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Patriots to Release Veteran CB Arrington


Arrington was released by the Patriots Monday. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots’ secondary has already seen some big changes this offseason following the loss of Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner¬†to free agency, and on Monday it looks like there will be yet another heading into 2015.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports that the Patriots appear to have informed Kyle Arrington of his release, seemingly marking the end of his tenure in New England.

Arrington struggled against Seattle in the Super Bowl but had been a pretty consistent contributor with that unit over the past couple of seasons, but it appears that the team might be looking to make a transition as they continue overhauling their secondary.¬† However, according to Reiss, there’s still a possibility Arrington could return.

Arrington played in 14 games in 2014 with just four starts, the fewest in five seasons after starting 14 in 2010 and 2011 and 12 in 2012 and 2013.  He finished last season with 39 combined tackles, one sack and four passes defended.


A suspension seems to be looming for Brady next week. (USA TODAY Images)

It appears we’re getting closer to finding out how far the NFL is willing to go over the Wells report, and for now it sounds like they’re ready to hand out punishment as soon as next week.

According to the New York Daily News, the NFL is planning on doling out a suspension to quarterback Tom Brady in the coming week, with the only apparent question hinging on the length of games he’ll be sidelined for.

Leaking the information before the weekend is an interesting move by the league office, which one would believe is being done to gauge the reaction as the speculation begins over the punishment he’ll receive. ¬†There have already been several scenarios floated, including a Dolphins beat writer in Miami speculating he could miss all of 2015, while others, including Mike Giardi of CSNNE, think he could miss as many as 6-8 games. ¬†Others seem to feel 2-4 is more realistic.

The fact there will be one at all is mind-boggling considering the¬†league looks ready to damage a legacy of a player over what’s essentially a “maybe”. ¬† The Wells report uses the term “more probable than not”, which the NFL is saying is the equivalent of guilty, and that’s what they’re going with. ¬†¬†The inexplicable part is the evidence they’re basing it¬†on comes thanks to the texts between¬†two nitwits, one of which complained about Brady constantly being on him to alert the refs to make sure the footballs weren’t over inflated during the season, and his¬†100 second bathroom break on the way to the field with the bag of footballs in tow. That’s the damning evidence that they’re using to suspend one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

One could challenge Wells to prove “it’s more probable than not” that Jim McNally, the Patriots employee whose failure to not use the facilities earlier might see Brady suffer a suspension over it,¬†actually washed his hands. ¬†The report can’t prove McNally’s hygiene¬†any more than it can prove definitively that anything was done to that bag of footballs.

Yet the NFL appears ready to move forward and suspend Brady.  Now the next question will be how far they can go in their punishment.

More than one game is unacceptable, simply because of the fact that Ray Rice got just two for knocking out his girlfriend in an elevator. ¬†Granted, Roger Goodell didn’t know the extent of how bad that incident was when it initially happened prior to the release of the video, but that doesn’t change the fact that his punishment essentially¬†set a precedent. ¬† Does Brady’s supposed “being generally aware” of the loss of 1 psi in a football meet the¬†equivalent of assaulting a woman? ¬†Because if he’s suspended for the same length as Rice, or even longer, that’s essentially what the league would be saying.

Brady’s agent, Don Yee, and the veteran’s father have already both come out swinging in the wake of the report, with Yee already making it clear that he and his client aren’t going to take this one lying down. ¬†Brady was very calculated Thursday¬†night during his appearance at Salem State and said that he’ll respond, “hopefully soon” because he wants to be “comfortable” in what he says. ¬†Meanwhile, Yee sounds¬†livid over the report and it’s going to be interesting to see how far he’s willing to go in this battle when it finally unfolds.

It seems we’ll find out this week what he’ll be up against.¬† Yee seems poised to try and make sure the NFL doesn’t¬†damage his client’s legacy over a report full of assumptions and without any concrete facts. ¬†As it stands right now the league’s case against Brady¬†has more craters than the moon, and how it plays out will likely be watched by the NFLPA since they¬†could see one of their own get punished without any real proof of any wrongdoing.

If you thought Spygate was bad, this will be far worse since there’s far more at stake. ¬†Pray that Yee’s legal prowess and any other lawyers brought in are able to slay the NFL giant that seems ready to slaughter one of their own. ¬†Let the fight begin.


