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The Big Board: Updated list of Patriots’ private workouts and pre-draft visits

04.19.11 at 12:20 am ET
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With the draft now less than two weeks away, teams are in the final stages of prep work, and one of those stages includes the on-site visits. Each team is allowed to host up to 30 prospects on official visits as part of the pre-draft process, and while teams are allowed to work out as many players as they like until the day before the draft, the on-site visits run through this Wednesday.

Below is a list of official visits to Foxboro we have been able to confirm. It’€™s important to remember that these visits are usually done to accomplish one of two things: First, it’€™s a way to go in-depth with a potential draft pick, a way to gauge whether or not that prospect would fit your system. (Many times, the on-site visits are also to clear up any lingering medical questions a player might have.) Second, there’€™s the real possibility that some of these visits are bonafide attempts at misdirection, hoping to get another team interested in a prospect simply because the Patriots have feigned interest.

This is by no means a complete list ‘€” simply a rundown of those we have independently verified:
Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey
Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter
North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin
Clemson defensive lineman Da’€™Quan Bowers
Alabama running back Mark Ingram

In addition, it’€™s been reported by multiple outlets the following players will have or have already had official visits with the Patriots:
Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara (NFL Network)
Colorado left tackle Nate Solder (National Football Post)
USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith (National Football Post)
Illinois running back Mikel LeShoure (Boston Herald)
Washington quarterback Jake Locker (ESPN)
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett (ESPN)

Here’€™s our list of players who have had or will have private workouts or meetings with the Patriots. It should be noted that (as we stated here previously) private workouts are a way for a team to gather additional ‘€œintel,’€ in the words of one veteran agent. An as is the case with the on-site visit, there’€™s also the chance that a well-publicized workout could be an attempts to get another team interested in a prospect simply because the Patriots have feigned interest.

As is the case with the on-site visits, this is by no means a complete list ‘€” simply a rundown of those we have independently verified:

Offense
Hillsdale wide receiver Andre Holmes
Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey
Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith
Kentucky wide receiver Chris Matthews
Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams
Nevada tight end Virgil Green
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton
TCU wide receiver Jeremy Kerley
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi
Missouri offensive lineman Tim Barnes

Defense
Citadel defensive back Cortez Allen
Miami defensive lineman Allen Bailey
Northwestern defensive lineman Corbin Bryant
Missouri defensive back Kevin Rutland
UTC defensive back Buster Skrine
Hampton defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis
South Florida defensive lineman Terrell McClain
Arizona defensive end/linebacker Brooks Reed
Arizona defensive end Ricky Elmore
Arizona defensive end D’€™Aundre Reed

In addition, it’€™s been reported by multiple outlets the following players will have or have had private workouts or meetings with the Patriots:

Offense
Connecticut running back Jordan Todman (via National Football Post)
Mount Union wide receiver Cecil Shorts (via NEPatriotsDraft.com)
Montana State offensive lineman Mike Person (via Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts (via SI.com)
Maryland running back Da’€™Rel Scott (via SI.com)
Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb (via SI.com)
Kentucky running back Derrick Locke (via SI.com)
Colorado offensive lineman Nate Solder (via National Football Post)
Abilene Christian wide receiver Edmond Gates (via multiple outlets)

Defense
Fresno State defensive back Desia Dunn (via Fresnostate.scout.com)
Louisville defensive back Johnny Patrick (via ESPNBoston)
South Florida cornerback Mistral Raymond (via ESPNBoston)
Temple defensive back Jaiquawn Jarrett (via National Football Post)
Maryland linebacker Adrien Moten (via National Football Post)
Temple defensive lineman Eli Joseph (via New York Daily News)
Texas defensive back Chykie Brown (via Dallas Morning News)

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NFL says scheduled will be released on Tuesday night

04.18.11 at 6:06 pm ET
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Despite the labor situation, the NFL announced Monday that the 2011 regular-season schedule will be unveiled on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NFL Network and NFL.com. The Patriots’ list of opponents is already known: They will play home games against Buffalo, the New York Jets, Miami, Dallas, Indianapolis, Kansas City, the New York Giants and San Diego. In addition, New England will travel to face Buffalo, the New York Jets, Miami, Denver, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington.

Bill Belichick talks draft with Sirius NFL Radio

04.18.11 at 5:41 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick spoke with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller of Sirius NFL Radio for approximately 15 minutes Monday afternoon, and talked a lot about the draft and the state of the NFL. Here are some of the highlights:

On the draft board coming together at this time of year:
‘€œI would agree with that. You spend a lot of time going through the spring, going through piles and piles of information and at some point you’€™ve got to take all the information and assign some values and set your board and kind of figure out how things are falling into place. That’€™s kind of the stage that we’€™re at right now, trying to establish our final values, go through all our medical checks and all the other bits and pieces that come in that aren’€™t the final thing but they’€™re just part of the puzzle and you just look at the pieces and then make your decisions. You get to the last couple days before the draft and you really can start to formulate the draft strategy based on other teams and their needs and the calls you start getting and things like that.’€

