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Resetting the complete list of the Patriots’ 17 unrestricted free agents

04.04.12 at 8:17 am ET
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Here’s a quick update on the status of the 17 unrestricted free agents on the Patriots radar at the start of free agency:

Running back Kevin Faulk: Has yet to sign. Reportedly contemplating retirement.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis: Signed a three-year contract with Cincinnati.
Wide receiver Deion Branch: Signed one-year deal with the Patriots.
Wide receiver/Special teamer Matt Slater: Signed three-year contract with the Patriots.
Wide receiver Wes Welker: Receiver franchise tag, has yet to sign the tender.
Offensive lineman Dan Connolly: Signed three-year contract with the Patriots.
Center Dan Koppen: Has yet to sign. Will reportedly visit with Tennessee this week.
Defensive end Mark Anderson: Signed four-year contract with Buffalo.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Has yet to sign.
Defensive end Shaun Ellis: Has yet to sign.
Defensive tackle Gerard Warren: Has yet to sign.
Linebacker Gary Guyton: Has yet to sign
Linebacker Niko Koutouvides: Signed one-year deal with the Patriots.
Linebacker Tracy White: Signed one-year deal with the Patriots.
Cornerback Nate Jones: Has yet to sign.
Cornerback Antwaun Molden: Has yet to sign. Has visited the Giants, and will reportedly visit the Seahawks Wednesday.
Safety James Ihedigbo: Has yet to sign.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency,

Greg Cosell: ‘The Patriots would be a better defense if they had an edge rusher that demanded attention’

04.03.12 at 2:39 pm ET
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Greg Cosell hears you, Patriots fans. Cosell, who produces the show “NFL Matchup” for ESPN, and watches more game film than just about anyone, understands the hue and cry among New England fans to draft a pass rusher.

“I think an edge rusher that would demand attention is always important,” Cosell said. “The Patriots would be a better defense if they had an edge rusher who demanded attention. That’s what it comes down to.”

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio says this is a good draft if you’re looking at the front seven. Rush linebackers who are expected to go in the first round include Whitney Mercilus, Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram. Cosell, who calls sacks a “totally overrated” statistic, says the key is finding someone who will demand attention from an offensive coordinator. From there, he explains that it’s a “domino effect.”

“Having an edge rusher, he’s not going to get 40 sacks. That won’t happen,” he said. “You want the defense, when they game plan, to have to say, ‘We need to allocate an extra body for this guy.’ So now, instead of being able to send five eligible receivers out, you can only send four. Defense then has an advantage right away. It’s a domino effect.

“Football is a numbers game. How can you get to the quarterback with the fewest number of rushers? On offense, how can you protect your quarterback with the fewest number of protectors? It’s all numbers. If you can win the numbers battle, pre-snap … because you have Randy Moss, who automatically allocates two guys. If you can win the numbers battle because you have DeMarcus Ware, who automatically dictates an extra guy somewhere along the line of scrimmage, you can do other things. That’s what it all comes down to. It doesn’t mean that he’s going to get five sacks a game.”

Read More: Courtney Upshaw, DeMarcus Ware, Greg Cosell, Melvin Ingram

NFL unveils new Nike-designed uniforms

04.03.12 at 12:23 pm ET
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The new uniforms for all 32 NFL teams, as designed by Nike, were unveiled Tuesday morning in New York City. Reebok’€™s 10-year contract with the league officially ended Sunday, as Nike took over the uniform contract (reportedly in the neighborhood of $35 million annually) and gained exclusive rights when it comes to jersey sales and uniform designs.

As for the Patriots, their new model is at right, and as you can see, features only minor changes, including the Nike logo on the pants.

When it comes to the rest of the league, the biggest changes appeared to be with the Seahawks, who now have several new aspects to their uniform, including redesigned numbers and other additional flair.

Over the history of the franchise, the Patriots have made one major uniform change, going from the Pat Patriot to Flying Elvis logo in the early 1990s.

Wes Welker will help unveil new NFL uniforms on Tuesday

04.03.12 at 10:42 am ET
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Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker will be the representative for the franchise when the new NFL uniforms are unveiled Tuesday at 11 a.m. in New York. Nike took over the uniform contract for all 32 NFL teams from Reebok, and the new looks will be debuted on Tuesday. By the sound of things, don’t expect major changes.

