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Malcom Brown’s message to Patriots fans: ‘You’re about to get the best player you’ve ever drafted’ 05.01.15 at 3:10 am ET
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The Patriots selected Malcom Brown No. 32 overall Thursday night. (Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

The Patriots selected Malcom Brown No. 32 overall Thursday night. (Chris Covatta/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Roughly just over an hour after being selected No. 32 overall by the Patriots in the 2015 NFL draft, defensive tackle Malcom Brown relayed a strong message to Patriots Nation.

On a conference call following the selection, Brown was asked if he had a message for Patriots fans. He didn’t mince words.

“You guys drafted me, so you’€™re about to get the best player you’€™ve ever drafted, so just be ready for when I touch the field,” said Brown.

A 6-foot-2, 320 pound defensive tackle out of Texas has a unique skill set where he has the ability to play all over the defensive line, and is quite athletic for a player of his stature.

“I just really focus on being the best that I can be and whatever that calls for I do,” Brown said. “The sky is the limit when it comes to me playing. I really don’€™t want to put a limit on [it]. Whatever I can do and however I can do it — whatever calls for the job I get it done.”

“We played 4-3, 3-4 all my years [at Texas],” he added. “I played nose-technique, three-technique, defensive end. It doesn’€™t matter.”

The 21-year-old, who has a wife and two kids, said he had heard he could go as high as No. 7 overall, but fell to the last pick in the first round. He reportedly had a pre-draft work out at Gillette Stadium, and he did some 1-on-1 work with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia at Texas’ pro day. He could have attended the draft in Chicago, but chose to stay home and be with his family.

One of the Patriots’ assistants called him before coach Bill Belichick got on the phone to congratulate him and welcome him to the Patriots family.

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Bill Belichick sees similarities between Malcom Brown, Vince Wilfork 05.01.15 at 1:38 am ET
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FOXBORO — While many people will make the natural connection of Malcom Brown being Vince Wilfork‘s replacement, that would simply be unfair to the 21-year-old Brown, who the Patriots selected with pick No. 32 overall Thursday night.

In fact, Brown is a much more versatile player than Wilfork was, as the 6-foot-2, 320-pounder can move around on the defensive line, and showed the ability to be more than just a run-stopper.

“I’€™m sure there’€™s both [similarities and differences],” said Belichick of Brown and Wilfork. “We’€™ll see.”

“We have a lot of 320-pound guys around here, so we’€™ll see,” he added. “Every guy is their own player, so we’€™ll see. [We’€™ll] work with him and see how it goes.”

Brown was the fourth defensive lineman taken overall in the draft, and was the first defensive lineman selected since Arik Armstead at No. 17 overall.

“Just sat there and watched a lot of names come off the board,” Bill Belichick said. “But felt good about our selection of Malcom at 32. We’ll see how it goes. He’s a guy that’s played inside on the nose all the way outside to the 5-technique and kind of everywhere in between.

“He’s been moved around a little bit. He played a little more outside this year in [Texas coach Charlie] Strong’s defense, a little more inside for the previous staff. But he had plenty of snaps in a variety of spots. We look forward to working with him.”

With the Patriots not picking up Wilfork’s option, and not much depth behind him, it created a rather large need, thus the Patriots using their first round pick on a defensive player for the fourth year in a row.

Playing only three years at Texas, declaring for the draft after his junior season, Brown finished his career with 165 tackles, 8 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was a 2014 finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player) and Outland Trophy (top interior lineman). He also earned first-team All-America and All Big-12 honors.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Malcom Brown, Vince Wilfork,
New Jets DE Leonard Williams: ‘I hope that’s the first sack of my career, on Tom Brady’ 04.30.15 at 10:10 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Jets took USC defensive end Leonard Williams at No. 6 overall and he wasted no time getting involved in the Patriots-Jets rivalry.

Speaking at the draft in Chicago when asked about facing the Patriots Williams said, “I hope that’s the first sack of my career, on Tom Brady.”

Little does he know, the Patriots don’t play the Jets until Week 7, Oct. 25 at Gillette Stadium.

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Robert Kraft: ‘Part of our strategy is have as many picks and as many bites of the apple’ 04.30.15 at 8:16 pm ET
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Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

FOXBORO — Speaking at Gillette Stadium at the Patriots’ draft party, Robert Kraft addressed the crowd and may have hinted of a potential trade out of the first round for the team.

Kraft polled the crowd and many expected the team to trade back out of their No. 32 overall pick. Kraft noted since Bill Belichick has been head coach, the team has traded up in the draft 17 times, and down 17 times. He said the only year the team didn’t make a trade was 2004, and they repeated as Super Bowl champions.