On weeding through potential misinformation:
‘€œI think you can get information up to draft day. I think we’€™ve all seen that with different examples of players from year to year, but I’€™d say for the most part the most important thing that a player has is his three or four years of production and performance at a college playing football, and that’€™s what we all have to go on and that carries a lot of weight. And then, of course, there are some other factors that could weigh in but that’€™s the most important thing and that’€™s already in the books and everybody’€™s had a chance to evaluate it. I think that plays the biggest role in where the player’€™s actual value and peg is.’€

On the 33rd pick possibly getting a lot of action:
‘€œWell, I can definitely see that. And we’€™re sitting there at No. 28 in the first round as well so we kind of have two picks there pretty close to each other and sometimes that has some dynamics’€¦it’€™s one of two spots that somebody could move into instead of just one. One way or another teams will have to, if they want to deal, I think we’€™ll be one of the teams that they’€™ll want to talk to. But there’€™s plenty of good players on the board and as you know, you can’€™t take those draft picks and throw them at your opponents. You’€™ve got to actually take a player and the player’€™s got to go out there and help you win so sooner or later you’€™ve got to convert those into productive players and that’€™s really our goal for next weekend is to take those three days and improve our football team and get better football players on the team so hopefully we’€™ll be able to do that.’€
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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jermaine Cunningham, Jim Miller, Justin Houston

Alabama running back Mark Ingram on his way to Boston

04.18.11 at 12:11 pm ET
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Alabama running back Mark Ingram Tweeted Monday morning: “Headed to the airport, off to Boston. Another week living in the airport.”

The former Heisman Trophy winner is viewed as one of the top running backs available in the draft, but questions have recently surfaced about the health of his knee. Teams have until Wednesday to complete their on-site visits, and this (presumed) visit with the Patriots could be to check the status of his knee.

Ingram just finished up his college career at Alabama playing for former Bill Belichick assistant Nick Saban, and said most of his knowledge of Belichick comes from his work with Saban.

‘€œI know him and coach Saban and real close,’€ Ingram said when he was asked about Belichick. ‘€œI heard they’€™re kind of similar in their coaching styles and how they run things, but I haven’€™t talked to them yet. I have meetings coming up tonight and tomorrow ‘€” I don’€™t know who they’€™re with. But I haven’€™t talked to them yet.’€

Saban and Belichick remain close, and as far as Ingram is concerned, anyone who is like Nick Saban is OK in his book.

‘€œCoach Saban was great. He’€™s a demanding guy. He demands perfection,’€ Ingram said. ‘€œAs long as you’€™re working hard and doing what you’€™re supposed to do, then he’€™s not going to bother you. But just learning from his defense and learning from him as a player has been so great. Everybody who comes from Alabama is mentally and physically prepared for the next level just because of the type of system he runs and how he runs his program.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Mark Ingram, Nick Saban,

Bill Parcells says he’s ‘done’ with coaching

04.18.11 at 11:22 am ET
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In a conference call with reporters Monday morning, Bill Parcells said his time in the NFL was over, but joked that you could write down the statement “in pencil.”

“No, I’m done. I know I’ve said that before ‘€” you better put it down in pencil,” Parcells said. “I’m going to be 70 years old in August and I’m enjoying my time now. This is the first … I really left Miami about October 1st last year, and this is the first time I’ve really had any extended period of time to myself. I’m doing some things that I enjoy doing.

“It’s a good time for me and fortunately I’m in good health, and feel good. I still have a lot of things I’d like to try to do, but I think I’m going to leave the NFL to someone else now.”

Parcells, who was named as a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame (along with Drew Bledsoe and Houston Antwine) said he regrets the way things ended for him in New England, but he has since mended fences with owner Robert Kraft.

“Let’s say we had a couple of domestic misunderstandings with the ownership, and I do regret that. Those things have since been resolved, and I think retrospectively, I would have handled things substantially differently than I did,” he said. “I was always saddened by the fact that I had to leave there. In all honesty, I didn’t really want to. I’m sure Bob would say something along those lines himself, because we have talked about that.

“I do regret that. But hey, that’s life. You learn from things as you go on. Certainly, retrospectively, I would have approached it a little bit differently than what I did.”

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Some highlights from Bill Parcells’ Monday Q&A with the media

04.18.11 at 11:14 am ET
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Bill Parcells ‘€” along with Drew Bledsoe and Houston Antwine, one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame ‘€” held a conference call with the media Monday morning. (Fans can vote at Patriots.com.) Here are some of the highlights of his Q&A with the media:

You say this is a surprise … why is that?
“I don’t know. First of all, I really didn’t know much about this. I really didn’t know that this was in existence at the Patriots. Stacey was kind enough to call me and tell me about it, so it was a surprise in that matter of speaking. I really just wasn’t familiar that they had something like this going on.”

