By: Ian Logue
Thanks to the snow here in New Hampshire there wasn’t any time to get the headlines in before work, but here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve seen so far through one day of the Scouting Combine. Today is Day Two, and there are also some additional things worth mentioning here:
- Following up on last night’s entry on Logan Mankins, the Herald reported today that the two sides remain gridlocked over the terms of an extension. According to a story in this morning’s Herald Mankins agent, Frank Bauer, believes that Mankins and New Orleans’ Jahri Evans are the two best guards in the league, and he sounds like he’s not going to budge until the Patriots meet that contract. “As much as they talk about what he could be, or what he could not be, it’s all fluff,” Bauer told the newspaper. “Because now you have the 2010 year that he played eight games in, at a reduced tender, then he makes the Pro Bowl, then he makes the All-Pro team. The two best guards in the business are Logan Mankins and Jahri Evans. Does that tell you anything? They just can’t come to (Evans’) figures.’’
- Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff may not be in New England anymore, but Ian Rapoport points out some of his comments with the media where he had some great things to say about the Patriots Nick Caserio. “Nick Caserio’s a fine man,” Dimitroff said. “He’s a very intelligent guy. I don’t know who works harder than him in the NFL. He’s won many hats, Bill’s asked him to do quite a bit. You talk about a well-rounded individual… I think he’s top-notch.”
- WEEI has a story on University of Miami receiver Leonard Hankerson, who hopes to become a quality receiver in the NFL. Hankerson hopes he can be just as successful as former stars Michael Irvin, Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, and Reggie Wayne. “Being able to have my name mentioned with the great receivers that came out of the University of Miami, comes from working hard, doing what you’ve got to do off the field, and on the field, in the weight room, film room,” he told the website Friday. “I feel like I’m living up to that dream.”
- Mike Reiss reports that Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana spent some time talking to the media yesterday, and that like Stephen Neal, Ijalana has a background in wrestling and claims it helped him quite a bit. “It was vital. Wrestling is probably the hardest physical activity I’ve ever been involved in. It’s intense. It’s a matter of what you do after you get tired,” he said. “When you think of a [football] game, 60 to 70 plays, fourth-quarter drive, overtime, guys putting their hands on you — it definitely helped me.” Reiss also pointed out that the Patriots have drafted just one offensive lineman in the first three rounds of the last five drafts (Sebastian Vollmer), which sets them up to potentially address that area early this year.
- Reiss also reports that with a possible lockout looming, things look like we won’t see any free agent deals done until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached. According to his report the player agents are all on hand for a meeting in Indianapolis, and apparently the overall consensus remains unchanged. He also points out that there are more procedural issues, such as with a player like cornerback Kyle Arrington, who should be receiving an exclusive rights offer in the coming days.
- Some fans have discussed the possibility of the Patriots acquiring Larry Fitzgerald over the offseason. Although that may be unlikely, Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston.com reports that the team may look at a guy like Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin. Rodak points out that he has a similar style to Fitzgerald, and was very confident during interviews Friday. “I’ve taken some of the things he has in his game and incorporated them into my game,” Baldwin told the website. “How you attack the football. Great catching ability. I have those traits. Jumping ability, speed. I have all those things.”
- Jeff Howe of NESN released his mailbag earlier, and offered up a great point about the Patriots tendency to trade down in early rounds. He writes that, “the implementation of the rookie salary scale will carry a lot of weight with the Patriots’ trading strategy. If it’s in place for this draft, I can see them trading up or staying in place. If it’s not, look for the same strategy you’ve seen in the last decade.”
- Howe also feels the Patriots may want to explore pursuing Takeo Spikes once free agency starts because he may be a good mentor for his cousin, Pats linebacker Brandon Spikes.
- On the topic of Matt Light, Howe feels that Light will have some suitors in the open market, and that there’s no way the Patriots will be able to keep him with only a one-year deal as some fans have mentioned. Howe writes, “I can see him giving them a hometown discount, but not to that extent.”
We’ll take another look later on and will add more as things become available.