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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Hawaii WR Greg Salas

02.07.11 at 3:46 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.

Greg Salas

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Hawaii

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: Third-Team All-American (2010), First-Team All-WAC (2009, 2010), Two-time WAC Player of the Week, led WAC in receiving yards (2010). All-time school leader with 4,345 yards receiving.

What he brings: An ideal package of size, toughness and reliability. Salas does not have elite speed — a 4.6 40 is not a ticket to the first round — and won’t ever be a deep threat in the NFL. His only chance to stick is as a slot receiver, a role he excelled at for Hawaii (as Davone Bess did before him).

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Greg Salas, Potential Patriots,

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady unanimous winner of NFL MVP

02.06.11 at 12:45 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the unanimous winner of the Associated Press MVP for the 2010 season on Sunday afternoon. It’€™s the first unanimous selection, and second MVP honor of Brady’€™s career.

Brady finished the season with 3,900 passing yards and led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. He also finished the regular season with a streak of 335 straight pass attempts without an interception to set an NFL record, and went 11 straight starts without an interception.

“It is always flattering to be chosen for such a prestigious award,” Brady told the Associated Press. “But I also look at it as a team award, as nothing in football gets accomplished without the mental toughness and determination of every player and coach associated with that team.

“I am very humbled to be a part of an organization where winning comes first, and our goals are based around the success of the team.”

Overall, Brady led the NFL in 2010 with a 111.0 passer rating, the second time in his career that he finished the season with a passer rating over 100. The 111.0 passer rating is the fifth best all-time. Brady also set an NFL record by throwing at least two touchdowns without an interception in each of the final nine games of the year, and had at least one touchdown in all 16 regular-season games.

“I feel our team really grew together over the course of the season. It was a privilege to be a part of this team,” Brady said, according to The Associated Press. “My only disappointment is that we couldn’t take advantage of our opportunity in the playoffs, but hopefully we learn from that and use it as motivation toward accomplishing our goals for next season.”

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Curtis Martin comes up short in bid for 2011 NFL Hall of Fame class

02.05.11 at 8:03 pm ET
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Cornerback Deion Sanders and running back Marshall Faulk led a class of seven new inductees into the NFL Hall of Fame. Those two first-time eligible players were joined in this year’s class by tight end Shannon Sharpe, defensive end Richard Dent, linebackers Les Richter and Chris Hanburger and NFL Films founder Ed Sabol.

Former Patriots and Jets running back Curtis Martin, a finalist for this year’s Hall of Fame class, was not selected for entry into Canton. He reportedly made the cut from 15 to 10, but did not make the next round of cuts from 10 to five Hall of Fame inductees.

Sanders, who recorded 53 interceptions in his 14-year career, is regarded as one of the best — if not the best — cover corners of all time. He also proved a dynamic kick and punt returner and occasional wide receiver during his career with the Falcons, 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins and Ravens.

Faulk, the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1994, Offensive Player of the Year from 1999-2001 and league MVP in 2000, was an impact rusher and receiver, finishing his career with over 12,000 rushing yards and more than 6,000 receiving yards. In 1999, he became the second running back ever to go over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards, and he recorded a then-NFL record 26 touchdowns in 2000.

Martin, who started his career with three straight seasons of more than 1,000 yards rushing with the Patriots before jumping to the Jets as a free agent after the 1997 season, had 14,101 rushing yards in 11 seasons, the fourth most yards on the ground in NFL history.

For more on this year’s Hall of Fame class, click here. For complete Patriots coverage, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: chris hanburger, Curtis Martin, Deion Sanders, Ed Sabol

Leigh Bodden confident he will recover

02.05.11 at 10:52 am ET
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The Patriots lost cornerback Leigh Bodden before the season started, depriving the Pats of their most experienced player at the position. Bodden told reporters in Dallas that he expects to make a full recovery from a tear in his rotator cuff.

“I have the most confidence in the world; I’m going to have my best season next year,” Bodden told reporters of his recovery. “I’m rehabbing it good, I’m lifting on it. It’s been five months. … “If I was playing in the Super Bowl and had to play, I would play … I feel great. It’s strong. I’ve been lifting on it, not too much heavy weights, but the stability is good.”

The 29-year-old, who entered the season projected as the Patriots’ top cover corner, said that he suffered the injury on his second play during an Aug. 26 preseason game against the Rams. He tried to play through it, and lamented that he likely made the injury worse, resulting in his season-ending surgery in September.

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Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty finishes second in NFL DROY voting to Suh

02.04.11 at 8:16 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty finished a distant second to Detroit defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh in the voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting on Friday.

