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Nick Caserio expresses sympathy for Marathon bombing victims, thanks to first responders

04.22.13 at 1:01 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio opened his pre-draft press conference on Monday afternoon with a few thoughts about the victims of the Marathon bombings, as well as a word of thanks for the first responders.

“In regard to last week, I think it’s fair to say all of our minds were elsewhere, and the last thing we were thinking about was the draft and football,” said Caserio. “Before we get started on the football front, just a prayer and a thought to the families of the victims and those directly affected by the events of last week. I think all of us were impacted indirectly, but some more directly than others. Thoughts and prayers are still with everybody as we’re recovering, and a debt of gratitude is certainly in order for the law enforcement officials of Boston, specifically Watertown for their swift efforts last week, their painstaking efforts, to reach a resolution, enable us to get back to some degree of normalcy.

“It’s a slow process,” he added. “I think we’re all working through it, but without their efforts, we probably wouldn’t even be standing here today having a press conference. Definitely a debt of gratitude and appreciation is in order for them. I think it’s been pretty neat to see the city of Boston respond to the events. This is a strong city. It’s a hard-nosed city. It’s a tough city. The one thing about it, the people of Boston, we’re going to fight. We’re going to battle. Some of the efforts of the people last week, the first to respond, were pretty heroic on that front. Sitting down here at Gillette Stadium, probably can’t really understand the true impact that it had on people there live, but I think it speaks to the city of Boston and what we’re about. I think that’s most appropriate for everybody here today.”

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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Georgia DT Johnathan Jenkins

04.22.13 at 7:12 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Nose tackle

School: Georgia

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 346 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-SEC second team (coaches)

What he brings: Jenkins stands out for his size — especially his width — and his strength, though his width does limit his mobility somewhat. When he positions himself well, he’s very difficult to move, and he’s played multiple positions on the Georgia defensive line. Some say he gets out-leveraged occasionally by smaller offensive linemen who get underneath him, and while his quickness is impressive for his massive size, it’s not particularly remarkable overall. He’s effective in battling through blocks to the quarterback, showing good technique and consistent effort as well as overpowering physical strength, but his main role is to clog up lanes and prevent the run.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Jenkins left Gulf Coast Community College as a highly regarded junior college prospect in 2009, landing at Georgia and appearing in 14 games in his first season. In his senior season, he made 50 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack. projects him as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme.

Related articles: ESPN: John Jenkins of Georgia Bulldogs ruled academically ineligible to play in Capital One Bowl

Columbus (Georgia) Ledger Enquirer: Big John is a big pro prospect

Atlanta Journal-Constituion: Big John Jenkins says he bought into UGA’s vision of ‘Dream Team’

Video: Here is a look at Jenkins vs. Alabama in the 2012 SEC championship game.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Johnathan Jenkins,

What a trade of Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay means for Patriots

04.21.13 at 11:35 am ET
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The much-discussed trade that would send cornerback Darrelle Revis from the Jets to Tampa Bay appeared to take another step closer to reality on Sunday, as several reports indicated that New York is allowing the Pro Bowl corner to go to Tampa to take a physical –which could certainly be taken as a precursor to a trade.

(UPDATE, 4:44 p.m.: Revis’ agent has Tweeted the news that the trade to Tampa Bay has become official.)

So what does that mean for the Patriots? The prospect of not having to face Revis twice a year certainly has to be appetizing for the New England passing game. When he was healthy, Revis was a major part of the defensive success that New York had enjoyed over the last five seasons — an elite, lockdown corner who could close off one half of the field, he was able to change the game and allow the Jets to do things defensively they couldn’t do before he arrived. Some of the best individual matchups I’ve seen over the last four seasons involved Revis against either Randy Moss or Wes Welker. Great talents always trying to one up each other. Now, guys like Danny Amendola, Donald Jones and (to some extent) Aaron Hernandez should celebrate the prospect of not having to face Revis twice a year as a division rival.

(One ironic thing, as far as the Patriots are concerned — they finally have Revis out of their division … but if the trade to Tampa Bay does go through, they’ll still have to face him in 2013, as New England will host the Bucs on Sept. 22.)

Three thoughts, as far as the Jets are concerned: one, while it remains to be seen how much they will get back in return, this deal appears to make sense in the sense that even coming off a season-ending knee injury, Revis remains their most tradeable chip. Two, while it’s not anywhere in the vicinity of the albatross that is the Mark Sanchez contract, it’s more money coming off their books, and gives New York a little more financial freedom and more flexibility when it comes to rebuilding. And three, good or bad — even if he’s not the one pulling the trigger here — this deal will certainly come to define new Jets GM John Idzik. This will either mark the start of the turnaround in New York and the road back to respectability, or the beginning of the end of his tenure.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, John Idzik,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore

04.21.13 at 7:30 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to provide daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Running back

School: South Carolina

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 221 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-SEC honorable mention (media), 2011 All-SEC second team (media, coaches), 2010 SEC Freshman of the Year (media, coaches), 2010 All-SEC first team (media, coaches)

What he brings: Numerous scouts have noted Lattimore’s field vision and quick feet. It has also been said that Lattimore is a solid receiver with good hands and is good at blocking and protecting the quarterback when needed. also notes his ability to break tackles and his strong work ethic.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 4 or 5

Notes: In 2012, Lattimore set the University of South Carolina school record for career touchdowns (34). Also that season, he suffered a severe knee injury against Tennessee, ending his season early for the second consecutive season. In the 2011 season Lattimore ranked near the top of both the SEC and country in rushing yards per game (116.9).

Related articles: Horrific knee injury motivates Marcus Lattimore Marcus Lattimore hopes past injuries won’t jeopardize NFL career Marcus Lattimore hopes to follow Willis McGahee’s path

Video: Here is a package of Lattimore highlights.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, marcus lattimore,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Baylor WR Terrance Williams

04.20.13 at 7:15 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Wide receiver

School: Baylor

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 208 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America first team (unanimous), 2012 Biletnikoff Award finalist, 2012 All-Big 12 first team (coaches), 2011 All-Big 12 honorable mention (coaches)

What he brings: Williams’ height has helped him with potential jump balls in the red zone. notes that he is good at shaking his defender off the line and credits him with the speed to gain a step down the sideline. It is also being said that Williams tracks the ball and adjusts to it in the air, and has showcased the ability to stop and turn for the back-shoulder fade. CBS Sports points out Williams’ blocking ability and his efforts in route adjustments. Some scouts have compared him to Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Williams will leave Baylor with eight school records to his name, including career all-purpose yards (4,693), single-season receiving yards (1,832 in 2012), single-season yards per game (140.9 in 2012), single game receptions (17 in 2012), and single-game receiving yards (314 in 2012). His 2012 receiving yards and yards per game total also led the entire nation.

Related Articles: Terrance Williams continues success of Baylor WRs

The Washington Post: Terrance Williams expects big return for RGIII Terrance Williams hopes to be drafted by Cowboys

Video: Here’s a closer look at Williams with some analysis.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Terrance Williams,

Tom Brady offers thanks to law enforcement agents in Marathon bombing case

04.19.13 at 11:37 pm ET
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After the news broke of an arrest in the Marathon bombing case late Friday night, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took to his Facebook page to weigh in on the events: “Thank you to all the brave law enforcement agents for keeping our city safe. #BostonStrong”
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NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks

04.19.13 at 7:10 am ET
By   |   Comments will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 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.


Position: Cornerback

School: Mississippi State

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 185 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back), 2011 All-SEC second team (cornerback), 2009 All-SEC freshman team (safety)

What he brings: Entering the draft following a highly successful four-year tenure with the Bulldogs, Banks is a great press coverage corner who also boasts a strong skill set when it comes to stopping interior passing games. When it comes to blanketing a receiver within 10-15 yards of the line of scrimmage, Banks matches up with anyone else in the draft class. Beyond that, though, there are some blemishes.

The first thing that is apparent with Banks is his height and ball skills. With his frame, Banks could easily slide in at safety. In fact, he was recruited at the position and played there as a freshman with the Bulldogs. However, since switching to cornerback, he has shown great quickness when covering short-yardage routes, particularly when talking about a player his size. Additionally, Banks tallied a school-record 16 interceptions during his time at Mississippi State.

However, when it comes to the vertical passing game, Banks comes up a bit short. Unlike a lot of taller cornerbacks, such as FSU’s Xavier Rhodes, Banks is quick, not fast. This comes into play when he has to stick with a receiver in man coverage. At the combine, Banks ran a disappointing 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash. At his pro day, though, he recorded an improved time of 4.51-4.55. As with any player, the 40 does not write one’€™s NFL success in stone. However, it does nothing to help dispel pre-existing concerns over his inability to keep up receivers downfield. Although, when he is there, Banks plays the ball well, using his height and leaping ability against receivers to make a play on the pass.

The final issue with Banks is a odd one for a big cornerback: his ability to take down ball-carriers. Banks, who was often used with great effect as a blitzer, does a good job punishing players when coming straight down on them. However, Banks has a tendency to overpursue and get caught up in traffic against the run, and can let a runner go if they put a move on him.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1 or 2

Notes: When it comes to cornerbacks who can provide press coverage, particularly in a Tampa 2 scheme, Banks presents a great value. Although, teams that want him to have a presence near the line of scrimmage will need him to bulk up and improve his tackling game.

In most cases, tall corners are tasked with lining up on the outside and using their press skills to their fullest extent. Banks, though, has exceptional versatility along the defensive backfield. In addition to his experience at safety, Banks’€™ ability to stick with receivers on short, quick routes makes him ideal for teams looking for a player to slide into the slot in nickel and dime formations. Should he end up adding to his frame and developing his skills in run support, Banks could become a dangerous defender in the box.

While it’€™s strange to see a receiver at 6-foot-2 (a la Dez Bryant) back receiving punts, it’€™s even more odd to see a defensive back doing so. Yet that’€™s exactly what Banks did in college as the team’€™s leading punt returner his senior year, averaging 10.5 yards per attempt.

Related articles: The Shutdown 50: Mississippi State DB Johnthan Banks

ESPN: Johnthan Banks gets Thorpe Award

Pro Football Talk: Mississippi State’€™s Johnthan Banks: I can cover Megatron

Video: Here’s a playlist of some of Banks’ performances against SEC competition, starting with a 2012 matchup against Tennessee and the Volunteers’ vaunted wide receivers:

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, 2013 Potential Patriots, Johnthan Banks, Xavier Rhodes
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