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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Shane Vereen

01.27.11 at 10:37 pm ET
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SHANE VEREEN

Position: Running back

School: Cal

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 204 pounds

Achievements: Vereen earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in his final collegiate season (also first-team by Phil Steele, second-team according to Scout.com) as a junior in 2010; honorable mention All-Pac-10 player during his 2009 sophomore campaign despite spending most of the campaign as a backup to Heisman Trophy candidate and 2010 first-round pick Jahvid Best.

What he brings: A three-down back, the 21-year-old Vereen brings a versatility to the backfield with skills as a runner and a pass catcher. (He also has experience as a return man.) As a collegian, the speedy Vereen posted 1,667 career rushing yards and scored 16 touchdowns on the ground in 325 carries for an impressive average of 5.1 yards per rush. In all, he has totaled 2,693 career all-purpose yards, adding 465 receiving yards and three TDs on 52 catches and 551 kick return yards on 24 returns.

Where the Patriots could get him: Third or fourth round.

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Potential Patriots, Shane Vereen,

Patriots defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick has surgery

01.27.11 at 5:32 pm ET
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Patriots defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick underwent surgery Thursday.

Adam Cohen, the director of football operations for Perennial Sports Entertainment, Tweeted on Thursday afternoon: “Best wishes to PSE Client and Patriots’ DL Brandon Deaderick who is having surgery today. Get well soon, my man!”

Deaderick suffered a shoulder injury in a December win over Green Bay. In his first season with the Patriots, the rookie out of Alabama had 17 tackles and two sacks. However, he was suspended briefly at the end of the regular season for an unspecified reason.

Read More: Adam Cohen, Brandon Deaderick,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Cincinnati’s Armon Binns

01.27.11 at 5:15 pm ET
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ARMON BINNS

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Cincinnati

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 211 pounds

Achievements: Binns was an All-Big East First Team selection after recording 75 receptions for 1,101 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Bearcats (2010); second-team All-Big East selection (2009); led Big East in receptions per game (6.2) and receiving yards per game (91.8) in 2010.

What he brings: Binns was a consistent target for the Bearcats in 2010, leading the league in receptions per game. He became just the seventh Bearcat all-time to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a singe season. His height and weight coupled with his downfield speed (average 4.56 40-yard dash time) made him a deep threat in the Cincinnati offense. Binns’€™ consistency to put up receiving yards near the 100-yard mark per game (91.8 ypg) left him first in the Big East conference in 2010.

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft,

Patriots by position: Quarterback

01.27.11 at 1:28 pm ET
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As the Patriots offseason gets underway, we’€™ll present a snapshot of the team by position. We’€™ve already examined the defensive backs, the linebackers, the defensive line and special teams. Here’€™s a look at the quarterbacks:

On the roster: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer. (Jonathan Crompton was on the practice squad at the end of the season.)

Stat standouts: Across the board it’€™s Brady, who finished the second-best season of his career (at least statistically) with 3,900 passing yards and a 66 percent completion rate, as well as 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Best single game: Brady had a bunch of great performances in 2010, but we’€™ll submit two: The first came against Detroit, when he was 21-for-27 for 341 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. The second was against the Steelers, when he finished 30-for-43 for 350 yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdowns and zero interceptions.

2010, in three sentences: Extraordinary. When it comes to his 16-game regular season, football historians can put Brady’€™s performance in a time capsule for future generations to admire, a performance made all the more impressive by the fact that the Patriots traded away their No. 1 receiver and No. 1 running back during the season. No wonder he’€™s the odds on favorite to win his second MVP when the winner is announced next month.
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Read More: Brian Hoyer, Jonathan Crompton, Tom Brady,

Patriots by position: Special teams

01.27.11 at 10:57 am ET
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Over the next week as the Patriots offseason gets underway, we’€™ll present a snapshot of the team by position. We’€™ve already examined the defensive backs, the linebackers and the defensive line. Here’€™s a look at the specialists:

On the roster: Kicker Shayne Graham, punter Zoltan Mesko, long snapper Matt Katula, kick returner Brandon Tate, punt returner Julian Edelman. (Kicker Stephen Gostkowski ended the year on injured reserve.) Defensive back Matthew Slater and linebacker Tracy White are both predominantly special teamers, so we’€™ll include them here. In addition, safety Pat Chung has extensive special teams’€™ duties, so we can include him on this list as well.

Stat standouts: Leading tackler (according to coaches film review): Slater, 21; White, 18. Best single game: Hard to argue with what Chung did against the Dolphins on Oct. 4 in Miami. The Oregon product blocked a punt and a field goal, sparking a historic special teams performance in a 41-14 rout of the Dolphins. (He also picked off a pass and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.) He finished the night with four tackles, three solo.

2010, in three sentences: A great start, followed by a disappointing finish. A pair of kick returns for touchdowns by Tate, a bucketful of touchbacks from Gostkowski, a strong start from Mesko and that unbelievable night in Miami got things started with a bang. But things regressed as the year went on, with the low point coming in the playoff loss when a botched snap on a fake punt led to a key turnover against the Jets.
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Read More: Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, Matt Katula, Matthew Slater

NFL Mock Draft, Take 1: Mike Pouncey, J.J. Watt to Patriots?

01.27.11 at 7:15 am ET
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As the Super Bowl approaches, the questions for the 30 other teams grow louder and louder. After a heavy helping of draft coverage last year (right: Rob Gronkowski, Zoltan Mesko; Wrong: Jared Odrick, Ricky Sapp), WEEI.com is ready to crank it up once again. Here’€™s the first mock draft:

1. Carolina (2-14) Da’€™Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson The likes of Ndamukong Suh (second overall in 2010) and Mario Williams (first overall in 2006) have gone a long way in changing the line of thinking when it comes to selecting defensive lineman with such a critical pick. The Panthers would have probably liked to have gotten Andrew Luck‘€™s name on a contract, but with his decision to return to school preventing that, the team is better off sticking with Jimmy Clausen for the money.

2. Denver (4-12) Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn Think many people saw the team being in this position when the Broncos hired Josh McDaniels a couple of years ago? Last season’€™s draft class ‘€“ especially the first round picks ‘€“ had McDaniels’€™ name all over it, and as the team moves forward with John Fox, the best-player-available approach is much safer.

3. Buffalo (4-12) A.J. Green, WR, Georgia Another year of Ryan Fitzpatrick? The Harvard product was serviceable last season for the Bills, and the C.J. Spiller selection screams of a team hell-bent on loading up on weapons, regardless of whether it has the guys capable of properly utilizing them. It’€™s hard to not imagine Buffalo not picking this high again next year, and if they end up winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes next year, they will ‘€“ despite Spiller’€™s forgettable rookie campaign — have assembled the makings of a potentially dangerous offense.

4. Cincinnati (4-12) Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina Quinn missed all of last season as a penalty for accepting accommodations from an agent. While that’€™s not the worst possible character knock, the fact that he’€™s been off the field this long after a monster sophomore season is the only thing that keeps him out of that conversation with Bowers and Fairley as to who the best defensive lineman in the draft is. In this scenario, Quinn would stay on the line, whereas he would figure to play outside linebacker in a 3-4.

5. Arizona (5-11) Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri John Skelton was one of the under-the-radar guys heavily esteemed in this space a season ago, and though he could have a very bright future as a project, this is a team that needs a franchise quarterback now. Gabbert might be the closest thing to that in this crop. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft,

Three Patriots named to USA Today’s ‘All-Joe’ team

01.27.11 at 12:06 am ET
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Three members of the Patriots were named to USA Today’€™s ‘€œAll-Joe Team,’€ a squad that ‘€œhonors the unsung Joes of the NFL.’€ It’€™s a team that honors players for their dirty work, and so it’€™s fitting that tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Danny Woodhead and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer all get the nod.

Writer Nate Davis describes the three Patriots as follows:

Gronkowski: ‘€œThe 6-6, 265-pound rookie was most well-rounded of New England’€™s formidable trio of tight ends, throwing big blocks while snaring 42 passes (10 for TDs).’€

Vollmer: ‘€œClaimed job on right side in 2010 and may one day assume Matt Light‘€™s role on blind side.’€

Woodehad: ‘€œTypifies All-Joe ethos with willingness and ability to run, catch, block and tackle on special teams.’€

Read More: Danny Woodhead, Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer,
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