Dominique Easley was taken with the 29th overall pick by the Patriots in 2014.
The Patriots are no strangers to picking at the back half of the first round of the draft, having not finished a season with fewer than 10 wins since 2002. Director of player of personnel Nick Caserio said on Wednesday that the team will, once again, be trying to find a quality player when their turn comes up in the upcoming draft.
“I’d say there’s going to be players at multiple levels that you feel could come in and help your team,” said Caserio during his pre-draft press conference on Wednesday. “Maybe there’s some that are a little bit further along than others, but I think the draft process in and of itself, just talking to that 20-45 range, I think you’re going to find quality football players within that range. In the end, the most important thing for us is what’s the role for our team, how do we see that player, and then we make the determination based on that.”
After losing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner in free agency, the team will obviously look quite different at the cornerback position in 2015. However, Caserio didn’t sound too concerned and said that the process of evaluating players is just starting and they’ll let things work themselves out as they begin looking at players on the field.
“I think weâve added some players, Iâd say, across positions that have experience in the league, that have played a number of snaps,” said Caserio. “The reality is we just started working with the players here Monday. I mean, not even working with them, they go in the weight room and started doing the strength and conditioning. Weâll have a better idea when we actually get on the field, start working with them in the coaching sessions and then going into the OTAs. The players that we added to the team, we brought them here for a reason because we think they can help. Obviously weâre going to let the competition sort itself out. Weâll have a better idea here once we get a little bit further down the road.”
This year with the team set to pick at 32, Caserio was asked about whether or not with the CBA if the pick had more value than in past years. He scoffed at the notion, and said that they’re always ready to pick regardless of where their turn is, and if they trade out, the media won’t be happy about it anyway. Christopher Price of WEEI pointed out that the team has traded up or down in the draft 17 times since Bill Belichick took over the franchise in 2000, including four trades up in the first round four times and two trades out of the first round.
“Look, in the end, youâre going to pick a player,” said Caserio. “Forget about all the other variables that are involved. If there is a player there and you think he makes sense for your team, then youâre going to pick the player. So I wouldnât say itâs driven by any other factors. The reality is weâre always prepared to pick wherever that is â 22nd, 25th, 32nd â wherever that might be. Weâll be prepared to pick. If it works out that way and we have to pick the player, then weâll pick. If we donât pick, then you guys will be all pissed off because you wonât have anything to write a story about the next day except that we traded out of it.”
After a season where he suffered a knee injury and was forced to be a spectator during the Patriots Super Bowl Championship run, Jerod Mayo made a move on Wednesday that will ensure he’ll be back in the line-up when the team takes the field in 2015.
Mayo was set to carry a $10.2875 million cap number coming into this year, which was the second highest beyond Tom Brady and he restructured his deal and took a pay cut, lowering his cap hit for the team. According to the Boston Globe the new contract turns the final two years of his contract into option years, essentially making it a one-year deal.
The veteran has had a tough run over the past two years, suffering season-ending injuries in Week 6 of both seasons, but he’ll be needed more than ever as New England is dealing with the loss of Dont’a Hightower, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and may not potentially be at 100% by the time the 2015 campaign begins.
The former number 10 overall pick in 2008 has 756 career tackles as well as three interceptions, ten quarterback sacks, eight forced fumbles, eighteen pass deflections, and four fumble recoveries.
Mayo said earlier this month that New England is his home and that he loves it here.
âYou know what? I met my wife here. My kids go to school out here. I love it out here,â Mayo said, via the Providence Journal. âIâm from New England now as well, even though Iâm from Virginia. The fans, the family Iâve gained is great. Weâll see.â
– The Patriots are headed to the White House today in recognition of their Super Bowl Championship. The trip will reunite some now-former players as Shane Vereen (now with the Giants), Darrelle Revis (now with the Jets) are among several who will be donning a different uniform next season but were contributors to this year’s championship. Matthew Slater said earlier this week that it marks the end of the season and he’s excited for the event. âI think thatâs a tremendous experience to be able to go to the White House and meet the president,â Slater said via NESN.com. âI know weâre all excited about it, and weâre going to enjoy it. I think we should. So yeah, weâre excited.â
– The NFL received final approval from a federal judge on Wednesday to a settlement in a lawsuit brought by about 5,000 former players who accused the league of covering up the dangers of concussions. According to report from GMANetwork.com the settlement includes allowing monetary awards of up to $5 million per retired player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trama and could cost the league $1 billion over 65 years. Former Patriots running back Kevin Turner, who is part of the class-action settlement, said he just hopes it moves forward as soon as possible so players who are in need can get help. “What matters now is time, and many retired players do not have much left,” said Turner. “I hope this settlement is implemented without delay so that we can finally start helping those in need.”
– The Boston Herald has a quick entry with a message from Rob Gronkowski on what it takes to ride his party bus. According to Gronkowski it requires, focus, fitness, teammwork the will to win, and “commitment to Taylor Swift.” They explain more via this link.
– Former Patriots defensive tackle A.J. Francis, who is now a Miami Dolphin, proclaimed yesterday via Twitter that he’s applying to be an Uber driver to earn some extra money. Considering the money players make, many asked him why he would do it and Francis said, “People ask me why would you want to be an @uber driver if you play in the NFL… You know what’s better than NFL money? More money.” There it is.