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Transcript of Bill Belichick’s press conference Friday 04.27.13 at 12:51 am ET
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Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick

FOXBORO — Courtesy of the Patriots, here’s the transcript of Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s press conference following Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

BB: So we’re pretty much halfway through the drafting process here. I think we were able to improve our team here tonight with the four players we selected, so we’re pleased with that. We’ll see how it all comes together. I felt like we got good value for our picks, good players, guys that have a lot of things going for them, so we’ll see how it all works out. Obviously we made the trade yesterday, which got us basically two extra picks: the 83rd pick, which was Logan Ryan, and the pick we have tomorrow which is 102. Those are two players that we didn’t have prior to Thursday’s start and hopefully those will be two guys – whatever happens tomorrow – that we can add to what we originally came in with. Again, I felt like we got good value for the picks that we had: three defensive players and a receiver. Jamie [Collins] is an interesting guy that came into college as a safety, played inside linebacker, played outside linebacker in a 3-4 and then played defensive end last year. He’s been a very productive player in the kicking game. He’s got a lot of versatility, solid player, hard worker, great kid. Of course Aaron [Dobson] was a great high school basketball player and football player. Was a very productive player at Marshall. Had a real good Senior Bowl. Both players have real good size, good speed for their position, and have been productive at good levels. And of course the two Rutgers DBs – that was a very good defensive unit that they had last year, over the past few years actually, but especially last year. Of course Logan [Ryan] had a very productive year outside and Duron [Harmon] inside. I know that whole group, but especially those guys, are close. They communicated well, played well. Both were very productive, both defensively and in the kicking game, solid guys. We’ve had a number of our players here comment on their personal characteristics, so I think we’re getting some high quality guys there as well as good football players. We’ll see how things go tomorrow. Right now we’re scheduled to be in the fourth and seventh rounds. We’ll see how all that comes together. Like I said, I feel like we improved our team and hopefully we’ll be able to do that tomorrow through the draft process and the subsequent free agent signings that will come post draft.

What are some of the things that stand out to you about Aaron Dobson?

BB: He’s big, he’s fast, he’s got good hands, he’s a strong player; smart, very smart. He has some position flexibility and versatility. Catches the ball very well. We’ll see how it goes.

There’s one stat that says he recorded no drops as a senior. Does that speak to his hands?

BB: I don’t know what the stats were. I mean, he’s got good hands. Every receiver has dropped the ball. Every quarterback has thrown an interception. Every defensive player has missed a tackle. Every guy that has ever carried the ball has fumbled at some point. I don’t want to get carried away on that, but I’d say he has good hands.

How would you define this class of overall prospects in this year’s draft?

BB: Like any other draft, we’ll see as time goes on. Guys have a lot of strengths. There are a lot of good players out there. How they develop or fit into the different systems and how they are able to respond to the opportunities and competition that they have, that’s all in front of them. And I’m sure, like every year, there will be guys that aren’t drafted or guys taken in the sixth or seventh round that nobody will be talking about that at some point everybody will be talking about. It’s a very unscientific process. We’re all doing the best we can. Everybody’s looking at the same board. We’ll see how it all turns out. I don’t know.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, Bill Belichick,
Did Patriots reach with Friday’s draft picks? at 12:42 am ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots came out of their first day of the NFL draft with a couple of solid prospects who made sense for where they were selected. Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson has good size, good speed and very good hands (he didn’t have a single drop on 92 targets last year). Rutgers corner Logan Ryan will fit into the rotation right away and could eventually be a starter if Aqib Talib departs after this season.

Duron Harmon was projected to go undrafted. (AP)

Duron Harmon was projected to go undrafted. (AP)

However, there’s one question that should be on a lot of Pats fans’ minds: What was going on with the other two picks?

Although “value” is one of his favorite words in post-draft press conferences, Bill Belichick has never been one to care whether he’s taking a player at their slot or well before it. For example, Logan Mankins was not a projected first-round pick, but more of a mid-round guy. The Pats chose him at the end of the first round in 2005 and he’s been a four-time All-Pro. Last year, the Pats took a safety even the most sophisticated of draftniks never had heard of in Tavon Wilson out of Illinois in the second round.

On Friday, the Patriots again strayed from the scouting reports and big boards flashed across the screens of ESPN and the NFL Network, and took two players ahead of where they were projected. Southern Miss pass-rusher Jamie Collins went probably a round earlier than expected when the Pats took him in the second, but it was the selection of Rutgers safety Duron Harmon that surprised a lot of people — including Harmon.

