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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Allen Bailey

01.31.11 at 8:57 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 2011 NFL draft.

Allen Bailey

Position: Defensive line

School: Miami (Fla.)

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 278 pounds

Achievements: All-ACC second team (2010); All-ACC first team (2009); Miami Strength Training Athlete of the Year (2009, 2010); Nagurski Trophy Watch List (2010)

What he brings: Though he is somewhat undersized for the defensive line, Bailey features tremendous strength, speed (he has been timed as low as 4.65 in the 40) and athleticism. While he spent his senior season lining up primarily as a defensive end, he also has experience as an interior lineman, having played defensive tackle through the first half of his junior year. Bailey admitted in a recent interview that he is still working to improve his technique and hands so that he can shed blocks. He recorded 19 sacks in his college career, including seven as a senior. He recorded 31 tackles for a loss in his career, including 11 in 2010.

Where the Patriots could get him: Bailey projects as a possible late-first round or second round pick, so he could be available to the Patriots with either the No. 28 or No. 33 pick.

Notes: His time in the weight room has turned him into a physical specimen who once measured as having just 8 percent body fat. His vertical leap has been measured in excess of 36 inches. … He stayed at Miami for all four years, playing 50 games, just two shy of Brandon Meriweather for most in school history. … Though he spent most of 2010 as a defensive end, he moved to the interior line on some third-down plays. … Comes from a small town called Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island in Georgia. Once killed an alligator with a shovel.

Video:

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, allen bailey, Brandon Meriweather, hurricanes

Bill Belichick’s AFC squad on losing end at Pro Bowl

01.31.11 at 1:21 am ET
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In a Pro Bowl shootout Sunday afternoon in Hawaii, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the AFC came up on the short end of a 55-41 score.

In addition to the coaching staff, the Patriots were well represented in the NFL’s annual all-star game, with the statistical standouts being Wes Welker, Devin McCourty and Jerod Mayo. Welker had five catches for 34 yards, but he lost a fumble to NFC defensive back DeAngelo Hall after a short gain in the early going. Meanwhile, McCourty, in the starting lineup after Nnamdi Asomugha pulled out of the game with an injury, had three tackles and two passes defensed in his inaugural Pro Bowl experience, while Mayo, also in his first Pro Bowl, had seven tackles.

As for the rest of the group, safety Brandon Meriweather made three tackles, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork had a tackle, and offensive linemen Logan Mankins and Matt Light contributed a stop after interceptions.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Meriweather, Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo

Patriots by position: Offensive line

01.30.11 at 9:04 pm ET
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As the Patriots offseason gets underway, we’€™ve presented a snapshot of the team by position ‘€” we’€™ve already examined the defensive backs, the linebackers, the defensive line, special teams, quarterbacks, running backs, tight end and wide receivers. We’€™ll wrap things up with the offensive line:

On the roster: Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, Mark LeVoir, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Rich Ohrnberger, Quinn Ojinnaka, Sebastian Vollmer and Ryan Wendell. (Thomas Austin and Steve Maneri ended the year on the practice squad.)

2010, in three sentences: While the tackle spots were relatively steady ‘€” Vollmer on the right and Light on the left for 99 percent of the season ‘€” the guard sports were a steady rotation because of injury (Connolly and Neal) or contract problems (Mankins). But no matter who was in the lineup, the offensive line was steady in its play over the bulk of the regular season in both the running and passing game. However, things ended poorly in the playoff loss to the Jets, as Brady was sacked five times by a Jets team that rarely blitzed.
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Read More: Dan Connolly, Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins, mark levoir

Patriots by position: Wide receiver

01.30.11 at 11:41 am ET
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As the Patriots offseason gets underway, we’€™ll continue to present a snapshot of the team by position. We’€™ve already examined the defensive backs, the linebackers, the defensive line, special teams, quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends. Now, here’€™s the wide receivers:

On the roster: Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matthew Slater, Brandon Tate, Wes Welker. (Buddy Farnham ended the season on the practice squad.)

Stat standouts ‘€” Total receptions: Welker, 86; Branch (48 with Patriots, 61 overall). Total receiving yards: Welker, 848; Branch (706 with Patriots, 818 overall). Yards per catch (minimum 20 receptions): Tate, 18.0. Touchdowns: Welker, 7; Branch (5 with Patriots, 6 overall). Best single game: Two favorites for us: The first was Branch against the Lions on Thanksgiving, when he flat-out torched Detroit cornerback Alphonso Smith for three catches (two of them touchdowns) and 113 yards. The second was Welker’€™s eight-catch, 115-yard performance on Dec. 12 in the snow against the Bears in Chicago.

2010, in three sentences: Remade. The October trade of Randy Moss to Minnesota changed the look of the New England receiving corps ‘€” instead of the traditional deep threat, it was more reliant on midrange and intermediate routes. It was a success, as the Patriots’€™ passing game became one of the most difficult to defend over the second half of the season, thanks in large part to the duo of Branch and Welker.
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Read More: Brandon Tate, Buddy Farnham, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman

Observations from the Senior Bowl

01.30.11 at 6:00 am ET
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There’€™s no denying the importance of the Senior Bowl in the pre-draft process, and there is no denying that there’€™s always plenty to read into. After a week of practices, the game was finally played Saturday, with the South coming away with a 24-10 victory.