There’€™s no shame, however. At least McCourty got a vote ‘€” in fact, McCourty, who finished the season with seven interceptions, was the only defensive rookie other than Suh to receive a single tally ‘€” in fact the defensive back got two. Meanwhile, Suh nabbed 48 of the 50 votes, becoming the first Lion to grab the honor since Al Baker in 1978.

As for McCourty, he started all 16 games for the Patriots and finished the season with 82 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and 17 passes defensed. He tied for second in the NFL and led all rookies with seven interceptions on the season, recording four of them over three consecutive games (Weeks 11-13). The seven interceptions by a Patriots rookie are second only to the eight by Mike Haynes in 1976. In addition, he was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.

‘€œDevin’€™s really been a consistent player for us all year, from the first rookie minicamp after the draft to all through the season,’€ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said late in the 2010 season. ‘€œIn the spring, spring workouts, training camp, preseason, he’€™s really the same guy every day ‘€” very alert, attentive, very professional. You wouldn’€™t know he’€™s a rookie. He acts and prepares like he’€™s been doing it for five or six years.

‘€œHe’€™s very attentive. He understands a lot of little things. When you give him a coaching point, he understands that it doesn’€™t apply to everything (and) it may only apply to one particular situation or one little thing. But when that comes up again, he’€™s usually on it. He’€™s made a lot of improvement.’€

Read More: Al Baker, Bill Belichick, Devin McCourty, Mike Haynes

Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Belichick/Goodell: ‘Tired of the whole subject’

02.04.11 at 5:57 pm ET
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in an interview with the Big Show from the site of the Super Bowl in Dallas, acknowledged his surprise that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell voiced displeasure with the handling of New England coach Bill Belichick‘s apology for stealing signals in 2007. Rather than detail his own feelings on the conversation, however, Kraft expressed his exhaustion with the subject before respectfully but firmly declining to discuss it.

“I must tell you, this is three and a half years later,” said Kraft. “I can’€™t speak for why other people do things or don’€™t do things. I can just tell you that I’€™m tired of the whole subject, and it’€™s something I’€™m not going to discuss with anyone, to be honest.”

Asked a follow-up about whether he ever was asked to talk with Goodell after Belichick issued a written apology and declined to take questions from the media, Kraft said, “I’€™m done talking about the subject.”

As for more immediate concerns, Kraft said that “there’s still an ache” that resulted from the Patriots getting ousted by the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs.

“I just wish we were playing in this game. That was our plan. Being down here, seeing this great stadium,” said Kraft. “There’€™s still an ache. We had a great season, but unfortunately we just didn’€™t finish it off.

“We’€™ve had four previous situations where we went to the bye. Each of the times we had it, we went to the Super Bowl,” he added. “It was a great locker room, great group of guys, good blend of veterans and young players.”

Among other topics:

–He emphasized that the Patriots are well-positioned going forward thanks to their wealth of draft picks, including three of the first 33 picks in the draft as well as five of the top 75 selections.

–Regarding the Pats‘ top selection (No. 17 overall, obtained from the Raiders in exchange for Richard Seymour at the start of the 2009 season), Kraft said that the Patriots pushed to acquire Oakland’s 2011 first-rounder (rather than a pick in an earlier year) because they were hopeful that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement would be in place that would have a reasonable pay scale for early first-round picks. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Logan Mankins, New York Jets, Richard Seymour

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers

02.04.11 at 4:24 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.

Akeem Ayers

Position: Outside Linebacker

School: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 255 pounds

Achievements: 2010: Second-team Walter Camp All-American and third-team AP All-American. Ayers was one of five Butkus Award finalists, finishing third. A Lott IMPACT Trophy quarterfinalist and a Phil Steele Mid-Season All-American. Ayers was on the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Rotary Lombardi Award pre-season watch lists. All-Pac-10 first team by the league’s coaches.

What he brings: One of the best and most versatile defensive players in the nation, Ayers is considered among the top athletic defensive players available in the draft. He made the transition from being the No. 1 defensive end prospect on the West coast coming out of high school to strongside outside linebacker. He played both up as a linebacker and down as a defensive end in college. He made the transition to OLB after redshirting in 2007. Ayers only started three of 12 games as redshirt freshman. He was named honorable mention All Pac-10 with 40 tackles and five tackles for loss, including four sacks.

In 2008, Ayers had a breakout sophomore campaign — 55 tackles and consistent demonstrations of big-play ability with 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions (two for touchdowns) and two forced fumbles (returning one for a TD). All of the big plays drew the attention of NFL scouts, most of whom believe he is the most athletic and versatile defenders in the draft and that he has a huge upside.

Where the Patriots could get him: No.  17, 28 or in the second round.

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Akeem Ayers, New England Patriots, nfl
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