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Report: BC running back Andre Williams drawing interest from Patriots

04.18.14 at 3:40 pm ET
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The Patriots are one of four teams who have shown pre-draft interest in Boston College running back Andre Williams, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.

The Browns, Steelers and Jets have also shown interest in Williams, who led the nation in rushing with 2,177 yards (to go along with 18 touchdowns) and was a Heisman finalist this past season with the Eagles. However, the opportunity to stick in Eastern Massachusetts is certainly alluring for Williams, who was a consensus All-American and Doak Walker Award winner in 2013.

“œIt would be a blessing to end up on the Patriots squad,”€€ said the 5-foot-11, 230-pounder at the combine in February. “They’€™€™re a winning franchise. They have a great coach. He seems like a really levelheaded cool guy to deal with. It would be great to go back to the Northeast. That’€™€™s where my family is situated right now. It would be a great fit.”

Considered a second-day pickup, Williams is among the upper tier of backs expected to be taken this year, a group that includes Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, Auburn’s Tre Mason, Washington’s Bishop Sankey and LSU’s Jeremy Hill.

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

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Auburn OLB Dee Ford

04.18.14 at 9:30 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.

DEE FORD

Position: Outside linebacker

School: Auburn

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 252 pounds

Achievements: 2014 Senior Bowl MVP, 2013 first-team All-SEC

What he brings: Ford is a great athlete who plays hard, possessing great speed and burst for the outside linebacker position. Scouts consider him a speed rusher, as he relies on his speed to get to the quarterback. While he has shown some power, scouts fear he lacks the strength to go against NFL tackles, especially when it comes to setting the edge for the running game. While the 23-year-old had experience dropping into coverage at Auburn, scouts fear his speed is too average for the NFL.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: In 2013 Ford had 8.5 sacks and 26 tackles in the regular season, adding two sacks and three tackles in the BCS national championship game against Florida State. … He missed the first two games of 2013 with a left knee sprain. He missed all but three games in 2011 due to a back injury. The back injury was an issue at the NFL combine and left Ford unable to participate in any of the drills.

Related articles:

ESPN: DE Ford backs up talk at Auburn’s pro day

ESPN: Dee Ford: ‘I’m better’ than Clowney

Video: Here are Ford’€™s highlights from his time at Auburn.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Dee Ford,

Mike Petraglia, Chris Price dish on Dante Scarnecchia, Brandon Spikes, protecting ‘Patriot Way’

04.17.14 at 5:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia is joined by Chris Price to discuss the leadership that offensive captain Logan Mankins brings to the Patriots. Mankins defended the team against the harsh criticism of former linebacker Brandon Spikes and laughed off a prediction from Spikes that his new team, the Bills, would beat the Patriots twice in 2014. Petraglia and Price also discuss how Mankins will stabilize a veteran offensive line that lost its longtime coach, Dante Scarnecchia, to retirement.

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Dante Scarnecchia, Logan Mankins, New England Patriots

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Notre Dame OT Zack Martin

04.17.14 at 5:06 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.

ZACK MARTIN

Position: Offensive tackle

School: Notre Dame

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 308 pounds

Achievements: One of 18 two-time captains in Notre Dame football history, started a team-record 52 straight games, 2013 Pinstripe Bowl MVP, 2013-14 ESPN.com All-Bowl Team, four-time Notre Dame Guardian Life Insurance Guardian of the Year, 2012 Walter Camp second-team All-American

What he brings: Some scouts and managers have argued that Martin should make a move from offensive tackle to guard because his arm length is not long enough for the NFL. While they question Martin’€™s size and foot speed, Martin’s knowledge of the game and power became a selling point especially after the Senior Bowl.

Where the Patriots could get him: Martin is expected to be a top-20 pick, so the Patriots likely would need to trade up to get him.

Notes: Martin, 23, redshirted his freshman year and finished out his fourth year of eligibility as a graduate student during the 2013 season even though he could have been drafted in Rounds 2-4 in 2013.

Related articles:

247Sports.com: Notre Dame‘s Zack Martin emphasizes ability at tackle

ESPN.com: Martin worth eyeing at Senior Bowl game

ESPN.com: Versatility should help Zack Martin

Video: Here is a video of Martin during Notre Dame‘s game against Alabama in the 2013 BCS championship game.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, 2014 Potential Patriots, Zack Martin,

Takeaways from our Thursday morning talk with Logan Mankins

04.17.14 at 1:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO — In addition to his dismissal of Brandon Spikes, here are three things we gleaned from our Thursday morning chat with Logan Mankins.

1. He sounds optimistic about the upcoming transition period for the New England offensive line.

For the first time since shortly after the earth cooled, Dante Scarnecchia will not be coaching the Patriots offensive line. It’€™ll be an interesting stretch for Mankins, who will be losing the only position coach he’€™s known at the professional level. However, Mankins said new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo “seems like a great guy, and I look forward to working with him.”

