|Take 3: Hitting reset button on Patriots depth chart at wide receiver||05.01.13 at 11:03 am ET|
For the third time this offseason, the Patriots wide receiving corps has undergone a redo — New England picked up four wide receivers on draft weekend, adding rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce in the second and fourth round, as well as undrafted free agents T.J. Moe and Kenbrell Thompkins. They join a group that includes newcomers Danny Amendola, Mike Jenkins and Donald Jones.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick acknowledged in an interview with the NFL Network on Saturday the team has undergone a “redo” at the position this offseason, and he expanded on that once the draft was done Saturday night.
“Look at the guys who have caught balls at that position, and we don’t have a lot of them on our team,” he said. “[Julian] Edelman and then a couple of balls here and there, so we’ll see how it all comes together. I don’t know.
“We’ve gone through that with other positions on our team. We did that with the tight end position a couple of years ago. We did it at the running back position when that turned over. Certainly, almost the entire defense has turned over, other than Vince [Wilfork]. The specialists all turned over; other than Steve [Gostkowski], they all turned over a couple of years ago. It’s part of football.”
With that in mind — for the third time this offseason — here’s another reset of the Patriots depth chart at wide receiver.
Julian Edelman: While everyone else is starting from zero with the quarterback, Edelman certainly will have an opportunity to gain reps this spring and summer, because right now he’ll be the only guy coming back who caught a pass from Tom Brady last season. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, who was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2009, has spent the last four seasons with New England and has 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns as a pro. He was off to a strong start last season, but a late September injury seemed to knock him off track. He’ll figure into the mix in the return game, and at least at this point he likely figures as a backup to Amendola.
Danny Amendola: The most notable addition of the offseason, Amendola does have some positional versatility, but right now, he projects as No. 1 option in the slot. The 27-year-old had a career-high 85 catches for St. Louis in 2010, and while he won’t be the only one asked to pick up the slack from the loss of Wes Welker, he’ll handle the bulk of the responsibility. It’s obviously very early in the process, but the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder is off to a good start when it comes to his relationship with the quarterback — the two were spotted working out together at USC earlier this spring.
Donald Jones: Jones — who has already proven to be a pretty good tweeter — is a 6-foot, 208-pounder who has spent three seasons in the league, all with the Bills, and has 82 career receptions. His best year came in 2012 when he caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns. He has some positional versatility, but right now he likely figures into the mix as a possible No. 3 receiver, although that could change with the development of rookies Dobson and Boyce.
Mike Jenkins: Patriots fans reacted a little angrily to the addition of the 30-year-old Jenkins, but the 6-foot-4, 214-pounder has been able to put up fair numbers over the course of his career. Jenkins, who has had knee issues the last few years, caught 40 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Vikings. This looks like the Patriots taking a chance on a veteran and seeing what he has left. We should know early on how much Jenkins has left — if there’s anything there, he could be an option as a No. 3 receiver.
Aaron Dobson: The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Dobson (along with P.K. Sam, the tallest receiver Belichick has ever drafted) should get every opportunity to make an impact on the New England passing game right out of the gate as a possible ‘X’ receiver. The second-round pick, who compares favorably to Anquan Boldin in his size, skill set and overall approach to the game, had 165 catches for 2,398 yards and 24 touchdowns over the course of his career at Marshall. He projects as an outside-the-numbers threat in the NFL.
Josh Boyce: While Dobson is known for his physical gifts, this fourth-round pick made his mark as a collegian in large part because he’s a physical freak who made a huge splash at the combine. The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Boyce had 161 catches for 2,535 yards and 22 touchdowns in his three seasons as a collegian. He does have some positional versatility, and while his agility and footwork (he showed tremendous amounts of both by acing the 3-cone and shuttle events at the combine) suggests he can thrive in the slot, he also has the straight-line speed to survive on the outside.
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|Five things you need to know about Patriots second-round pick Jamie Collins||04.30.13 at 6:12 pm ET|
After getting a chance to talk to Trent Hammond — who coached the Patriots’ second-round pick Jamie Collins at Franklin County High School in Mississippi — I learned five things:
Collins made the most of a rough childhood, and is a Mississippi kid through and through:
“One thing I can tell you is that he was one of the most dependable guys I’ve ever come across. He came from a tough background in Southwest Mississippi — he didn’t have a whole lot, and his parents passed away when he was younger. He basically had to take care of himself, but he succeeded. A lot of those kids, maybe some of them get lost, but he got his degree in 3 1/2 years. This is a kid who had offers from Auburn and some of the other SEC schools, and he chose to play at home and be with his family and get his degree. The fact that he’s already been planning for his life beyond football, that tells you a lot about who he is.”
This picture of Collins is real and not photoshopped:
“That picture was from the New Orleans Bowl, and ESPN showed it two or three times that night. He took about two steps and got up there and blocked the kick. He actually blocked two or three of those over the course of his career. Just put him in the middle and have him get up there and try and knock it down. He has a vertical of 42 inches.” (For more of Collins showing off his physical skills, check out this video of him at the combine.)
He first displayed his freaky athletic skills as a high schooler:
“In high school, I had him at quarterback and safety. When the Auburn coaches came to visit and look at Jamie, it was the spring and he was on the track. They set the high jump bar at six feet, and he was jumping over the bar and catching footballs in the air. Just amazing.