Brady was at a public event Thursday night with his first comments since the Wells report was released. (FILE PHOTO)

Tom Brady was at the O’Keefe Center at Salem State on Thursday night for a previously scheduled public appearance, which comes just one day removed from the revelation of the Wells report and became a locally televised event thanks to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the investigation.

It appeared to be a successful event, with the announcement that the attendance for the evening having been the biggest in their history.  It was sponsored by local businessman Dennis Drinkwater, who is the owner of Giant Glass, while Brady was their guest speaker on the night.

The event was scheduled to begin around 7:30pm, but due to the number of people who appeared, the event started about 25 minutes late.

Following the introduction, Brady was brought out through the audience, who erupted into a deafening roar as people cheered and clapped as the Patriots signal caller took the stage. ¬†The veteran, who was dressed in a dark blue suit jacket, khacki colored dress pants and an unbuttoned white dress shirt, sat in a chair on the stage across from reporter Jim Gray and received repeated “M-V-P” chants from a crowd who clearly rallied around him.

“This is like a Patriots pep rally,” said Brady. ¬†“Thank you guys for being here. ¬†Thank you very much.”

Gray asked some of the difficult questions to kick off the evening, which was broadcast locally on Comcast Sports New England among several other networks. ¬†He lead things off by saying, ¬†“We are going to keep this evening as to what it was supposed to be, however there is an elephant in the room.”

“Where?” responded a smiling Brady, which drew some laughs from the crowd.

When asked about his reaction to the Wells report, Brady said,¬†“It’s only been 30 hours and I haven’t had enough to digest it fully but when I do, I’ll let you know.”

Brady said he’s planning a response, which he says will be,¬†“Hopefully soon, hopefully soon. ¬†There’s still a process that’s going forth right now” and that he wants to be “very comfortable”¬†with his response.

He was asked about whether or not the Super Bowl should be considered “tainted”, to which Brady asked the crowd, “What do you think?” which drew quite a response. ¬†He later responded,¬†“Absolutely not.”

Brady was also asked about his absence from the White House, which he said, ¬†“It’s a pretty cool place, you guys should go.” ¬†He said that he’d be there next time if they’re lucky enough to make it back next season, but blamed the short notice and a previous family commitment for the reason he missed this one.

All in all it was a nice evening for a guy who, if this whole mess is bothering him, isn’t showing it visibly. ¬†He credited a lot of people who care about him, including his family, friends and his fans.

Those fans will now be anxiously awaiting exactly what he has to say about all of this.

If Brady Gets Suspended, He’ll Become Fall Guy For NFL QB’s


Brady’s future to start 2015 is in question. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots are no stranger to being martyrs for the rest of the league.

Wednesday’s release of the Wells report puts an end to three months of uncertainty after all the allegations and speculation, which started following the Colts’ claim that New England illegally deflated footballs before the AFC Championship game.

It’s become a fiasco, and now it seems like the Patriots may potentially be without Tom Brady to start this season if the league decides to make an example out of the team that vehemently fought the NFL and the entire investigation.

It’s frustrating to say the least. ¬†Most of the report centers around a couple of nitwits complaining via text with each other about Brady’s dislike for too much air pressure in the footballs, which apparently is enough to come to the conclusion that “it’s more probable than not” (that’s the new catch phrase BTW, try it out yourself and use it often) that the air pressure fell below the acceptable threshold because the veteran quarterback wanted it that way.¬† From there, his¬†two supposed stooges allegedly put together an elaborate scheme to elude the officials on the way out to the field after seemingly letting the air out of the footballs after they were inspected.


This fiasco may cost Brady the start of the 2015 season if the NFL decides to suspend him.
(USA TODAY Images)

Without getting into a¬†debate over the accuracy of the report, the bigger issue is the fact that how quarterbacks feel about the footballs they use is a big deal, and the methods around how they do it is well documented. ¬†If you’ve followed the stories surrounding Peyton Manning, Brad Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, and others during this investigation, quarterbacks go through great lengths to prep the footballs heading into each week. ¬†Some prefer more air pressure, some prefer less. ¬†It’s not exactly a big secret.