“€œIt’€™s going to be a big change,”€ Mankins said when asked about moving on from Scarnecchia. “I was lucky enough to have him for nine seasons. I wish that could have continued. But he put in his time and he earned the right to retire. Last time I talked to him, he was enjoying life right now and he’€™s staying busy. But it will be a lot different. That’€™s the only o-line coach I’ve known for quite a while now, so, it’€™ll be a bit of a change.”

What does Mankins want out of a new coach?

“€œPersonally, I just want a coach that’€™s fair, he’€™s going to treat everyone the same — there’€™s no one on a pedestal,”€ he said. “I think I learned to appreciate that from Dante. He was a hard coach, but he was a fair coach. We always knew he had our backs. He demanded a lot of us, but I think that’€™s what made a lot of us good players. That’€™s why he was such a successful coach and lasted so long.”

2. He’€™s been working a lot with fellow guard Dan Connolly this offseason.

According to Mankins, for the first time in several years, both Mankins and Connolly aren’t dealing with any sort of offseason rehab for surgery. As a result, the two have been working together in the area to ‘€œget after it’€ for a few hours every morning. He said

“€œIt’€™s been a good partnership right now,”€ Mankins said. “In years past, I had surgeries, he had surgeries, we had the whole lockout thing. We used to (train) a long time ago until certain things changed that, so this year was nice to get back together.

“€œWe meet every morning at a certain time and get after it for a few hours then go home. It’€™s always nice to have someone to work out with, especially at your own position, that you are working on the same things,” Mankins said. “We’€™ve been pushing each other and it’€™s been working out well.”

Right now, Mankins said it’€™s just “€œthe big boys throwing around weights.”€ That will transition to the start of the offseason program on Monday, where coaches can get involved. At that point, it’€™s expected that more cardio will be worked into the mix. Mankins said center Ryan Wendell has also been present since re-signing about three weeks ago, while youngsters Jordan Devey and Chris Barker have also been present.

(For what it’€™s worth, Mankins also sounded an optimistic note on the state of right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who went down in October with a season ending leg injury. “€œHe looks good right now, too. I don’€™t know his whole update right now, but he looks good and I know he’€™s working hard,”€ Mankins said of Vollmer. “There’€™s good promise there.”€)

3. There’€™s something to be said for continuity.

If everyone returns healthy, the Patriots will have a chance to utilize the same five starting offensive linemen they had at the beginning of the 2013 season — Vollmer (right tackle), Connolly (right guard), Wendell (center), Mankins, (left guard) and Nate Solder (left tackle).

“œIt’€™s always good,”€ said Mankins when asked about continuity. “We know what were doing, (but) it always comes down to making the right blocks and doing a good job. We like the group we have. We like the guys in that room. They’€™re all hard working guys and they try very hard and they work hard. I think we could have a good season together.

“€œI look forward to seeing everyone get back and everyone getting to work together finally,”€ he added. “€œIt’€™s always exciting, kind of like your first day back at school, I guess. You get to see everyone after the break, get to catch up with some friends you haven’€™t seen too much of lately, and get to work together, push each other, and see if other guys have been working as hard as you have.”

Read More: Chris Barker, Dan Connolly, Dante Scarnecchia, Dave DeGuglielmo

Patriots finalize 2014 preseason schedule

04.17.14 at 1:06 pm ET
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Official dates and times have been added to the Patriots 2014 preseason schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.: at Redskins
Friday, Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m.: vs. Eagles
Friday, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.: vs. Panthers
Thursday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.: at Giants

With the understanding that teams are allowed to open training camp 15 days before the first preseason game, that could set the Patriots up for camp to begin as early as July 23.

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

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Logan Mankins on Brandon Spikes’ guarantee of wins over Patriots: ‘Spikes being Spikes’

04.17.14 at 12:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Logan Mankins hasn’t spent much of his offseason worrying about Brandon Spikes.

Spikes, who signed with the Bills as a free agent after four seasons in New England, recently predicted a pair of Buffalo wins over the Patriots this season. He also took a shot at New England’s approach to the injury report, hinting that the Patriots aren’t completely truthful when it comes to reporting injuries.

But on Thursday morning, Mankins wasn’t interested in retaliating.

“Everyone has their own opinions and everyone likes to think they know it all,” said Mankins during a break in his offseason workout program while at Gillette Stadium. “It really doesn’t bother me too much. I know what we have here. I know the owner pretty well now over the years and the head coach and those guys care about the team. They care about winning football games. Whatever anyone says, it kind of rolls off our backs. We know what we have here.

“I don’t pay too much attention to the media that much anyways — I’ve only heard guys joking around about what he said. But I think it’s just Brandon being Brandon. He has a pretty good sense of humor, I think — well, I don’t know if it’s good. But he likes to make jokes. I don’t know if he was joking here or being serious. But I think that’s just Spikes being Spikes.”

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

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Logan Mankins,
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