|04.14.10 at 6:54 pm ET|
Louie Aguiar was asked by the Patriots to keep an eye on David King, so he did. And because the former NFL punter liked what he saw the Pats now have a new punter in the fold.
The Patriots announced Wednesday that they had signed King, a former Australian Rules football player who played in 241 games for the North Melbourne Football Club, kicking 145 goals and was twice named an AFL All-Australian. He retired in 2004 to become an assistant coach with the Richmond Football Club.
King had spent the past two years training in the United States in an attempt to break into American professional football.
It was a journey that mostly likely wouldn’t have been nearly as fruitful if not for a recommendation from Aguiar.
Aguiar, who played punted and kicked in the NFL from 1991-2000 and now runs the Aguiar Kicking Academy, got a call prior to his organization’s Pro Camp in Las Vegas from Patriots special teams coach Scott O’Brien.
O’Brien wouldn’t be able to attend the April 1 workout the 105 punter, kickers, and long-snappers were putting on for 17 coaches and scouts from both the NFL and CFL, but having previously seen King wanted to request that Aguiar paid a little extra attention to the Australian.
“[O’Brien] wanted my honest opinion if he could play in the NFL or not,” Aguiar said from near his Illinois home. “I knew he was a strong-legged kid. So for the five days I watched him very closely, looked at his technique, where he was hitting the ball, going right and left. He did a really good job.
“I was really surprised at how far along he was considering he had never done this for a living, and how good his technique was. I think it a big reason was because as a youngster he didn’t have any bad habits.”
By the time the camp was done, Aguiar had no doubt about King’s ability.
“Coming out (of the six-day camp) I had him reanked as the No. 1 punter,” Aguiar said. “He’s a very quick-legged kid. And you can’t miss that Australian accent.
“I really like the way he comes through the ball. He’s a big, tall kid (6-foot-2), and he has a real live, quick leg. I was impressed.”
Aguiar also said King had been working on his kickoffs, showing some signs that it could be an added part of his game.
|04.14.10 at 2:10 pm ET|
NFL officials announced that the complete 2010 regular-season schedule will be announced Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NFL.com and the NFL Network.
|04.14.10 at 12:34 pm ET|
FOXBORO — There’s a great debate among some Patriots fans about Michigan outside linebacker/defensive end Brandon Graham.
Graham had terrific production in college, but does not fit the traditional mold of a New England outside linebacker. As has been stated before, the 6-foot-1, 260-pound Graham is closer to Elvis Dumervil (5-foot-11, 250 pounds) than Willie McGinest (6-foot-5, 270 pounds). Meanwhile, some other players who enjoyed a lesser level of success at the college level at the same position (like Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes, both of whom are 6-foot-3) are more in the mold of the typical outside linebacker that the Patriots have targeted in the past. (Colleague DJ Bean has referred to the 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 cutoff as “the Belichick Line” for outside linebackers.)
So if all three are on the board at No. 22, do you break the mold and go with Graham, or stick with the traditional model and go for a player like Kindle or Hughes?
In his pre-draft press conference Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn’t tipping his hand either way, but did acknowledge that the team has a set of physical standards for every position, including the outside linebacker spot. Those standards aren’t necessarily set in stone, but they are a part of the overall evaluation process.
“Some players exceed that standard, some players fall below it. It doesn’t say that players who fall below or don’t meet that standard aren’t good players. Barry Sanders was short for a running back. I don’t think there were that many complaints about the way Barry Sanders played.
“I think when you draft a player like that, you understand that you’re drafting a player that’s shorter than average for his position or he’s slower than average for his position, or he has longer arms than average for his position,” he added. “That’s not the final grade on the player, but it’s something you recognize. When you get a player at that position that’s going to be amongst the fastest players at his position in the league. Or its going to be below average at his position. So we identify that with a player.
“But we do have a standard for every position. Absolutely. So when the scout goes to grade a player, he’s either average in height, above average in height or whatever it happens to be.”
|04.14.10 at 11:53 am ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday morning they have received a “pretty decent” number of inquiries about their three second-round picks — the 44th, 47th and 53rd overall selections in the draft — but those phone calls haven’t surprised the New England coach.