But Wednesday’s exciting conclusion is probably going to change all that. ¬†No more will quarterbacks likely have as much freedom over how the balls are prepped as they do right now. If the NFL decides to end their ability to doctor the footballs, guys will quietly grumble, although the “better him than me” thought process will come into play as they reflect on whatever little tricks and things they did that might have pushed the envelope never came to light. ¬†Meanwhile, if Brady is a spectator in week one, he’ll be the one to suffer a punishment over a practice that isn’t exactly new.

Ask Bill Belichick. ¬†He ripped into a reporter during his Saturday press conference when he first fought back about this whole mess. ¬†The reporter tried to use spygate¬†as a previous transgression of the Patriots breaking the rules, but the point Belichick¬†made was that it was a practice happening league-wide and it happened out in the open in front of over 60,000 people. ¬†Fans from the 31 other teams love to gloat but don’t realize¬†it probably also forced the¬†remaining coaches to have to get creative about how they’re watching signals being sent into the field.

He just happened to take the fall, and it cost the Patriots a draft pick and a fine.

Now it seems Brady might ultimately be the guy who takes the hit over¬†a practice that is well known and certainly didn’t stop the Patriots from hanging a massive second half against the Colts after the air pressure was corrected. ¬†Other quarterbacks around the league might have to just play with the footballs they’re given out of the box from now on because of this. ¬†But there will be other guys who won’t be made examples of who had intentionally been doing worse.

Unfortunately, those transgressions will never be made public. ¬† Success has been a staple here in New England and the only explanation many come up with is the fact that it can’t just be skill and talent, there has to be something more.

Either way, suspension or no suspension, rule change or no rule change, this is a football team that¬†has¬†big shoulders and they’ve proven they’ll be O.K. ¬†The fact it might happen without definitive proof will be the most frustrating part, but the phrase “it is what it is” more or less sums it up, even if it just isn’t right. Either way, if he does get penalized, you can bet the other quarterbacks around the league¬†will likely be¬†taking¬†note and being thankful it’s Brady, and not them, taking the hit.


Brady and the Patriots should be looking forward to their next meeting against Indy.

After the release of the Wells report on Wednesday, it’s now in writing that the Colts did, in fact, contact the league regarding their concerns about the air pressure as it related to the Patriots footballs.

According to the report, it was Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson who kicked this whole thing off, having sent an email to the league to raise their concerns about the air pressure of game balls used by the Patriots the day before the AFC Championship Game.

The report states that Grigson sent the email to David Gardi and Mike Kensil, who are each senior members of the NFL Football Operations Department were asked to keep an eye on the footballs.

“As far as the gameballs are concerned it is well known around the league that¬†after the Patriots gameballs are checked by the officials and brought out for game¬†usage the ballboys for the patriots will let out some air with a ball needle because¬†their quarterback likes a smaller football so he can grip it better,” read the email. ¬†“it would be great¬†if someone would be able to check the air in the game balls as the game goes on¬†so that they don’t get an illegal advantage.”

It apparently stemmed from their Week 11 battle against New England after Brady threw two interceptions, both of which, were handed to Brian Seabrooks, an Assistant Equipment Manager for the Colts. ¬†After getting them in his possession, Seabrooks¬†said they “appeared to be coated in a tacky substance and seemed spongy or soft when squeezed.”

Those two footballs¬†apparently weren’t¬†tested by officials at the time, but the Colts claim there was “unspecified chatter throughout the League that the Patriots prefer their footballs softer than other teams and that visiting teams should be on guard when playing at Gillette Stadium.”

So that’s apparently where the rumors and whispers started. ¬†After this fiasco, one would have to think that the Colts shouldn’t feel too great when Brady and the Patriots visit on October 18th in a Sunday night, nationally televised contest later this year. ¬†The best way to get even would be to blowout the team they’ve beaten handily¬†recently. ¬†That seems likely, since,¬†including both the regular and postseason, New England¬†has scored over 40 points in each of the last four games.

Following today’s news, that total may skyrocket.

Wells Report Challenges Belichick’s Science Simulation


Belichick likely isn’t happy after Wednesday’s release of the Wells report. (USA TODAY Images)

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent a Saturday explaining a little science after their AFC Championship victory, which came after he was faced with allegations about the team deflating footballs prior their game against the Colts.