Read More: Wes Welker,

Report: LSU’s Morris Claiborne scores a four on Wonderlic test

04.03.12 at 9:38 am ET
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Before the NFL Draft each year, potential draft picks are put through a gauntlet of tests, including the combine, medical testing and the now famous Wonderlic exam, an intelligence test consisting of 50 multiple choice questions that must be answered in 12 minutes.

An average score on the exam is a 21, but each year, there are outliers who impress with their high scores (Harvard product Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a 48 on the test, the highest score among active players) and sometimes, their low scores (Vince Young reportedly scored a seven on the exam before retaking the test and receiving a 13).

According to multiple sources, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne set a new low this season when he scored a four on the exam, meaning in 12 minutes, he answered four of 50 questions correctly. Claiborne, a junior, has supposedly been enrolled in college classes for the past three years. According to LSU, he is majoring in general studies. He is expected by many scouts to be a top-5 pick in this year’s draft.

In order to see what players like Claiborne and Fitzpatrick had to endure while taking the Wonderlic, WEEI’s own Rob Bradford attempted the test two years ago and put former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell to the test as well. To see how they did, check out this video:

Read More: Morris Claiborne, NFL Draft 2012,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard

04.02.12 at 8:27 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 2012 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.

ALFONZO DENNARD

Position: Cornerback

School: Nebraska

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 205 pounds

Achievements: All-Big Ten first team (2011), Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year (2011), Sporting News Preseason second-team All-America (2011), ESPN All-Big 12 first team (2010), Coaches and AP All-Big 12 second team (2010)

What he brings: Dennard shows great quickness and agility, which allows him to close in on passes and excel in all types of coverage. He is very aggressive, but sometimes that is to a fault, as he has a history of jumping on play fakes and therefore falls behind in his coverage. He displays strong physicality in his coverage and knows how to make a play on the ball without drawing a pass interference call. He obviously lacks height and only had four interceptions in his collegiate career. He sometimes gambles a bit on plays and has a strange backpedal, but overall he does a good job of staying with the receiver and recognizes routes well. Dennard has a bit of a temper that he needs to learn to channel in a more productive manner, as he was ejected from the Capital One Bowl for a fight with South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 2

Notes: Dennard had 31 total tackles and broke up six passes in the 2011 season. He has 91 career tackles, four career interceptions and four career quarterback hurries. Dennard hurt his draft status a bit by his play in the Senior Bowl practice, when he struggled to turn and run to catch up with receivers. He pulled out of the Senior Bowl with a hip flexor injury, so it was unclear if his struggles were injury-related or an actual issue against more elite competition. Dennard does have a history of injuries, as he missed time with a shoulder injury in 2009, a concussion in 2010, and a pulled muscle in his right leg 2011.

Recent Articles:

Senior Bowl Monday practice: Tough day for Alfonzo Dennard

Alfonzo Dennard vital to Nebraska Cornhuskers success

Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard relying on Redskins S Gomes

Video: Here’s a package of highlights of Dennard.

Read More: 2012 Potential Patriots, Alfonzo Dennard, NFL Draft 2012,

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Clemson DT Brandon Thompson

04.01.12 at 6:12 pm 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 2012 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.

BRANDON THOMPSON

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Clemson

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 310 pounds

Achievements: All-ACC second team (2011)

What he brings: Generally regarded as the top defensive tackle in the 2012 draft, Thompson is heralded for his burst off the snap and his good lateral agility that helps him chase down the quarterback. He is a strong anchor for the defensive line but doesn’t have the bulk to stand up well against a double-team. He needs to learn to use his hands effectively, but his strength and ability to move quickly on the rush make him an effective player. Thompson could play as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 system or as a defensive end in a 3-4 formation. He is an evolving player and started to blossom in the second half of his junior season, making 43 of his 56 tackles on the season in Clemson’s final seven games.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: Thompson was nicknamed “Yams” because of his huge thighs that can clog rushing lanes. He won the 2010 Strength Training Award among Clemson defensive tackles and has a 450-pound bench press. Thompson finished fourth on the Tigers with 77 tackles and tied for the team lead in quarterback hurries with 18. He was third on the team with 2.5 sacks.

Recent articles:

Brandon Thompson interview

Mike Tanier’s Senior Bowl Report: Wednesday’s South Team Practice

College Football 2011: Brandon Thompson wants to be next in NFL pipeline

Video: Here’s Thompson against Boston College.

Read More: 2012 NFL Draft, 2012 Potential Patriots, Brandon Thompson,
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