Harmon, the 26th-ranked safety by ESPN’s Scouts, Inc. (carrying a grade of 35 out of 100), watched the draft on TV with his mother “as a fan,” and was prepared for any scenario — including the seemingly likely one that he would go undrafted. Then the Patriots took him, and unlike every other pick to that point, there was no highlights package, no long discussion about what kind of prospect he is. Harmon had a good sense of humor about it.

“I did laugh,” Harmon said. “My mother, she was very excited. She was like ‘Hold up, baby. Where’s your clips at?’ I was like, ‘Mommy, I don’t think they knew I was going today so I don’t think they had any clips ready for me.’ She was a little upset about me not having clips, but I think me getting drafted overtook her sadness about my clips.”

So the question is: Why Harmon was rated so low, and why did the Patriots took him so high? The answer is hard to find. He wasn’t invited to the combine. Scouts Inc. has a grade on Wilson, but they didn’t profile him as a serious prospect. So how, if he’s good enough for an NFL franchise to draft him, can he be such an unknown? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins,
Patriots draft Rutgers defensive backs Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon in third round 04.26.13 at 9:55 pm ET
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The Patriots drafted a pair of Rutgers defensive backs in the third round Friday night, using the 83rd overall pick on cornerback Logan Ryan and taking safety Duron Harmon 91st overall.

Both players were college teammates of current Patriots safety Devin McCourty. Ryan had 93 tackles and four intercepts as a senior. He stands at just a shade above 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds and is a very good tackler.

The selection of Ryan falls in line with the Patriots’ interest in players who excel in the three-cone drill at the Combine. Ryan finished seventh among all players with a 6.69-second performance.

Harmon is considered to be a big reach, as he was the 26th-ranked safety by ESPN’s Scouts Inc. and was projected to go undrafted.

For more on the Patriots, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan,
Patriots draft Aaron Dobson 59th overall at 8:36 pm ET
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The Patriots used the 59th overall pick on Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson.

As a senior, Dobson had 57 receptions for 679 yards and three touchdowns, though he had 12 touchdown receptions as a junior. Perhaps his most impressive stat is that he had zero drops on 92 targets as a senior.

Given the Patriots’ need for an outside receiver, Dobson should be a strong fit. He stands at 6-foot-2 6/8 and 210 pounds, runs in the 4.4 range and has terrific hands. He is the highest wide receiver the team has drafted since Chad Jackson, who went 36th overall in the 2006 draft.

For the full scouting report and stats on Dobson, click here. Or you can watch an absolutely insane catch he made below.

For more on the Patriots, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, Aaron Dobson,
Patriots take Southern Mississippi pass-rusher Jamie Collins at 7:57 pm ET
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The Patriots made their first selection of the draft Friday night, taking Southern Mississippi outside linebacker Jamie Collins with the 52nd overall pick.

The former defensive back stands at 6-foot-3 4/8 and 250 pounds. He played defensive end and outside linebacker after moving up from the secondary. One interesting note on Collins: He played under three different defensive coordinators in his time in college.

Something to consider is that by no means was Collins projected to be a second-round pick, but then again Logan Mankins wasn’t a projected first-round pick. Either way, this should be considered a reach on paper.

The 52nd pick was acquired from the Vikings Thursday night in a deal that netted the Pats four picks in exchange for the 29th overall selection.

From ESPN’s Scouts Inc.’s scouting report:

Shows average awareness in underneath zone coverage. Above average backside discipline. However, below average natural instincts and takes too long to locate the ball. Gap discipline is an issue. Gets caught out of position far too much.

Scouts Inc. also questions his work ethic:

Above-average agility and closing burst for size. Closes down cutback lanes. Does not make as many plays in pursuit as speed/athleticism would indicate. Effort is biggest concern. Doesn’t chase like hair is on fire and appears to take some plays off.

For more on the Patriots, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, Jamie Collins,
Second round blog: Manti Te’o to Chargers, Geno Smith to Jets at 6:46 pm ET
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The picks and some quick analysis on the fly…

- The Jaguars kicked off the second round of the draft by taking Florida International safety Johnathan Cyprien third overall. Cyprien was seen as a potential option for the Pats in the second round, as the Pats hold the 52nd and 59th overall picks.