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|Patriots terminate contract of OL Brian Waters||04.30.13 at 5:59 pm ET|
The Patriots have officially terminated the contract of offensive lineman Brian Waters, according to the league’s official transaction wire.
The 36-year-old Waters, who was signed shortly before the start of the 2011 season, played at a high level for a New England team that reached the Super Bowl. However, he was placed on the reserve/did not report list prior to the 2012 regular season after not showing up for any of the OTAs last offseason, and was excused from the team’s mandatory minicamp. He did not play at all in 2012.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Adrian Wilson on why he chose Patriots: ‘Winning’||04.30.13 at 1:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In his first extended sitdown with the New England media, safety Adrian Wilson apparently still has some hard feeling about the way things ended in Arizona.
The 33-year-old is a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder out of North Carolina State who was released by the Cardinals in a cap-related move. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler who spent all 12 of his seasons as a professional in Arizona.
After leading the Cardinals for several seasons, Wilson’s role started to shrink in 2011, and was pulled off the field as a nickel defensive back at several points late in 2012. Still in all, he played in 15 games last season (14 starts) with 54 tackles (39 of them solo), to go along with five passes defensed and an interception. For his career, he has 27 career picks (including five in 2009) and 87 career passes defensed, including 14 in 2011 and 13 in 2009.
“Last year was last year — obviously, things didn’t go my way as far as the way I wanted them to go,” he said during a break in workouts at Gillette Stadium. “Obviously, players slow down as they get older, but they also have experience. They’ve seen a lot of things as far as football. To say that a person is not good enough, that wouldn’t be the right verbiage to use as far as that is concerned. I feel that like I could help this team win. That’s pretty much what I’m here to do.”
As far as why he picked the Patriots, it was easy.
“Winning,” he said with a smile. “They win. Other than that, very disciplined team, a team that you’re going to have to beat ’em. It’s like a champ — you have to decidedly beat the champ, you can’t just go out there and box a good 12 rounds, you have to actually knock ’em out.”
The understated Wilson, who might be the biggest defensive back the Patriots have ever signed — he looks more like a linebacker that a safety — has spent much of his time since offseason workouts began imparting his wisdom on the New England defensive backs, a younger group that has impressed him this offseason.
“They’re very talented,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a young group. We all can continue to learn, and I think that’s probably the main thing that I try to tell those guys. We can all learn from each other and get better together.”
|Patriots release five players, including Jeremy Ebert and Brad Herman||04.29.13 at 5:08 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Monday afternoon they have released wide receiver Jeremy Ebert, fullback Tony Fiammetta, tight end Brad Herman, defensive lineman Tracy Robertson and defensive back Malcolm Williams.
Here’s a portion of the press release that was issued by the team on the moves:
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|New Patriots receiver Josh Boyce more than just a workout warrior||04.29.13 at 1:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — On a high school team that included future Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, it would have been easy to overlook someone like Josh Boyce. But Jack Welch, who coached both of them at Copperas Cove High School in Texas, said that it was easy to identify someone like Boyce as a potential star at an early age.
‘Josh was strong when he was in junior high,’ Welch said Saturday shortly after the Patriots took him in the fourth round.
‘It’s hard to put into words. I coached RG3 and Charles Tillman as high schoolers. And I can tell you that Josh Boyce is a phenom. He’s a freak. An athletic freak. But when you put that personality in that body, along with that great attitude, you have a winner. He’s never missed a workout, as far as I know. Never.”
Welch said the 5-foot-11, 203-pound Boyce was ticketed for success at an early age because of a great work ethic and boundless physical skill. That physical prowess was on display in February at the combine — despite the fact he was dealing with the fallout from a right foot injury, he was the only receiver to rank in the top four in the 40 (4.38) and bench press (22 reps). In addition, he finished in the top four among receivers in five out of the seven main categories (40, bench press, broad jump, 3-cone drill and 60-yard shuffle).
‘You never know if a kid is going to make it in the NFL, because there are so many good young players who don’t. It’s like a needle in a haystack. Going in, you have to have that ability and physical skill just to have a chance,’ Welch said. ‘With Josh, it was clear he had that ability as part of his athletic talent. You know he’s strong — he can bench press the world, but you don’t get strong overnight. You have to work at it, and he does.
‘I’ve seen a lot of kids with great talent, but I’ve seen very few that had the talent, plus the attitude and personality of a servant — someone who is a hard-working leader that shows something special. That’s Josh.’
Welch isn’t the only one who believes that Boyce his special. In a 2011 interview, Griffin weighed in on his former high school teammate, saying: ‘I knew Josh was going to do big things. I believed in him.’
|Report: Patriots to release Jeremy Ebert||04.29.13 at 8:53 am ET|
The Patriots have informed wide receiver Jeremy Ebert he will be released, according to ESPN. A seventh-round pick out of Northwestern last year, he spent time on New England’s practice squad in 2012. A 6-foot, 195-pounder, he put together impressive back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011 at Northwestern when he had a combined 137 catches ‘ as a senior, he had 75 receptions, 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns. For his college career, he had 156 catches and 20 career receiving touchdowns.
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