What does Saturday’€™s game mean for the Patriots, who hold four picks in the first three rounds of April’€™s draft? If recent history suggests anything, it could mean plenty.

In four of the last six years, the Patriots used their top pick on a player who participated in the Senior Bowl (Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Brandon Meriweather, Logan Mankins), so perhaps the next Patriots draftee was on display Saturday in Mobile, Ala.

Here’€™s what we learned after a week of practices and Saturday’€™s game:

Cameron Jordan might not be available when the Patriots pick at No. 17

Throughout the week, the Cal defensive end really showed that he could be gone before the Patriots can nab him at No. 17. Jordan has great speed for a guy who figures to stay on the line in a 3-4, and could cause plenty of matchup problems at the next level. At 6-foot-4 1/8 and 287 pounds, the Patriots would probably prefer he put on a little weight by the combine, but when all is said and done, it might take a move up in the draft for him to even be in the picture.

On Saturday, Jordan made his presence felt by deflecting passes and jamming his way into the backfield, forcing quarterbacks to leave the collapsed pocket. Something that should be a huge plus in the eyes of a team like the Patriots is that he has three years of experience as a 3-4 end, meaning he’€™s no stranger to playing the five-technique.

As a whole, this draft features a fair number of guys capable of stepping in and contributing on the end for 3-4 teams, something that hasn’€™t been the case in recent years. The question is whether Jordan, who boosted his stock throughout the week, is now out of reach for one of the teams that could use him.

Pass-rushers didn’€™t disappoint

Even without the impressive crop of pass-rushing underclassmen, Saturday served as further proof that there are plenty of solid options for teams who need help getting after the quarterback. Texas A&M’€™s Von Miller furthered his case for top 10 consideration by harassing Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and holding up against the North’€™s running game. Despite the Butkus Award winner’€™s solid performance, he’€™s still tough to see as a Patriot given his tendency to be one-dimensional and lack of size at 6-foot-2 5/8. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Cameron Jordan, Von Miller,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey

01.29.11 at 5:02 pm 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 2011 NFL draft.

Mike Pouncey

Position: Center/Guard

School: Florida

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 310 pounds

Achievements: 2009 AP Second-Team All-American, 2009 Pro Football Weekly All-America Team, AP First-Team All-SEC selection, 2009 Phil Steele First-Team All-SEC honoree, 2008 Coaches’ second-team All-SEC selection, 2008 AP All-SEC Honorable Mention, 2008 CollegeFootballNews.com All-Sophomore.

What he brings: With Logan Mankins suddenly feeling unwanted in New England, Pouncey could bring another potentially dominant interior offensive lineman into the fold, blending power, size, agility and versatility. He started his Gators career as a defensive tackle before moving to right guard in his sophomore season and eventually replacing his twin – Maurkice Pouncey – as center last season. As a true freshman in 2007, Pouncey saw action in every game at defensive tackle, starting the final four games, with eight tackles and an interception against Chad Henne and Michigan in the Capital One Bowl.

Pouncey moved back to the offensive side of the ball in 2008, starting the next 28 games at right guard and earning postseason All-SEC accolades from conference coaches following each season. Pouncey once again made a position change in 2010, sliding left to take over his brother’s former spot at center. Like his brother, Maurkice, the No. 18 overall pick of the 2010 draft, Mike is a good fit at any of the three interior positions, though the conversion didn’t come without problems.

Pouncey struggled with inaccurate shotgun snaps the first few games of the season and had one in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State on Jan. 1. But he also showed the very valuable ability to get 15 yards downfield quickly and wipe out a would-be tackler, freeing up his QB for a TD run. NFL teams value a versatile interior OL and he rates as the top center available.

Where the Patriots could get him: With the 28th or 33rd pick.

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Florida Gators football, Logan Mankins, Maurkice Pouncey

Patriots by position: Tight end

01.29.11 at 2:37 pm ET
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As the Patriots offseason gets underway, we’€™ll continue to present a snapshot of the team by position. We’€™ve already examined the defensive backs, the linebackers, the defensive line, special teams, quarterbacks and running backs. Now, here’€™s the tight end position:

On the roster: Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez. (Carson Butler ended the season on the practice squad.)

Stat standouts ‘€” Total receptions: Hernandez, 45; Gronkowski, 42. Total receiving yards: Hernandez, 563 yards; Gronkowski, 546 yards. Touchdowns: Gronkowski, 10; Hernandez, 6. Best single game: For Hernandez, he announced his presence at the NFL level in Week 2 when he proved to be a matchup nightmare for the Jets, catching six balls for 101 yards. As for Gronkowski, he had several big games, but our favorite was against the Steelers ‘€” a week after he committed a few big errors in a loss to Cleveland, he had five catches for 72 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Pittsburgh.

2010, in three sentences: Amazing. After an offseason where the Patriots performed an extreme makeover on the tight end spot, the rookies ‘€” and Crumpler, who was an invaluable mentor for both of them ‘€” became an important part of the New England passing game. The two youngsters had an occasional problem disappearing in big games, but after years of shuffling tight ends through Foxboro, the position appears to be set nicely for the next several seasons.
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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Alge Crumpler, Carson Butler, Rob Gronkowski
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