- The 49ers followed the Cyprien pick by shipping the 34th pick, which they had acquired from the Chiefs for Alex Smith, to the Titans. Justin Hunter was the pick for Tennessee, which is interesting considering they have pretty much the same player on their roster already in Kenny Britt.

- Zach Ertz was an interesting pick for the Eagles. Chip Kelly has now passed on quarterbacks twice, and the next team picking with a potential need at quarterback is the Jets at No. 39.

- It was not Johnthan Banks, but Darius Slay who was the first Mississippi State cornerback taken as the Lions took with the 36th pick. Banks is big and slow, while Slay’s stock had been on the rise.

- Giovani Bernard went to the Bengals with the 37th pick. The North Carolina product was the first running back taken as the Bengals continue to bolster their offense.

- The Chargers made a major splash by trading up for Manti Te’o at No. 38, but the Jets one-upped them by bringing in Geno Smith with the 39th pick. The undersized and athletic Smith is an intriguing prospect. Worst-case scenario, the Jets still get bad quarterback play.

- Tank Carradine to the 49ers makes the rich richer. Big, strong pass-rusher.

- The Bills lost Donald Jones to the Patriots in free agency, and the Robert Woods pick replaces him well.

- Manelik Watson goes to the Raiders at No. 42. A good right tackle who has a lot of developing to do.

- Talk about an overhaul of a secondary. After signing Dashon Goldson and trading for Darrelle Revis, the Bucs draft Johnthan Banks. If it all comes together that will be a tough team to throw on.

- The Panthers went from desperately needing help at defensive tackle to having some really good young players at the position in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. Both players were great value, as Lotuluelei was a steal at No. 14 and Short could have easily gone in the late first round.

- Not thrilled with the Kevin Minter pick for the Cardinals. Well out of Alec Ogletree and Te’o’s class. Kiko Alonso out of Oregon went to the Bills with the next pick to make for a mini-run on inside linebackers that later continued when the Bears took Jonathan Bostic.

- The Cowboys traded down with both Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz on the board in the first round, but they got a  good receiving tight end with San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar.

- Eddie Lacy has fallen a bit here, as he will at best be the third running back taken. The Steelers took Michigan State back Le’Veon Bell.

- The Johnathan Hankins pick is good for the Giants as long as they aren’t planning on making him a nose tackle primarily. If they are, why not go for the bigger Johnathan Jenkins?

- What was I saying about how well Bengals draft? Love the Margus Hunt pick for them.

- Arthur Brown definitely fills the need for a Ravens team that lost Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe.

- Broncos take Montee Ball. Yet another running back ahead of Eddie Lacy.

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20 players Patriots could consider in Round 2 at 1:00 pm ET
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Who’s ready to find some value?

The Patriots will be on the clock with the 20th pick of the second round on Friday thanks to their deal with the Vikings. As weak as this draft is compared to past years, there will be good prospects available to them if and when they pick, so here are 20 prospects they could consider in the second round (keep in mind they also have the 59th pick). At least one will be available to them, but it’s likely that many will still be on the board by the time pick No. 52 rolls around.

Kawann Short would be a good fit for the Patriots. (AP)

Kawann Short would be a good fit for the Patriots. (AP)

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Prototypical size and speed for an X receiver at 6-foot-4, 196 pounds. It’s pretty surprising he made it out of the first round.

Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State
Looks like an NFL defensive end at a very strong 6-foot-4 and 276 pounds and is considered a very hard-worker. Not much versatility — he’s a defensive end, not a DE/OLB ‘tweener.

Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
There have been a lot of comparisons to Geno Atkins, but there have also been some work ethic concerns.

Robert Woods, WR, USC
There were some issues with drops in college, and he has short arms for a receiver.

Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
A very balanced corner who does everything well. So-so size at 5-foot-10½ and 192 pounds.

Keenan Allen, WR, California
Slow. Had to take an extra drug test after he had suspiciously high levels of water in his system at the combine.

Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Was considered a surefire top-10 pick early in the draft process, but he’s slow and has a reputation of not being a hard-worker.

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
A project of a pass-rusher who could have a big payoff. Unlike Ziggy Ansah, you don’t have to take him with a top-five pick.

John Cyprien, S, Florida International
Rangy and was a four-year starter, but he can be fooled easily.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2013 NFL draft, Jamar Taylor, Justin Houston, Kawann Short
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