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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: West Virginia DE Will Clarke

04.26.14 at 9:10 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 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.

WILL CLARKE

Position: Defensive end

School: West Virginia

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 271 pounds

Achievements: 2013 second-team All-Big 12, 2012 All-Big 12 honorable mention (Associated Press)

What he brings: Clarke has ideal size, a strong, athletic frame and an explosive reaction off the snap. Analysts note that he can become too stiff and that he plays too tall.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: During the 2013 season, Clarke led the team with six sacks and 17 tackles for loss. … The Pittsburgh native, who majored in criminology and investigations, is the only Vest Virginia player to receive the Iron Mountaineer honor — an award given for excellence in the weight room — three times. … He has drawn comparisons to Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones.

Related articles:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: West Virginia’s Clarke offers clues that football, forensics can mix

Lombardi Ave: NFL Draft: Q&A with West Virginia Defensive End Will Clarke

Video: Here is a video highlighting Clarke’s career at West Virginia.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Will Clarke,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Stanford ILB Shayne Skov

04.25.14 at 5:26 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 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.

SHAYNE SKOV

Position: Inside linebacker

School: Stanford

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 245 pounds

Achievements: 2013 third-team AP All-American, 2013 first-team All-Pac-12, 2012 honorable mention All-Pac-12, 2010 honorable mention All-Pac-10

What he brings: A physical hard-nosed linebacker, Skov is an ideal fit for a 3-4 defense. The 23-year-old’€™s instincts, physicality and smarts make him a hard-hitting, punishing tackler with a knack for a few big plays. While his age, injury history (torn ACL) and speed/quickness are a concern, Skov is a good player to put in the middle of an NFL defense.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: In 2013 Skov recorded 5 1/2 sacks, three forced fumbles, 13 tackles for loss and 109 tackles, all career highs. … Because he only played in three games in 2011 due to tearing his ACL against Arizona, Skov was granted a medical redshirt. … He was unable to participate in Stanford’€™s pro day due to a pulled hamstring.

Related articles:

Bleacher Report: Why Shayne Skov is the premier run-stopping linebacker in the 2014 draft class

Cardinal Sports Report: Skov holds NFL workout

Video: Here are Skov’€™s 2013 highlights against Oregon.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Shayne Skov,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Louisville DE Marcus Smith

04.25.14 at 2:51 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 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.

MARCUS SMITH

Position: Defensive end

School: Louisville

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 251 pounds

Achievements: 2013 American Athletic Conference’€™s Defensive Player of the Year, 2013 first-team All-American, second-team All-American (Walter Camp. CBSSports, USA Today)

What he brings: Scouts say that Smith has a nice combination of balance and ideal body control, as well as a good initial quickness from the three-point stance. However, the book on Smith includes the fact that he plays short and lacks variety in his pass rush technique.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2 through 4

Notes: Smith took home the AAC’€™s Defensive Player of the Year award after a 2013 season where he started in 13 games and had 42 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, three passes batted, four forced fumbles and a blocked kick. His 14.5 sacks were second most amongst FBS pass rushers. Smith first made the move to defensive end during the 2011 season and became the left defensive end starter in 2012. He spent his freshman season as a converted linebacker after spending time as quarterback during prep school.

Related articles:

Yahoo Sports: How Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith showcased his NFL skills at the Senior Bowl

NFL.com: Louisville DE Marcus Smith might convert to linebacker in NFL

Video: Here is a video highlighting Smith’s career at Louisville.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Marcus Smith,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: BC RB Andre Williams

04.25.14 at 9:16 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 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.

ANDRE WILLIAMS

Position: Running back

School: Boston College

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 231 pounds

Achievements: 2013 Unanimous All-American, 2013 first-team All-ACC

What he brings: Williams is a power back who works between the tackles, carrying defenders with him. While not the fastest running back available, Williams possesses good acceleration that makes him hard to bring down with his big frame. The 21-year-old has little experience catching the ball and is not great at pass protection.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 3

Notes: In 2013 Williams ran for 2,177 yards, good for fifth highest all-time in a single season in the NCAA. He also had 18 rushing touchdowns. … He combined for 1,562 yards between 2010 and 2012. … Williams ran a 4.56 40-yard dash and a 7.27 3-cone drill at the NFL combine. … He had to skip the Senior Bowl due to an undisclosed injury, though there has been speculation that it was a shoulder injury.

Related articles:

MMQB: The Man With a Plan

BuffaloBills.com: RB Williams assured he’s ready for NFL

Video: Here are Williams 2013 highlights with Boston College.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Andre Williams,

Reports: Patriots cleared of wrongdoing regarding injury reports

04.25.14 at 8:26 am ET
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The Patriots have been cleared of any potential wrongdoing when it comes to injury reports, according to multiple media outlets.

Both Aqib Talib and Brandon Spikes took their shots at the franchise on the way out the door, saying that the team played fast-and-loose with how it reports injuries. However, an NFL spokesman said the Patriots were acting within the rules regarding Talib and Spikes.

