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Getting you caught up to date on the stories of the Patriots’ 2011 draft class

05.10.11 at 9:47 am ET
By

Nate Solder (AP)

There are more stories on the way, but in the meantime, we wanted to get you caught up on the series of full-length features WEEI.com has done on the Patriots’ draft class of 2011:

•On the night of the draft, we tracked down Nate Solder‘s high school coach Bob Marken back in Colorado, who told us the Patriots’ first-round pick was the sort of guy “that’s easy to root for.”

•It was more of the same when it came to second-round pick Ras-I DowlingJim Reid, his defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, talked to us about how versatile Dowling is, calling him “an imposing corner” who can do whatever is asked of him as a defensive back.

•Shortly after the selection of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round, we examined the curious relationship between the quarterback and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

•Then, there’s the story of fifth-round pick, TCU offensive lineman Marcus Cannon — perhaps the most unique draft pick in the history of the franchise.

•Fifth-round pick Lee Smith out of Marshall — whose position coach Phil Ratliff was a college teammate of Troy Browntalked to us about how Smith was a “throwback” in every sense of the word, and believes he will make his mark in an already crowded tight end field in New England. (Our favorite quote that didn’t make it into the story? Ratliff praised the 6-foot-6, 266-pound Smith as a workout warrior, saying, “He’s the first guy you want off the bus, that’s for sure.”)

•And with lots of help from Central Arkansas defensive coordinator Matt Williamson, we tracked the evolution of sixth-round pick Markell Carter from part-time player at UCA to one of the better under-the-radar pass rushers in college football.

Whew. Like we said, there are more to come, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft,
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