season and had a career year as he set a Missouri record and ranked fourth in the NCAA with 18 passes defended. … Gaines played in all 13 games as a true freshman at Missouri in 2010. He finished the year with 26 tackles and a pass breakup in his first year with the Tigers. … At the NFL combine, Gaines only participated in the bench press because of an injury to his pelvis that limited his offseason workouts.
The Kansas City Star: MU’s E.J. Gaines believes making big players more important than being a big player
Columbia Daily Tribune: Senior E.J. Gaines’ experience brings with it wisdom, skill
Video: Here is a video highlighting Gaines’ time with Missouri.
|05.01.14 at 4:11 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There have been a lot of changes at linebacker for the Patriots to this point in the offseason. Dane Fletcher and Brandon Spikes have departed via free agency, while linebacker coach Pepper Johnson left for a new challenge in Buffalo. Meanwhile, the team awaits the return of veteran Jerod Mayo, who was out for the bulk of the 2013 season because of a torn pectoral muscle
But Dont’a Hightower said Thursday that even with all the changes, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the state of the linebacker group in New England heading into a new year. The return of Mayo and the emergence of Jamie Collins — as well as his own strong finish in 2013 — all bode well for 2014, according to Hightower.
“Definitely with those guys — myself, Mayo, a longtime vet, and Jamie Collins coming up and playing the way he did last year, he definitely stepped up,” Hightower said. “I feel like that’s another thing that’s going to be real fun this year, having that linebacking corps right there. We have guys in that room who can also step up and play much like Dane did, but I feel like it’s going to be real fun with those three.
“Spikes was a big heart on the defense. (He) played with a lot of emotion,” Hightower said. “Dane was a great special teams guy as well as a guy to come in and play as well as he did. He did a great job. But we’re building right now. We’re all kind of getting back to what we’re doing, watching a little film, talking about things. I think it will be interesting to see how things (unfold). As a unit, we’ve been watching a lot of film together, learning the basic stuff right now so we’re not coming in to OTAs with too much on our plate. We’re teaching some of the younger guys and getting in with that.”
Hightower also pointed out that youngsters Steve Beauharnais, Ja’Gared Davis and Chris White are working hard, but has been particularly impressed by the work of Mayo.
“Working out now with him, he looks great,” Hightower said. “He’s a hard worker, always been a hard worker, always going to do what’s best for the team and what’s best for himself. I’m not sure how long he’s been up here or what he’s been doing, but he looks great.”
|05.01.14 at 2:01 pm ET|
The NFL said Thursday that Willie McGinest will announce the Patriots’ second-round pick in this year’s draft.
McGinest, who played for New England from 1994-2005, is one of 32 former players who will make the second-round announcements, a group that includes Arizona’s Aeneas Williams, Buffalo’s Andre Reed and Chicago’s Mike Singletary.
This marks the fourth year in which each selection in the second round is announced by a former player — Kevin Faulk (2013), Troy Brown (2012) and Andre Tippett (2011) were New England’s representatives over the last three years.
|05.01.14 at 1:04 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Linebacker Dont’a Hightower has always been straightforward when it comes to speaking with the media. And so on Thursday morning, when the topic on what he’d like to be doing when he hits the field in 2014 came up, he didn’t hesitate to offer an answer.
“Third down, honestly, I’m just gonna put it out there, I’d much rather rush or blitz than cover. Zone, man, or whatever,” he said Thursday during a break in offseason workouts at Gillette Stadium.
“Third down is a fun down — whether you’re covering or whatever you’re doing — because you can do different kind of things and come at the quarterback all kind of ways. As long as I’m able to be on the field on third down, or whatever they ask me to do, I’m willing to do it.”
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Hightower has not seen a lot of work as a pass rusher in sub packages and other passing downs, instead working more in coverage. While he’d like the opportunity to chase after the quarterback — as opposed to running backs, tight ends or wide receivers — he acknowledges that’s not his decision. Instead, it’s “a Bill Belichick thing.”
“That’s up to the coaching staff, where they want to move people around and the scheme they might have or whatever,” he said. “Again, if that’s what they want me to do, or they ask me if I want to do it, of course. But it will definitely be a Bill Belichick thing.’
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