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Browns draft Trent Richardson

04.26.12 at 8:20 pm ET
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The Browns couldn’t get a star quarterback, but they were still able to get a potential offensive star by taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson third overall.

The Browns moved up one spot in a trade with the Vikings shortly before the draft, sending fourth, fifth and seventh-round picks to Minnesota in order to move from No. 4 to No. 3.

This is the highest a running back has been selected in the draft since Reggie Bush was taken second overall by the Saints in 2006.

The feeling here (and it’s backed up by years of proof) is that selecting running backs in the first round is a bad idea. However, some running backs, such as Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson, have been worth top-10 selections and Richardson is the best prospect at the position since Peterson.

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Redskins take Robert Griffin III second overall

04.26.12 at 8:13 pm ET
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The Redskins followed the Colts with another predictable pick Thursday night as they chose Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick.

The Redskins, who were initially slated to pick sixth overall, traded their first-rounders in the next three years as well as this year’s second-rounder (No. 34 overall) to move up four spots to grab the Heisman-winning quarterback.

Griffin’s athleticism may give him a higher ceiling than Andrew Luck, whom the Colts chose first overall. His 4.41 40-yard dash time was the second-fastest ever for a quarterback.

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Surprise, surprise: Colts draft Andrew Luck first overall

04.26.12 at 8:06 pm ET
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To the surprise of no one, the Colts opened the 2012 NFL draft by selecting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

The team had announced earlier in the week that Luck would be the pick after the team finished with the worst record in the NFL without the injured Peyton Manning. The Colts released Manning in March.

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Patriots dismiss talk they’ve asked Seattle about the No. 12 pick

04.26.12 at 5:12 pm ET
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The Patriots said Thursday afternoon via their official Twitter account that they have not spoken with Seattle about moving up to the No. 12 overall pick. That disputes an initial report from earlier in the day on Thursday that said New England had asked the Seahawks about the possibility of moving up in the first round.

While the Patriots are always keeping their options open, phone calls between teams on draft day usually fall into the “due diligence” category. Without talking about specific situations, in his pre-draft press conference earlier this month, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said such conversations with other teams at this time of year are “pretty generic and general.”

“We’€™ll reach out to a team and just say, ‘€˜OK, you pick here, we pick here’€™ and just see whether or not they even entertain whether it’€™s moving up or moving down,” Caserio said of the Patriots, who currently hold the No. 27 and No. 31 picks in the first round. “You’€™re just trying to gauge what their level of interest is in doing any sort of business or any sort of transaction. But I would say honestly, those sort of materialize the day of the draft.

“I would say, just relative to where we’€™re picking right now, we’€™ll talk to teams and kind of get a general sense of the landscape but until that actual moment comes, until we’€™re actually in the draft room and the phone rings, we’€™ll listen and if it’€™s something that makes sense, we’€™ll consider it and if not, then we won’€™t.”

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Report: Pats asking Seattle what it would take to get 12th overall pick

04.26.12 at 1:27 pm ET
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The Patriots have reportedly inquired about what it would take to get the 12th overall pick from the Seahawks in Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network. While teams make these sorts of calls all the time in the hours leading up to the draft, the thinking is that New England would be inquiring about the selection with an eye toward picking up Alabama safety Mark Barron, far and away the leading safety in this draft and a player who the Cowboys have openly coveted with the 14th overall selection. For more on Baron, check out our profile on him HERE.

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NFL mock draft roundup: Experts expect Pats to go pass rusher or safety in Round 1

04.26.12 at 12:53 pm ET
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The 2012 NFL draft is just hours away and the national media has made its final projections as to which players are going where. Here’s a roundup of who some of the nation’s top draft experts expect the Patriots to select in the coming days. These mock drafts range from one-round to full seven-round projections. However, the Patriots are without any picks after Round 4 due to trades.

Disclaimer: These projections are all made in the highly unlikely case that the Patriots do not trade any of their picks this year.

Mel Kiper: ESPN

Round 1, Pick 27 ‘€“ Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama: A couple weeks ago, Upshaw falling all the way to the Patriots seemed like a pipe dream. Now, scouts have picked apart Upshaw’€™s measurable and appear to have dropped him down their boards in favor of players like Syracuse’s Chandler Jones. Kiper expects Belichick to look past that in favor of Upshaw’€™s tenacity and skills against the run and pass, getting both value and need with his first selection.

Round 1, Pick 31 ‘€“ Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: Kiper projects the Patriots filling their other big need on the roster with the No. 2-ranked safety in the draft. Although, Kiper does mention that Belichick could go for a cornerback here if the right player falls to him. Smith is a guy that’€™s been rising but gets good reviews from Kiper as a player that plays well up in the box.

Todd McShay: ESPN

Round 1, Pick 27 ‘€“ Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise St: McShay didn’€™t provide any analysis for his picks, but the McClellin selection doesn’€™t require much at this point. A versatile player against the pass and the run, McClellin is a rising player who hasn’€™t received much criticism through the entire process.

Round 1, Pick 31 ‘€“ Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: McShay’€™s mock echoes his colleague’€™s with the second selection and is part of a trend throughout a lot of these mocks, where the Patriots are expected to go for a safety and an edge rusher in the first round.

Round 2, Pick 16 ‘€“ Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn: McShay projects another popular projection for the Patriots, Reyes, falling to them in the second round, a scenario that Belichick & Co. would certainly jump on, should it present itself.

Round 2, Pick 31 ‘€“ Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt: The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Hayward was a rock in the secondary against the SEC’€™s best receivers against some mediocre Vanderbilt teams. McShay has the Patriots going for a corner who could see playing time in early in the right situations with his physicality and ability to be aggressive in zone coverage underneath.

Round 3, Pick 30 ‘€“ James Brown, G, Troy: McShay expects the Patriots to take this college tackle and move him inside to develop him as a potential future starter. A raw talent, the 6-foot-4 Brown would play big at guard. He shows good quickness and leverage but will need to add strength and bulk in order to have success at the next level, especially inside.

Round 4, Pick 31 ‘€“ Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State: Baker was a starter as a sophomore for the Spartans but lost his job this past season to sophomore Le’€™Veon Bell, who vastly outplayed him with a comparable number of carries. In short, Baker brings the boom as a powerful runner but lacks skills in the passing game as a receiver or blocker. He also needs to show more decisiveness as a runner, rather than Laurence Maroney-ing around in the backfield.

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Mike Lombardi on D&C: Being in Bill Belichick’s war room like ‘being an analyst for a brokerage house’

04.26.12 at 11:07 am ET
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NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning less than 12 hours before the NFL draft to discuss his last-minute thoughts on the draft and share his knowledge of what it is like to be in the war room with Bill Belichick.

Lombardi was director of player personnel under Belichick with the Browns and has been in the war room with Belichick during previous drafts. As such, he is one of the few people who can provide a insider assessment of what Belichick might do on draft day.

Belichick traditionally trades down to acquire additional picks, and since the Patriots have two first-round draft picks this year (No. 27 and No. 31) along with two second-rounders, Belichick certainly has picks to spare for trades. Lombardi, however, said Belichick likely will not plan anything with his picks until the first 10 picks of the draft are made.

“Ultimately, where Bill is going to start getting interested is right around Kansas City at 11,” Lombardi said. “That will probably give him an idea of what potentially can be there for him, whether he needs to move up or move back. What makes Bill so good is that there’s no sense that he’s in love with a player. He’s always going to react to the board. He’s always going to make decisions based on what’s good for the team, not necessarily what he has to fall in love with for a player.”

In Lombardi’s mock draft on NFL.com, he predicted that the Patriots will select 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive end Vinny Curry with their first pick. Curry is a pass rusher who is versatile enough to fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme but has been criticized as a weak player in the running game. Lombardi was the only analyst of the seven NFL analysts to release mock drafts this week to predict that the Patriots would take Curry at No. 27.

“It’s someone from the outside,” Lombardi said to explain his choice. “He’s long. He’s athletic. He can play [multiple] positions. He can play in a 3-4. He can play in a 4-3. He can do some different things.

“I think when you get picked by the New England Patriots, especially defensively, you better be multidimensional. You better have the ability to do things, whether it’s play in the kicking game, whether it’s play two positions, whether it’s being able to feature yourself around the scheme of their 4-3 or 3-4.”

Lombardi also gave an account of what being in a draft room with Belichick is like, noting that Belichick’s draft atmosphere is controlled and sparse in personnel.

“It’s very quiet with Bill,” Lombardi said. “Everything’s very, you know, you’re studying things. It’s no different than being an analyst for a brokerage house. You’re analyzing what’s going on. You’re handicapping yourself. You’re looking at the possibilities. You’re working the trade phones. You’re trying to find out information on things to help set up what you want to do.”

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