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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Jonathan Baldwin

01.28.11 at 11:40 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 2011 NFL draft.

Jonathan Baldwin

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Pittsburgh

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 228 pounds

Achievements: First Team All-Big East (2009), Rivals Third Team All-American (2009), First Team All-Big East (2010)

What he brings: Size. At 6-foot-5, Baldwin is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He also has strength to match his size, consistently picking up yards after the catch. The former high school basketball star boasts a 40-inch vertical leap. An excellent blocking wideout, Baldwin isn’t afraid to go over the middle to make a play. He also has the speed necessary to be a legitimate threat in the deep passing game. Baldwin suffered a drop in production from 2009 to 2010, but that was largely due to a freshman quarterback taking over at Pittsburgh.

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Daniel Thomas

01.28.11 at 10:41 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 2011 NFL draft.

Daniel Thomas

Position: Running Back

School: Kansas State

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 228 pounds

Achievements: JUCO All-American (2008), Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (2009), First Team All-Big 12 (2009), Second Team All-Big 12 (2010)

What he brings: A classic between-the-tackles back with a solid frame, Thomas is a natural runner with enough speed to give defenses trouble when in open space. An average (at best ) pass catcher, Thomas doesn’t project as an every-down back at the NFL level. Thomas will also be 24 years old when the 2011 NFL season begins, which is two or three years older than the other top prospects at his position. Thomas also was used in the Wildcat formation, and completed a 41-yard pass against Oklahoma in 2009.

Where the Patriots could get him: Third round

Notes: Thomas ran for 2,850 yards in just two seasons at Kansas State, second on the school’s all-time rushing chart (Darren Sproles). He scored 19 touchdowns in 2010, including three in a Pinstripe Bowl loss to Syracuse. He led the Big 12 in regular season rushing yardage and yards per game in 2009.

Video: Here are some Thomas highlights from 2010:

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Adam Schefter on D&C: Jeff Fisher’s departure comes as a surprise

01.28.11 at 10:19 am ET
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Adam Schefter of ESPN made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the collective bargaining agreement and the Titans’ coaching situation, among other things. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Thursday, Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin was asked about the collective bargaining agreement negotiations and seemed uninterested. The hosts asked Schefter if Austin reflected the majority of players.

‘€œI think everybody’€™s got a different agenda,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œI think right now if you’€™re Vincent Jackson, if you’€™re Logan Mankins, if you’€™re Peyton Manning, somebody whose contract is expiring and you’€™re set to become a free agent, you damn well care about these negotiations and where they’€™re going. Because you’€™re not getting paid until there’€™s a new deal.

‘€œMiles Austin had a contract extension last fall, a big contract extension with a lot of guaranteed money up front. So, in his own way, I understand where he’€™s coming from. ‘€˜You know what? Can’€™t control it. I’€™ve got my money. I got paid. Whatever it’€™ll be, it’€™ll be.’€™ ‘€

Schefter also talked about the coaching situation in Tennessee, where the Titans and Jeff Fisher agreed to part ways.

‘€œThis would not have been a surprise if it had happened on January 7,’€ Schefter said. ‘€œThe fact that it happened on January 27 was a big surprise. It was a big surprise because the Titans basically had said, ‘€˜OK, we’€™re bringing back Jeff Fisher. We’€™d like to have him back.’€™

‘€œBut the truth of the matter is there was an uneasy truce between the two sides, and Jeff Fisher was not going to sign a contract extension with Tennessee. Tennessee was not going to offer a contract extension. As somebody in the NFL told me last night, if something’€™s inevitable, you might as well make the move immediately. And that’€™s what happened. Both sides knew that eventually this was going to get to a divorce.’€

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Read More: adam schefter, Jeff Fisher, Miles Austin, Plaxico Burress

League still plans on having franchise tag in place next month

01.28.11 at 1:08 am ET
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In a sitdown with a handful of reporters on Thursday afternoon, an NFL spokesman talked about the financial consequences of a possible lockout, and one of the things that came up was the fact that the league expects the franchise tag to still be in place for teams to use this year, beginning in February. With the looming labor uncertainty, there was some question as to whether or not the franchise tag would still be in place.

This should have an impact on the Patriots when it comes to sitting down at the bargaining table with free agent Logan Mankins. New England has commonly used the franchise tag on players while they continue to negotiate with them ‘€” they did it last year with Vince Wilfork, and also did it in the past with former kicker Adam Vinatieri ‘€” and could use it as they talk with Mankins about a new deal.

Read More: Adam Vinatieri, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork,

Tom Brady checks in at No. 5 on BusinessWeek list of most powerful athletes

01.28.11 at 12:48 am ET
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BusinessWeek magazine has revealed their list of the 100 most powerful athletes in sports, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is No. 5, up from No. 30 last year. The magazine salutes Brady’s on-field talents, but gives a nod to his off-field business acumen as well.

They write: “Tom Brady signed a contract in September that earned him a spot as the highest-paid player in football, then had one of his best-ever regular seasons, with only four interceptions. Three Super Bowl rings and chiseled good looks make Brady a perfect pitchman for everything from Stetson hats to girly UGG boots. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen.) We estimate that he pulled in a cool $20 million in endorsements.”

For what it’s worth, Brady’s most famous contemporary ‘€” Peyton Manning ‘€” tops the list.

For more on Brady’s spot, click here.

Read More: Gisele Bundchen, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady,

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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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.

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