|04.28.13 at 9:17 pm ET|
|04.28.13 at 5:35 pm ET|
We wrote a piece a week ago that detailed six fundamental beliefs of the Patriots when it comes to their overall draft approach. As a way of following up — now that the draft is in the rearview mirror — here’s a look at how they did when it comes to sticking to what we’ve come to know as their traditional beliefs:
LOOKING FOR PATTERNS IN PRE-DRAFT CONTACT IS A FUTILE EXERCISE
In years past, the Patriots were able to do a pretty good job disguising their intentions toward one draft pick or another. (In 2011, Nate Solder‘s pre-draft visit was canceled at the last minute, but he ended up going in the first round to New England.) This year, the Patriots had at least some sort of pre-draft connection with each one of their picks this spring. Linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive end/linebacker Michael Buchanan had private pre-draft workouts with Bill Belichick, while wide receiver Aaron Dobson came to Foxboro on a pre-draft visit. Defensive back Logan Ryan had a pre-draft workout with New England, while wide receiver Josh Boyce visited Foxboro but didn’t work out.
WHEN — NOT IF — THE PATRIOTS MAKE A TRADE, CHANCES ARE GOOD IT’LL BE WITH OAKLAND ‘¦ AND NOT THE AFC EAST
The Patriots made two draft weekend deals, one with the Vikings and one with the Bucs. The deal with Minnesota was a bit of a surprise in that they are not a usual trade partner with Belichick and the Patriots — it marked just the second time New England and the Vikings were involved in a draft weekend deal. (The only other time came back in 2001 when the Patriots dealt their third-round pick to Minnesota for the Vikings’ third- and fourth-round picks.)
The other deal involving the swap of unwanted running backs (Jeff Demps-for-LeGarrette Blount) was hardly a shocker. Belichck is tight with Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, and in Schiano’s brief career with the Bucs, the two collaborated on the deal that brought cornerback Aqib Talib to New England. (They also exchanged Kellen Winslow early last season.)
As expected, this marked the 11th consecutive year that the Patriots didn’t make a draft weekend deal with an AFC East foe. (The last one came in 2002 when New England shipped Drew Bledsoe to the Bills for a 2003 first-round pick.)
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A COLLEGE CAPTAIN, BUT IT CERTAINLY HELPS
Heading into the 2013 draft, 15 of the last 28 players the Patriots selected in the draft were college captains, including 10 of the last 16 players drafted. This time around, of the eight players they took, four of them have experience as captains, including Dobson and Rutgers linebacker Steve Beauharnais. Rutgers defensive back Duron Harmon was a game captain for the Scarlet Knights this past season, while Boyce also filled the same role with the Horned Frogs.
|04.28.13 at 9:58 am ET|
FOXBORO — Maybe he got it from being around Bill Belichick‘s son all the time. Maybe he is just that conscientious about his studies. Or maybe he just didn’t want to sit in front of a TV all day hoping his name would be called.
Whatever the reason, when Steve Beauharnais was drafted by the Patriots on Saturday with the team’s second and final seventh round pick, he wasn’t paying attention to the draft.
“I’m actually doing classwork, I’m still in school so I’m doing classwork right now,” Beauharnais said in a conference call with reporters after being selected.
So he wasn’t watching the draft?
“No, I wasn’t watching but I had it on the speaker in the other room,” he said. “I was aware of everything that was going on.”
His initial reaction?
“I was excited, but I had work to do and I always focus on the task at hand,” Beauharnais said. “I was excited though.”
Certainly, Belichick was more than aware fo Beauharnais’ work habits before Saturday. Steve Belichick now works for his dad on the coaching staff. Before the Patriots, the younger Belichick played with the run-stopping Beauharnais at Rutgers on special teams as the long snapper.
“I knew him very well,” Beauharnais said of Belichick’s son Steve. “We were actually good friends. His locker was right next to mine, with the ‘B’ letter of our last names.”
Beauharnais became the third Rutgers product to be selected in the draft, joining defensive backs Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon. Of course, the Patriots roster is already decorated with Scarlet Knights in Devin McCourty and Justin Francis.