“It was determined that the Patriots complied with the injury report procedures regarding both players,” NFL Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Aiello wrote in an email to ESPN.

“€œI know, I heard they put me on IR and stuff like that. That was just a false report,”€ Spikes said shortly after he signed with the Bills. “€œThat’€™s just how things go there. Almost like what happened with Talib and his hip.

“That was just from the labor throughout the season, man. It was just — you know how it is –€” it’€™s a tough 16 games. All I needed was rest and rehab.”

Spikes’€™ claim was the second in a month. When he signed with the Broncos, Talib said he was listed with a hip injury, but he was quick to say he had no such problem.

“œThe Patriots have their way of reporting stuff, but I haven’€™t had a hip problem since Tampa,”€ Talib said. ‘€œThe injury I had was actually a quad injury. It was reported as a hip injury, but that’€™s how they do things.”€

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aqib Talib, Brandon Spikes,

Takeaways from our Thursday afternoon talk with Devin McCourty

04.24.14 at 9:43 pm ET
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FOXBORO –€” In addition to the news the defensive backs continue to try and build some semblance of chemistry, here are three other takeaways from our Thursday afternoon chat with Devin McCourty.

1. There’s no update on a new deal.

McCourty is going into the final season of a contract he signed as a rookie in 2010, but isn’t sweating his future.

“I don’t even worry about it,” he said when asked about his contract situation after 2014. “I just focus on playing football and let everything else (get) handled by my agents and the team and all that.”

2. It means something to him that he’s associated with Rutgers.

While everyone in the New England locker room displays some level of pride in their school, McCourty has been a tremendous advocate for Rutgers over the last few years. He’s maintained a high profile on campus, coming back frequently for Pro Days and workouts. (He lamented that he didn’t make it back for Pro Day this spring.) He said Thursday that it’s important for him to keep his ties to his alma mater.

“For me, it’s key, because I think that university played a huge part in my life,” he said of Rutgers. “Some of my best friends, I met there. One of the good things is that every time we go back we get to reconnect and have some fun. I just love the program. Just seeing them, now moving to the Big 10, I got to check out one of the spring practices. It’s an exciting time for them. I know they’re ready to go. I just love being a part of it. Just anything I can do to help, I’m always there to help out.”

McCourty was asked about the current group of pre-draft prospects from Rutgers, including wide receiver Brandon Coleman.

“He’s probably the most interesting (one),” McCourty said of Coleman. “The thing I loved about him is his work ethic. I remember one summer, I went back there and we were just doing 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s with those guys and he was going each time. If one of the NFL guys got up there, he would go just to get the work. I’m happy for him, getting a chance to live out his dream.

“Really, all those guys,” he added. “They work hard there. I know whether it’s here or somewhere else, those guys will land somewhere and they’ll work their butt off trying to keep a job.”

3. The only thing constant in the NFL is change.

With the addition of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and loss of Aqib Talib and Steve Gregory, the secondary has undergone the most personnel changeover to this point in the offseason. McCourty talked about the changes:

On Gregory: “Steve is a smart football player. A guy who is always in the right spot. A guy who is a playmaker. He was big for us the last two years when he was here. He made plays. He’d kind of that older figure who has a lot of knowledge and had a lot of football games under his belt and has been able to just push us the right way. It just stinks a little bit — but that’s the business of football. Since I’ve been here, we’ve always had guys coming in and guys going, so, nothing new. Just wish him the best and hope he lands with another team.”

On Talib: “The same thing. A very good football player who has played very big for us in the last two years. But the business is the business. You just wish him the best in Denver — not that good, of course. But hope he does well. We’re happy for him.”

Read More: Aqib Talib, Brandon Browner, Brandon Coleman, Darrelle Revis

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Colorado WR Paul Richardson

04.24.14 at 5:22 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 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.

PAUL RICHARDSON

Position: Wide receiver

School: Colorado

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 175 pounds

Achievements: 2013 first-team All-Pac-12

What he brings: Richardson is an athletic specimen with blazing speed and reliable hands, highlighted by 4.40 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine. Add in that he’€™s an alert player who has a knack for being in the right spot and Richardson could be a good receiver in the NFL. His biggest problems are his slight frame and injury history, both of which have scouts concerned. Richardson also struggles to make catches in traffic, meaning he may be a better second or third receiver.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: In 2013 Richardson hauled in 83 catches for 1,343 yards (a school record) and 10 touchdowns. The 22-year-old missed four games in 2011 due to an injury and the majority of the 2012 season due to a torn ACL. … Richardson originally committed to UCLA, but he was arrested in 2010 on felony charges, leading to his dismissal from the school. … Richardson’€™s father, Paul Richardson Sr., played in the NFL with the Jets, Packers, Eagles and Raiders.

Related articles:

The Sacramento Bee: Need for speed: 49ers meet with Colorado WR Paul Richardson

SB Nation: Report: Cowboys Met With Colorado Wide Receiver Paul Richardson

Video: Here are Richardson’€™s 2013 highlights with Colorado.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Paul Richardson,
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