“I’m not saying that anything will or won’t happen,” he said as part of a pre-draft press conference. “I think that’s pretty common at this point in the process, a week or so before the draft, where you start to talk to teams and try to get a feel for whether they would or wouldn’t be interested in moving a particular pick, just so that it expedites the process a little bit when you get to draft day and you only have … what is it — 15 minutes in the first round, 10 in the second, five in the third. Whatever round you’re talking about.
“You kind of get some of that preliminary work out of the way of ‘This team is pretty interested in moving, this team isn’t interested in moving for whatever reasons are.’ It just expedites the process.
“We’ve already had, like I said, a pretty decent number of inquiries into picks that we have in the second round, and that doesn’t surprise me. There’s teams that don’t have them, and then, there’s other teams that are looking at the potential quality of players there and there’s some interest.”
Belichick was asked if those deals involved players, or were they a simple swap of picks.
“It’s not so much a specific trade of ‘I’ll give you this, you give me that,’” Belichick said. “It’s more of ‘Would you be interested in moving this pick, moving up, or moving down in the first round, or whatever it happens to be?’ It’s more in that nature.”
|04.14.10 at 11:41 am ET|
FOXBORO — Much has been made about the Jets recent acquisition of wide receiver Santonio Holmes, as well as the Dolphins reported trade for receiver Brandon Marshall. At his pre-draft press conference on Wednesday morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if the moves that have been made within the division have an impact on New England’s overall draft strategy.
“Every team is going to improve by next weekend. Whatever teams draft and whatever moves they make, they’ll be a better team than they are right now. And that’s obvious,” Belichick said. “I think the big thing for us to focus on our team. We all know that teams make moves in the offseason to bring players on to their teams and how those work out, we ourselves don’t know until all the pieces come together and everything gets put in and you actually have a body of work to evaluate — preseason games, practices, some regular season games. Whatever it is.
“I think right now for anybody to try to project how that’s going to turn out other than the way it looks on paper is … it’s stretching it quite a bit.”
|04.14.10 at 10:43 am ET|
Multiple outlets are reporting that the Broncos are trading controversial wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins for a pair of second-round draft picks. Once the deal is complete, ESPN is reporting that Marshall will sign a contract extension that will be among the largest in league history. Marshall, 26, had 101 catches for 1,120 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last season, but was suspended during the preseason last year after he acted inappropriately at a preseason workout. Marshall is the second big-name receiver to join the AFC East in the last week — on Sunday, the Jets acquired Santonio Holmes from Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick.
|04.14.10 at 12:40 am ET|
WEEI.com isn’t batting an eye when it comes to the 2010 NFL Draft. From interviews with experts to original mock drafts to weekly looks at potential Patriots, this is the place to be leading up to draft weekend, April 22-24.
My top 10 remains locked into place, but there is a ton of movement, beginning with the Broncos pick at 11 and well into the second round. A familiar face turns up at No. 22, thus redrawing the Patriots’ draft map.
1. St. Louis (1-15) Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma Who knew that when we put Bradford in this slot early on that it would be a set-it-and-forget-it pick? There hasn’t even been a murmur of chatter that the Rams won’t take the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner.
2. Detroit (2-14) Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State Many prognosticators still have Suh going in this slot, and though he would be a great presence on the Detroit defense, such a selection just wouldn’t be consistent with how the Lions have drafted in recent years. Okung has the potential to be an All-Pro left tackle.
3. Tampa Bay (3-13) Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma Suh is the bigger name and will sell more tickets, but McCoy absolutely makes plays fall apart. As for whether he will help the team avoid having their home games blacked out, McCoy’s character makes him just one introductory press conference away from winning over football fans in Tampa Bay.
4. Washington (4-12) Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa Just like with the Lions’ pick, what is the use of investing in a top quarterback if you aren’t going to protect him? Not to jinx Bulaga, but the last Iowa tackle to go in the Top 5 was Robert Gallery (second overall, 2004).
5. Kansas City (4-12) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska Time will likely tell if Tyson Jackson third overall wasn’t one of Scott Pioli’s better moves, but landing the top-ranked player with the fifth overall pick would help repair his reputation.
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