“Part of our strategy is have as many picks and as many bites of the apple,” Kraft said. “The teams are really made through the draft and great teams are made that way. You should know that there’s only one team in the NFL that has had more draft picks than we have had since we’ve owned the team and that’s the Green Bay Packers. When we look at our division since 2000 we’ve had 33 more picks than the New York Jets.”

Kraft also noted this year’s draft appears to be strong in the middle rounds, and also noted the biggest play of the Super Bowl was made by an undrafted free agent in Malcolm Butler.

“I don’t think this is a draft that is really rich with top players so it’s deep in mid-range players,” said Kraft. “One thing that people should realize, everyone gets all excited tonight because it’s the first round, but you really only have 5 percent of players who play in the NFL get drafted in the first round. The real action takes place later and our guys write thousands of reports that never get drafted, but thank goodness they do because probably the player who had the biggest impact last year was undrafted and he’s from West Alabama, a man by the name of Butler.”

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Report: Patriots exercise 5th year option on Chandler Jones 04.30.15 at 5:14 pm ET
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In an unsurprising move, the Patriots will pick up the fifth year option on defensive end Chandler Jones’ contract, according to CBS Sports.

Jones was a first round pick in the 2012 draft and taken No. 21 overall out of Syracuse. Jones battled a shoulder injury last year, but finished with 30 tackles and six sacks.

The Patriots reportedly did the same with Dont’a Hightower on Wednesday.

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Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘I would be surprised if the Patriots didn’t trade out of [No.] 32′ 04.30.15 at 12:34 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to preview the NFL draft, particularly what he expects the Patriots might do with their pick at No. 32, the last pick in the first round. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

Bill Belichick has been with the Patriots for 15 drafts. In those 15 drafts they have traded up 17 times, and traded down 17 times. It would not be a surprise to see the Patriots trade out of their pick at No. 32 Thursday night.

“I will not be surprised, I will say that,” Schefter said. “There will be somebody that slips down there — a quarterback or a wide receiver or an offensive tackle that is still on the board. I would be surprised if the Patriots didn’t trade out of [No.] 32. Consider the contractual status with trading back into the second round, you get the guy on a four-year contract, a different deal. Fifth-year option, there are a lot of different factors. I would be surprised if New England didn’t move out of that spot.”

When asked who the Patriots might be interested in, Schefter noted how hard it is to narrow it down to one player for the team, especially with the number of needs they potentially have, and the way the Patriots approach the draft.

“For a defending World Champion, they could use help in a lot of different places,” he said. “They could use a running back. They could use a wide receiver. They could use an offensive lineman. They could use a guy in the front seven. They could use a defensive back. There’s a lot of places they could go. It’s not like they feel like they have to fill any one area. You look take a look at who is dropping and you take a look at the best player there and put him in.”

The organization is very consistent with their approach with Belichick and Nick Caserio in charge. They are not a team looking to make any bold statements with their picks, and that has been a major reason for their success, according to Schefter.

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Read More: 2015 NFL Draft, adam schefter, Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo
Resetting Patriots depth chart: Cornerback 04.30.15 at 10:27 am ET
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Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler will have a bigger role this year. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler will have a bigger role this year. (Harry How/Getty Images)

With the majority of free agency completed and the draft looming, we’re going to take a look at the Patriots depth chart by position, and try and assess the level of need going forward. We’ve broken down each position on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, we’ve taken a look at the defensive line, linebackers, safeties and now lastly, cornerback.

Current depth chart: (2014 regular-season stats via coaches film review and Pro Football Reference): Logan Ryan (33 tackles, 3 INTs, 6 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles), Malcolm Butler (18 tackles, 7 passes defensed), Kyle Arrington (41 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles), Alfonzo Dennard (13 tackles, 1 pass defensed), Chimdi Chekwa (15 tackles, 2 passes defensed), Bradley Fletcher (53 tackles, 1 interception, 22 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble), Robert McClain (49 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 passes defensed)

Lost in free agency: Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner

Gained in the offseason: Chimdi Chekwa, Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain

Other changes: There haven’t been any other changes, but the two players lost may be the two biggest events of the Patriots’ offseason. Revis and Browner’s presence in the secondary made the entire defense better and paved the way to a Super Bowl win. Without adding any big names at the position, the cornerback position will be the position to keep an eye on most between now and the start of the season to see who emerges. As of now it would appear Ryan and Butler would be the starting corners.

Is this a major area of need going into the draft? Yes. Losing Revis and Browner and not making any big splashes at the position in free agency, it would seem the team is in a position to select a cornerback high in the draft. While the team may not take a corner in the first round, a second or third round pick definitely remains a possibility.

Read More: Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Browner, Chimdi Chekwa, Darrelle Revis



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