At the time, the press conference was called because he felt the team “needed to say something”, and then proceeded to give an extensive scientific explanation of the apparent loss in pressure during the game after the team simulated their pregame preparation of the footballs to try and understand what might have happened. Belichick said the “vigorous” rubbing process to prepare the balls he said “raised the PSI level approximately one pound” and that once the officials put the air pressure at 12.5 psi, that “once the football reached its equilibrium state, it was probably closer to 11.5″

Exponent, the company hired in the report to test the theory, is contesting that assertion after doing their own testing. ¬†They’re claiming that after 20 minutes of rubbing, the pressure “increased in a given ball by approximately 0.7 psi,” and claimed that the football returned to its starting pressure within “fifteen and thirty minutes after the cessation of the rubbing.”

They also claim that the delay in time between when they were done being prepared (approximately 2:30pm) to when the officials inspected them (approximately 3:45pm) would have reduced the pressure and the new measurements have shown the difference.  They found that none of the footballs delivered an artificially high or low reading and were still at 12.5 psi.

“Based on these experiments, Exponent concluded¬†that the average pressures recorded for the Patriots game balls during halftime of the AFC¬†Championship Game were lower than the lowest average pressures attained by the simulations,” the report read. ¬†“In other words, when tests were run using the most likely game-day conditions and¬†circumstances, the Patriots halftime measurements could not be replicated, and the pressures¬†observed for the Patriots footballs by Exponent during its experiments were all higher.”

“This absence of a credible scientific explanation for the Patriots halftime measurements tends to support a finding that human intervention may account for the additional loss of pressure exhibited by the Patriots balls.”

As a result, they’re ruling out Belichick’s testing and explanation for what occurred.

Needless to say if you think he was upset before about the amount of time he wasted going through the motions for that data, he’s likely not going be very happy after today’s news.


Brady appears to be at the center of the investigation now thanks to two team eployees who complained about him frequently via text. (USA TODAY Images)

The Wells Report was released on Wednesday and 243+ pages later, the determination appears to be that the Patriots did, in fact, knowingly release air from the footballs leading up to their showdown with the Indianapolis Colts prior to the AFC Championship game.

Or at least that’s what the report claims. ¬†The report appears to go the complete opposite of most legal outlets in that it’s basing the ruling based on assumptions and innuendo instead of concrete evidence.¬† The bad news is this will likely¬†now going to convict the Patriots more so in the court of public opinion, which is essentially much worse. ¬†Owner Robert Kraft (who the report rules out as being involved in the alleged scandal) had previously challenged the NFL shield by demanding an apology if they were cleared of any wrongdoing. ¬†Now that it’s over, while Wells hasn’t done that, the report has done a good job of trying to protect Kraft but has¬†slammed the Patriots back down coming off of their first Super Bowl win in nearly a decade.

It’s a disappointing outcome¬†and before we get into it further, for those of you who don’t feel like rifling through it all, here’s a full rundown of the major parts of the report:

WHAT THEY FOUND:

The term “more probable than not” will likely go down as the next term that will be echoed in the coming years thanks to this report. ¬†Since the league doesn’t have definitive proof of what happened, the Wells’ report is basing their ruling on what they believe instead of what they can prove.

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation,¬†we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable¬†than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and¬†were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules,” the report read. ¬†“In particular, we have concluded¬†that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the¬†Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate¬†effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based¬†on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the¬†quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of¬†McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

The report did go on to say that despite reports in regards to the team introducing a non-approved kicking ball into the game, the investigation cleared them of that in the part that read,¬†“Based on the evidence, the investigation has further concluded that that there was¬†no deliberate attempt by the Patriots to introduce to the playing field a non-approved kicking ball¬†during the AFC Championship Game.”

In the coming days the guys who appear to be the ones who will take the most heat for this investigation are McNally and Jastremski, as well as Brady for their supposed roles in this debacle.  The rumors are already swirling regarding a suspension of Brady, with Vegas even going so far as to take the Patriots and Steelers game off the board as they wait to find out if the veteran signal caller will be on the field for week one of the regular season.