Here is the rest of Saturday’s conference call with reporters. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.28.13 at 1:09 am ET|
We reported earlier Saturday evening on a series of undrafted free agents who were set to join the Patriots. In the wake of that initial report, there have been eight other undrafted free agents to be linked to New England. Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch of the group:
Offensive tackle Elvis Fisher: The 6-foot-5, 296-pounder out of Mizzou is the second Tiger to confirm that he’s signed with the Patriots via his personal Twitter account. Fisher was an All-Big XII honorable mention at left tackle in 2009 and 2010, but struggled with injury over the last two seasons: first, he missed the 2011 season with a ruptured patellar tendon. He was hurt again in 2012, suffering an MCL strain that forced him to be carted off the field. (He’s also a bit of an oddball…..)
Tight end Brandon Ford: Multiple media reports indicated that Ford had signed with the Patriots. The Clemson product is a 6-foot-4, 240-pounder wasn’t invited to the combine, but still impressed over the course of his senior year, finishing the season with 40 catches for 480 yards and eight touchdowns.
Punter Ryan Allen: Allen won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter in 2011 with Louisiana Tech. The left-footed specialist — Bill Belichick has always preferred left-footed punters — ranked fifth in the FBS in gross average (46.1 yards per punt) and led the nation with 39 punts inside the 20-yard line and 22 punts inside the 10-yard line.
Defensive back Brandon Jones: Because you can never have enough Scarlet Knights on your roster, the Patriots added another as an undrafted free agent, according to reports out of New Jersey. The 6-foot, 191-pound Jones had 31 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass deflections this past season with Rutgers.
Offensive lineman Christopher McDonald: The brother of current New England offensive lineman Nick McDonald, he’ll join his brother in Foxboro. Christopher started 39 games for Michigan State, including the final 30 of his career at right guard. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season, and was named to the preseason Outland Trophy watch list. The news was reported by various media outlets.
Offensive lineman Josh Kline: The Kent State product is a 6-foot-3, 310-pounder who was named to Phil Steele’s All-MAC Team, was Second Team All-MAC and also named to Steele’s midseason Second Team All-MAC squad as a senior. As a collegian, he played both right tackle and right guard. News of his signing was reported by several media outlets.
Fullback Ben Bartholomew: The Vols fullback, whose brother and grandfather also played at Tennessee, also lined up as a tight end as a collegian. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder finished his senior season at Tennessee with 11 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. News of his signing was reported by several media outlets.
Strong safety Kanorris Davis: An undersized linebacker, the 5-foot-10, 211-pound Davis was selected Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference (Coaches & Media selection) for the 2012 season. He led the Troy defense — and ranked 10th in the Sun Belt — averaging 7.5 tackles per game. In addition, he finished fourth in the league with 62 solo tackles.
|04.27.13 at 11:37 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick and the Patriots knew they had a big challenge in front of them when the draft began.
Enter Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, who were drafted on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Add in Danny Amendola and Mike Jenkins as well as Julian Edelman and reloading is exactly what the Patriots have done.
“We’ve done that at a lot of different positions,” Belichick said at the seventh and final round of the 2013 NFL draft on Saturday night. “We’ve turned over the tight end position, we’ve turned over the running back position, and we’ve turned over a number of the positions on the offensive line. Now we’re doing it at receiver. I think it’s a little bit of you have to figure it out as you go. You have a plan, you try to do it a certain way but as you get into it, you see how it’s going and what certain players are able to do or how quickly they’re able to adapt and what’s taking longer. You modify your teaching; sometimes you modify your scheme a little bit.
“Obviously, some of the things we do with Rob [Rob Gronkowski] and Aaron [Aaron Hernandez] are different than what we did with some of the other guys we had here. Some of the things we do now are a little different than what we did when we had Kevin Faulk. The team is always in transition to a degree. You have try to figure out where you want to go and how to try and get there. Usually you have to change things as you go along a little bit.
“I think that’s a balance you have to’¦when you put new stuff in, you have to usually take something out. You just can’t keep adding, adding, adding. At some point you have to trim the fat. It’s a balance, but at the same time you don’t want to take that experience and not take new plays or new adjustments or new things that you do and be able to utilize those skills, because a lot of the players can do it but you have to try to catch the younger guys up.”
