|03.26.10 at 12:53 am ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots center Dan Koppen can remember his draft day experience like it was yesterday.
The Boston College offensive lineman didn’t hear his name called until the fifth round of the 2003 draft — the second day of the draft — and when he did, he was all by himself, upstairs at his family’s house in Pennsylvania “because nobody wanted to be by me that day,” he recalled Thursday.
“It was kind of crazy,” he recalled Thursday. “I saw my name on the bottom line at first — actually, I was upstairs and we had a satellite upstairs and cable downstairs and there was a delay, so I heard my family go crazy downstairs, because I was upstairs alone, because nobody wanted to be by me that day. I heard them yell and then I saw it, and then the phone rang. So it was kind of a crazy day.”
For Koppen, it was a “nerve-wracking” process.
“I had a chance to play golf that morning, so I got done with the round and my name still wasn’t called, so that wasn’t the greatest,” he said. “It’s a long process, but really, it doesn’t matter where you’re drafted. It’s what you do when you get here and how you’re able to contribute to the team.
“For guys that are going through it, just take it for what it is. Enjoy it. It’s the only time you’re going to go through it.”
For more from Koppen, check out our story here on his thoughts about the leadership in the New England locker room, as well as the pride he and the rest of the offensive line have taken in their consistency and durability over the last five seasons.
|03.25.10 at 11:21 pm ET|
Willie McGinest isn’t walking through that door.
Following a 2009 season in which the Patriots finished 23rd in the league in sacks, analysts have diagnosed the pass-rush as the Patriots’ primary need in next month’s NFL Draft. You name the college 4-3 ends turned potential outside linebacker, and they’ve been discussed: Brandon Graham, Sergio Kindle, Everson Griffen and Ricky Sapp are just some of the names that have been tossed about.
But of the bunch, Sapp might be one of the few with the combination of size, speed, and 3-4 experience that the Patriots are after.
“People have asked me [which system is best for him] several times and I just think he could be a fit [in the 3-4],” Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said. “If you ask Ricky, he’ll tell you he loves to rush the quarterback, and he does. It’s a natural thing that he can do. His body type, I think is better suited for a 3-4 scheme, where he can disguise his blitzes a little bit better. Tied in with his coverages and drop and rush and different things, I think the Patriots would be a good fit.”
The Patriots were the first team to privately work out Sapp, which took place last week in a session that consisted of ball work and other drills. Sapp told WEEI.com after the workout that he has enjoyed the contact with the Patriots thus far. More importantly, he’s taken a liking to the playbook.
“The defense they run, I kind of picked up on it really easy,” Sapp said of the workout. “It’s kind of some of the same things we ran at Clemson this year, so that was the most surprising thing. I picked up their defense pretty fast.”
|03.25.10 at 12:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just wrapped up a 10-minute Q&A session with Patriots center Dan Koppen down here at Gillette Stadium, and one of the big topics was leadership. Koppen echoed the words of cornerback Leigh Bodden, who said recently that there was good leadership on the team, but it could always be better.
And like Bodden, Koppen openly speculated that this might be his time to step forward and become more of a vocal presence in the locker room.
“I think everybody needs to do their part,” he said when asked about the state of leadership in the Patriots’ locker room. “Really, that just starts with doing your job and coming in here and working out hard every day and … people like myself who maybe haven’t been as vocal in the past, maybe I need to step up and get a little bit more vocal.
“I may not be the most vocal guy, but maybe that role will change a little bit. Hopefully, we’ll start that now.”
Koppen said that last season, it wasn’t necessarily a case of that leadership going missing.
“I just don’t think we went out there and performed the way we needed to perform. We’ve got a good locker room. We always have. And we always will,” he said. “But it was one of those things that winning takes care of a lot of things. And when you’re not playing well and you’re losing, that’s when all the stuff creeps in. So you have to stay strong and fight through all that stuff.”
Koppen also said that quarterback Tom Brady — who was absent for the early stages of the offseason program — didn’t necessarily get a lot of grief when he showed up a couple of days ago.
“Not necessarily for that. He got more grief for that Earth Day ad he did,” Koppen said with a smile. “He just had the general ‘make-fun-of-this…’ He deserved it. He understood it. It was for a good cause.”
Koppen was asked if Brady got more grief for that or the pictures of him posing with a goat that popped up a few years back.
“The goat’s still up there,” Koppen laughed. “No. 1.”
|03.25.10 at 10:32 am ET|
While the Patriots have been looking at a wide variety of veteran free agent receivers in an attempt to bolster their receiving corps, don’t expect them to go after veteran Kevin Curtis. A league source tells me that Curtis, who was cut loose by Philadelphia earlier this offseason, has already heard from a number of teams, but the Patriots aren’t one of them.
The 6-foot, 186-pound Curtis is a 31-year-old who has been in the NFL for seven seasons, and has finished with 30-plus catches in five of those seven years. His best season came in 2007 when he caught 77 passes for 1,110 yards and six touchdowns with Philadelphia. However, he has struggled the last couple of seasons because of injury, including a knee problem that limited him to 12 games the last two years.
|03.25.10 at 9:38 am ET|
Patriots president Jonathan Kraft made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed the team’s recent maneuverings. “I don’t think the offseason is over,” Kraft said. “I think we’re definitely more secure in the core unit of our team. … We had a number of people on our team who were priorities, and we’ve taken care of them, which I think leads us to believe we’re in a better place. … I think we are on our way to having a materially better team than we did at the end of last season.”
Kraft said the Patriots are in good position to make some key additions to the roster, starting with a deep draft for which the team is stocked with a dozen picks. “We always felt that this draft would be a huge draft,” he said, noting the labor uncertainty has led to more quality collegians declaring early. Additionally, Kraft added, “I think between June and the start of the season, you will probably see significantly more players getting released with veteran-type experience than you have in the past.”
Asked about contract talks with Tom Brady, Kraft echoed comments made by his father earlier this week at the NFL owners meetings. “Tom’s going to be a part of this football team, and I think if you’re a fan of the team, that’s what you want to take away from it,” Kraft said. “I think both sides want to be together, and it’s just a matter of working out the details in a way that’s good for both sides in a time frame that’s good for both sides. The bottom line is he’s going to be the quarterback of the New England Patriots.”
|03.24.10 at 8:08 pm ET|
We went over some of this earlier in the week, but we now know the exact spots where the Patriots will pick in this year’s draft:
1st round: 22nd overall
2nd round: 44th overall, acquired from the Jaguars
2nd round: 47th overall, acquired from the Titans
2nd round: 53rd overall
4th round: 119th overall
6th round: 190th overall
6th round: 205th overall (compensatory)
7th round: 229th overall
7th round: 231st overall, acquired from the Eagles
7th round: 247th overall, (compensatory)
7th round: 248th overall (compensatory)
7th round: 250th overall (compensatory)
|03.24.10 at 4:36 pm ET|
Pretty much covered it with the title, but we had a ton of e-mails on Tuesday about what the new rules changes for overtime mean. So thanks to our man Berger from the Dale and Holley show, here’s a complete PDF document — direct from the NFL offices — that details all the rules changes involving overtime that were recently passed by the owners.
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