On the second stint in New England, what do you remember the most?
“Well, I remember going there, and in all honesty, the franchise was ‘€” I don’t want to say in disarray, but it certainly was unsettled. That would be the best way to put it. The ownership was unsettled, there were not a lot of people going to the games. The management of the franchise was unsettled. It was a big undertaking. I do see a lot when Robert Kraft took over the team, that was very, a major step for stability for the franchise, and for the Patriots themselves. Of course, now it’s one of the premier franchises, top three or four in the league, no doubt. Just look what’s happened in the 15 years or 16 years from then until now. It’s gone from being a place that didn’t have very good facilities to having the best. The team wasn’t great and now it’s certainly a premier team. And Bill Belichick’s done a tremendous job there, a remarkable job. It’s a model for the teams in the league there that are striving to do what the Patriots have already done. I don’t really think I had a whole lot to do with that, but I think the one thing I would say that was helpful is that we were able to, in the course of my time there, I’ll name a few guys because I was just thinking about what i was going to say: besides the obvious in Drew Bledsoe, [Willie] McGinest, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Troy Brown, [Tedy] Bruschi, Curtis Martin, Adam Vinatieri, Terry Glenn … we were able to put those players on the team to go with Ben Coates and [Bruce] Armstrong and Sam Gash and Maurice Hurst, who was a good little player, guys who were already there, and I think that was the beginning of some personnel continuity. Some of those kids have gone on to be as you know some of the great players in Patriots history. So I do take a sense of accomplishment in that because there are some real quality players there who made a significant contribution to the development of the franchise.”
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Read More: Adam Vinatieri, Ben Coates, Bill Parcells, Bruce Armstrong

Drew Bledsoe talks about being a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame

04.15.11 at 6:19 pm ET
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Drew Bledsoe ‘€” one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame, along with Bill Parcells and Houston Antwine ‘€” held a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon. (Fans can vote now at Patriots.com.) Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here are a few of the highlights:

What were your impressions of the Patriots organization when you were drafted and later when you left the organization in a better place a decade later?
‘€œMy wife and I had a chance this last year to come back, and [we] hadn’€™t been back a lot to New England since. We had a chance to walk around the stadium and around Patriot Place and see The Hall there and see all that’€™s transpired since we left. I think we all probably recognize the state of the organization when I was drafted in ‘€™93. [It] was not an organization that had had a lot of success. But under the stewardship of Bill Parcells and moving on obviously to the ownership of the Kraft family, it’€™s really become one of if not the marquee franchise in the NFL. Certainly I’€™m very proud of whatever part I played in that rise to prominence of the organization. You know the comment I made to my wife the last time [we were there] was I really felt like during my time there the organization went from one place to a much better place and then from there, once I left, it’€™s continued to go onwards and upward. I’€™m certainly very proud to have been part of that resurgence of the Patriots and I also take some degree of pride in seeing where they’€™ve gone since I left. What the Kraft family has done with that organization and with the support of fans across the New England region, it’€™s pretty neat to see where it was and where it is now.’€

Another finalist who is on the ballot with you is Bill Parcells. Can you talk about being under his guidance, not once, but twice?
‘€œI was a glutton for punishment. I went back for more. It was a petty rare thing when I was drafted to come to an organization that had not had much success but all of a sudden had a Super Bowl-winning coach on the sidelines. That was very fortuitous for me and for the organization to have a coach of his stature come in, even when there hadn’€™t been much success, but instantly there seemed to be a sense of optimism and Bill was certainly a part of that. Bill’€™s record is what it is. He’s a fantastic coach. He was great at rebuilding franchises. He did it numerous times. I’€™m proud to say I played for him.’€

Is there anybody on the team that you still keep in touch with, including Tom Brady?
‘€œI keep in touch with Tommy every now and then, mostly via text message. We’€™ve talked a handful of times over the years. I’€™ve certainly been very proud to watch the way Tom has handled himself. Obviously he’€™s been one of the best players in the league for a number of years now on the field, but the way that he has continued to conduct himself with such a level of class, on and off the field, I’€™ve been proud to watch that. Success is one thing, but there is only so much you can control of that part. The part that you can control is how you handle yourself as a person, and watching Tommy’€™s success and the way that he has handled all of it has been great to watch. I keep in touch with a number of guys. I talked to Todd Rucci just yesterday. We keep in touch quite a bit. I stay in touch with Bruce Armstrong from time to time. I did touch base with Kevin Turner here just in the last couple of months. Hearing about and seeing what he’€™s been going through has been kind of a rough deal, seeing somebody who was a teammate and a great friend going through what he’€™s going through is a pretty difficult thing. But I’€™ve touched base with him a couple of times. And then, when we were back out there, I spent some time with [Scott] Zolak and Max Lane and some of those guys that I played with. But the guy I keep in touch with the most is Rucci. I touch base with a number of other guys from time to time, but it’€™s going to be fun to get back together with everybody, so hopefully we’€™ll get that done here soon. I keep in touch with Terry Glenn once in a while, too. Terry and I exchange text messages from time to time. I got to play with Terry twice.’€
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Read More: Ben Coates, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Bruce Armstrong
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