Read the rest of this entry »
|04.27.13 at 8:47 pm ET|
As the NFL draft came to an end, teams started signing rookie free agents, and the Patriots were no exception. Almost as soon as the draft finished up on Saturday, eight names were attached to the Patriots:
‘¢Cornerback Stephon Morris: The Penn State product is a 5-foot-8. 188-pounder who was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (Media selection) in 2012. He tweeted the news he signed with New England.
‘¢Running back Quentin Hines: Hines has been in multiple programs (Cincinnati, Murray State, Akron) as a collegian, but ended up with 35 carries for 194 yards and a touchdown last season with the Zips. The 5-foot-11, 194-pounder was a backup last season, but averaged 6.5 yards per carry. He confirmed the news via Twitter.
Long snapper Jason Stegman: The Southern Illinois product stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 232 pounds, and played in 33 games the last three seasons for the Salukis, where he handled the long snapping duties all three years. His signing was reported by several outlets. (UPDATE: News of his signing was apparently a hoax.)
‘¢Tight end Zach Sudfeld: You can never have enough tight ends. The Nevada product stands 6-foot-7 and checks in at 255 pounds. He started all 13 games this season for the Wolfpack and caught 45 passes for 598 yards to go along with nine touchdowns. He confirmed the news via Twitter.
‘¢Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins: The 6-foot-1, 193-pounder out of Cincinnati started the past two seasons with the Bearcats. He had 34 receptions for 541 yards and two touchdowns as a senior after posting 44 catches, 536 yards and two touchdowns the prior year. His signing was reported by various outlets.
‘¢Center Matt Stankiewitch: The second Penn Stater that signed with New England, Stankiewitch is a 6-foot-3, 302-pounder who started the last two years for the Nittany Lions. In 2011, he started all 13 games and led the team in snaps played with 966. Stankiewitch was named the offense’s Most Improved Player in 2012 spring practices. In his senior year, Stankiewitch started all 12 games for Penn State. He was named to the Coaches All-Big Ten first-team. He confirmed the news via his personal Twitter account.
‘¢Defensive tackle Cory “Pork Chop” Grissom: A 6-foot-2, 306-pounder from South Florida who started 40 games over the last four seasons for the Bulls, including every game the last three years. Last season, he finished with career highs in tackles (38), tackles for loss (seven) and sacks (2.5). His signing was reported by a handful of media outlets.
‘¢Wide receiver: T.J. Moe: Moe is a 5-foot-10, 204-pounder out of Mizzou who caught 94 passes the last two seasons — 54 passes for 649 yards and four touchdowns as a junior and 40 passes for 399 yards and one touchdown last season. The biggest thing that sticks out about Moe is that he was one of the best at the combine when it came to the 3-cone drill this past season — the drill, which showcases footwork and agility, is a favorite of the Patriots’ personnel evaluators. He confirmed the news via his personal Twitter account.
|04.27.13 at 8:28 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Defensive end Michael Buchanan has realized a lifelong dream in a place he’s always wanted to be.
“It’s a great feeling, it’s a great feeling,” Buchanan said in a conference call at Gillette Stadium after becoming New England’s first of two seventh round picks on Saturday. “This was a childhood dream of mine with an organization I always wanted to be with, so it’s definitely a great feeling. It’s truly a blessing.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick flew out to Illinois this month to meet with the defensive end who also played outside linebacker with the Illini.
So, he had some idea he might be selected by the Patriots.
“Obviously, I did the Senior Bowl and the Combine and everything,” Buchanan said. “I did a bunch of different interviews. I had a workout with the defensive line coach. I feel like I did a good job; well, obviously I think I did a pretty good job of that. That was pretty much it.”
Buchanan is reunited with Tavon Wilson, the defensive back from Illinois the Patriots drafted last season. What does he think of coming to an organization that has some players you know?
“It’s great. It’s great to be able to come in and kind of have some guys that I know and already feel like brothers to me,” he said. “I’m at an advantage to have that, as far as me getting acclimated and everything and being in a new organization. It’s definitely a great feeling.”
Speaking of family that’s who he spent the day with when he got the news.
“I was with my family,” Buchanan said. “My whole family was with me. I’m still with them right now. They’re excited for me. I’m excited. I’m just at home with my family.”
Here is the rest of the transcript from Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »