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The Rule of 26-27-60, and trying to apply it to this year’s quarterback class

04.21.11 at 10:32 pm ET
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In the wake of this story we did earlier this week about the Patriots kicking the tires on some collegiate quarterbacks, we were reminded about the Rule of 26-27-60, which remains one of the most dependable formulas for judging how successful a college quarterback will do in the NFL.

As far as we know, it was first presented by Football Outsiders in the Pro Football Prospectus 2006, and John Lopez of SI.com expanded upon the idea in a 2010 story, explaining that, ‘€œIf an NFL prospect scores at least a 26 on the Wonderlic test, starts at least 27 games in his college career and completes at least 60 percent of his passes, there’€™s a good chance he will succeed at the NFL level.’€

To bolster his point, Lopez has the following quarterbacks since 1998 passing the 26-27-60 test: Drew Brees, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kolb, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Kyle Orton, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub and Matthew Stafford. In the same span, here’€™s his list of those who have fallen short in at least one of the three categories: David Carr, Tim Couch, Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Akili Smith and Vince Young.

Over the last 15 or so years, there are five notable exceptions to the rule, including Tom Brady, who passed the Wonderlic and completion percentage, but his 25 college starts leave him just shy of a passing grade. Then, there’€™s two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who had two of the three, falling short when he posted a 25 on the Wonderlic. In addition, both Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre fell short in the Wonderlic, but have gone on to successful careers in the NFL. And Matt Leinart played over 30 games, scored a 35 on his Wonderlic, completed over 63 percent of his passes … and has been nothing short of a miserable failure in the NFL.

When it comes to this year’€™s group, while much of it depends on where a quarterback will be drafted, the Rule of 26-27-60 tells us that this could be a very good draft class for signal callers, with five of the top nine quarterback prospects making the grade: Alabama’€™s Greg McElroy (43-27-66 percent), Florida State’€™s Christian Ponder (35-35-62 percent), Missouri’€™s Blaine Gabbert (42-29-61 percent), Iowa’€™s Ricky Stanzi (30-32-60 percent, although we’€™re rounding up from 59.8 on his completion percentage) and TCU’€™s Andy Dalton (29-50-61 percent) all pass the test.

There are several candidates who just miss the cut in one of the categories: Ryan Mallett (26-29-58 percent) has the requisite Wonderlic score and college starts, but falls short when it comes to completion percentage. Nevada’€™s Colin Kapernick (40-51-58 percent) just misses when it comes to accuracy as well. Meanwhile, both Cam Newton (21-14-66 percent) and Jake Locker (20-39-54) only reach one of the three areas.

In the end, there are several other aspects of a quarterback’s game that must be evaluated before the draft, and the Rule of 26-27-60 isn’t the ultimate statistic in determining his success or failure in the NFL. But in a world where the success rate of picking quarterbacks is surprisingly slim, it’s a stat worth keeping in mind when signal callers start coming off the board next week.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft,

Andre Tippett will announce Patriots’ second-round pick at draft

04.21.11 at 3:38 pm ET
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The NFL announced Thursday afternoon that a collection of legends will be present to announce their respective teams’ second-round picks during the NFL draft next week. Handling the duties for the Patriots will be Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. (New England two second-round selections, Nos. 33 and 60 overall.) Others who are slated to participate include Buffalo’s Andre Reed, Chicago’s Richard Dent, Detroit’s Barry Sanders, Pittsburgh’s Franco Harris and Washington’s Doug Williams.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Andre Tippett,

Source: Patriots continue to check out draft possibilities, including Doug Hogue, Rich Lapham and John Gianninoto

04.21.11 at 12:42 am ET
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With the draft now a week away and the window for pre-draft visits completely closed, the Patriots continue to kick the tires on a variety of prospects through private workouts and interviews. Here are three updates on mid- to late-round players who are being checked out by New England:

The Patriots worked out linebacker Doug Hogue on the Syracuse campus on Wednesday, according to a source close to Hogue. Projected as a mid- to late-round selection, Hogue is a 6-foot-3, 234 pound linebacker who spent his first two years with the Orange as a running back before switching over to the defensive side of the ball. This past season, he was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection, and ranked seventh in the conference with 7.4 tackles per game. For his college career, he ranks ninth on Syracuse’€™s career tackles for loss list with 26.5, which he accomplished in 25 games on defense.

In addition, the Patriots have expressed an interest in Boston College offensive lineman Rich Lapham, according to a league source. The 6-foot-8, 327-pound Lapham was the primary starter at right tackle the last three years for the Eagles before a knee injury brought his senior year to a premature end. The injury, which was to his left knee, prompted the New Hampshire native to go through the Medical Recheck in Indianapolis, but it now appears that the nephew of former Cincinnati offensive lineman Dave Lapham is just about fully cleared.

And a league source indicates the Patriots have expressed interest in John Gianninoto, an interior offensive lineman from UNLV. A 6-foot-4, 297-pounder, he’s had private workouts for Buffalo, Indianapolis, Miami and Atlanta. A non-combine invitee, he’s only one of a handful of offensive line prospects who has recorded a sub five-second time in the 40 (he was reportedly clocked at 4.98 at UNLV’s Pro Day). He also bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times, had a 32-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 8-foot-11.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Doug Hogue, John Gianninoto, Rich Lapham

Kraft: No football this fall would be ‘criminal’

04.20.11 at 7:24 pm ET
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Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounded an optimistic note about the state of pro football on Wednesday. Speaking with CSNNE.com, Kraft said it would be ‘€œcriminal’€ if football isn’€™t played on Sunday’€™s at Gillette Stadium this fall, but added that everyone was trying to make a new deal work.

‘€œI promise I will do everything I can do,’€ Kraft said. ‘€œIt would really be criminal if we don’€™t have football here on Sundays. … I know [commissioner Roger Goodell] and [NFL general counsel] Jeff Pash and our whole team are doing everything they can do to continue negotiations. We’€™ve got to negotiate, not litigate. We should have a deal. There’€™s a deal ready to be done where we can play football in the fall. You saw our schedule come out [Tuesday]. We’€™re excited about that and now we have to find a way to get the players back in.’€

Read More: Jeff Pash, lockout, Robert Kraft, roger goodell

Report: Patriots host USC’s Tyron Smith for visit

04.20.11 at 7:13 pm ET
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The Patriots hosted Southern Cal offensive lineman Tyron Smith on a visit Wednesday, according to ESPNBoston. A two-year starter at USC, the 6-foot-5, 307-pounder played in 24 of his final 25 college games with the Trojans, and was named All-Pac 10 first team as a senior. He is considered a first-round prospect.

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Splinter group of players could bring new suit vs. NFL

04.20.11 at 1:56 pm ET
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A group of NFL players appear ready to break with the union and bring their own suit against the NFL. According to SportsBusiness Journal, a cross-section of about 60 players is set to seek a place at the labor mediation talks between the NFL and the players. Neither the NFLPA ‘€” which filed the first antitrust lawsuit against the NFL ‘€” nor the league has commented on the report. This is the first sign that not all the NFL players are on the same page in regards to the lockout, which began last month, the first work stoppage for the NFL since 1987.

Read More: lockout,

A closer look at the Patriots 2011 schedule

04.19.11 at 7:46 pm ET
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Here are a few quick notes on the 2011 Patriots schedule:

Sunday at 1? Not for this team: The Patriots have only four games that are set to kickoff Sunday at 1 p.m., with only two of those games at home (the final two regular-season games of the year, Dec. 24 against the Dolphins and Jan. 1 against the Bills). Conversely, they have four prime-time games, including back-to-back contests in November ‘€” Nov. 13 on the road against the Jets on NBC and Nov. 21 at home against the Chiefs on ESPN. Besides the four nationally televised games, the Patriots will be featured in the marquee matchup with nine games airing at the end of a double-header weekend with kickoffs scheduled at 4:15 p.m.

Opening in style: The Patriots will meet Miami in the regular-season opener for both teams. This year will mark the fifth time New England has opened the season on Monday Night Football ‘€” the Patriots also opened on Monday Night Football in 1979, 1998, 2002 and most recently in 2009 when Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final two minutes to rally the Patriots from a 24-13 deficit to a 25-24 victory vs. the Buffalo Bills. While New England tore up the Dolphins 41-14 in their early-season meeting against the Dolphins in Miami last Oct. 4, the Patriots have historically struggled early in the season in South Florida. (Last year, my ‘€œNFL Sunday’€ co-hosts Christian Fauria and Troy Brown recounted how mentally wrecked they were when it came to playing in Miami early in the season because of the heat.) In that same vein, the Dolphins have almost always struggled playing in Foxboro late in the season.

Good bye: Teams are always looking for the bye to be as close to the middle of the season as possible, and it appears the Patriots hit the jackpot ‘€” they have Week 7 off.

Road warriors: The Patriots will travel 14,610 miles over the course of the regular season, but as alert Tweeter ‘€œWinston_Wolfe’€ noted, the Patriots have just two trips West of Pennsylvania, with games at Denver and Oakland. (He also took note of the fact that New England will not play a dome game this season.) The cumulative record of New England’€™s 2011 opponents is 129-127-0, the 16th-toughest schedule in the league.

Hello, old friends: The final prime time game scheduled for the Patriots in 2011 will be the annual clash with the Colts. This year will mark the ninth straight season that the Patriots will face the Colts and the second consecutive year they have hosted the game at Gillette Stadium. Since 2002, the Patriots and Colts have played each other 11 times, including the postseason. It is the most games played between two non-division opponents in the NFL over the past nine years.

Here’€™s the Patriots regular-season schedule for 2011:
Mon. Sept. 12 at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Sept. 18 vs. San Diego, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Sept. 25 at Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 2 at Oakland, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 9 vs. N.Y. Jets, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 16 vs. Dallas, 4:15 p.m. (Fox)
BYE WEEK
Sun. Oct. 30 at Pittsburgh, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Nov. 6 vs. N.Y. Giants, 4:15 p.m. (Fox)
Sun. Nov. 13 at N.Y. Jets, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Mon. Nov. 21 vs. Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Nov. 27 at Philadelphia, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 4 vs. Indianapolis, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sun. Dec. 11 at Washington, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 18 at Denver, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)
Sat. Dec. 24 vs. Miami, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Jan. 1 vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Read More: 2011 NFL schedule, Patriots,
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