And what is the “damning” evidence against them? ¬†A series of text messages summarized on page eighteen of the report that seem to suggest¬†the biggest thing that’s leading up to the assumption that McNally and Jastremski knowingly broke the rules and seemingly did so under the direction of Brady.

According to the report, here is a summation of some of those conversations, with commentary in the report of the reasons why they feel these were key components in their investigation:

“- The inflation level of Patriots footballs and McNally‚Äüs impact on¬†the inflation level of the balls (‚Äúim going make that next ball a¬†f****n balloon‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúMake sure you blow up the ball to look like a¬†rugby ball so tom can get used to it before Sunday‚ÄĚ; ‚Äú16 is¬†nothing…wait till next sunday‚ÄĚ);”

“-¬†Jastremski‚Äüs plan to provide McNally with a ‚Äúneedle‚ÄĚ for use by¬†McNally (‚ÄúCan‚Äüt wait to give you your needle this week :)‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúF**k¬†tom….make sure the pump is attached to the needle…..f***in¬†watermelons coming‚ÄĚ);”

“- McNally‚Äüs request that the ‚Äúneedle‚ÄĚ be surrounded by cash and¬†new sneakers and other items of value to be received by McNally¬†(‚ÄúBetter be surrounded by cash and newkicks….or its a rugby¬†sunday‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúMaybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker‚ÄĚ;¬†‚ÄúRemember to put a couple sweet pig skins ready for tom to sign‚ÄĚ;¬†‚ÄúU got it kid…big autograph day for you‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúNice throw some kicks¬†in and make it real special‚ÄĚ);”

“- McNally‚Äüs references to Brady as the catalyst for Jastremski‚Äüs¬†offers of sneakers and clothing (‚ÄúTom must really be working your¬†balls hard this week‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúTom must really be on you‚ÄĚ); and¬†15″

“-¬†That game balls for a Sunday game would not be deflated because¬†of anger at Brady (‚ÄúThe only thing deflating sun..is his passing rating‚ÄĚ).”

“-¬†Text messages most plausibly read as describing a conversation between¬†Jastremski and Brady during which Brady mentioned McNally and said¬†that McNally must have ‚Äúa lot of stress‚ÄĚ trying to get the footballs ‚Äúdone‚Ä̬†(‚ÄúTalked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must¬†have a lot of stress trying to get them done…‚ÄĚ).”

“- Text messages from McNally referring to himself as the ‚Äúdeflator‚ÄĚ and¬†suggesting that he might contact the media (‚Äújimmy needs some¬†kicks….lets make a deal…..come on help the deflator‚ÄĚ;”

The team apparently had their own counsel involved during the investigation, and contended that the text messages between McNally and Jastremski referring to the inflation levels of the footballs and the rest of their conversations weren’t serious and shouldn’t have been seen as anything more than “attempts at humor and hyperbole.” ¬†The report disagreed, saying, “We also find these claims not plausible” and appears to be focused on¬†that evidence as¬†being a big key in the investigation and subsequent findings.

Another fact in the investigation is McNally’s apparent recollection of his brief bathroom break on the way out the field that night, where he claims he dropped the ball bag to his left and “used the urinal to his right.” ¬†The bathroom apparently doesn’t contain a urinal, which in the report seemingly has them questioning what happened in there during the one minute and forty-seconds that he was in there for.

To top it all off, they also claim that it was the first time they could recollect that the balls were taken out onto the field without permission, which left officials in a panic trying to figure out where the footballs were before eventually realizing McNally had already brought them out.

These facts are why they feel the Patriots are guilty of breaking the rules, with the text messages between the two employees being the most damning.

WHAT WAS BRADY’S ROLE?

The talk so far seems to be focused on Brady as the lone potential person outside of team employees who might be punished as a result of their findings, which, given the evidence they have, is hard to imagine a suspension being handed down.

Here’s what the report says about Brady’s role in it all:

“We nevertheless believe, based on the totality of the evidence, that it is more¬†probable than not that Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of¬†McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls,” reads the report. ¬†“Evidence of¬†Brady‚Äüs awareness appears in text communications between McNally and Jastremski.”

The report goes on to cite the veteran’s involvement in the 2006 rule change that allowed visiting teams to prepare game balls in accordance of the preferences of their quarterbacks, and then goes on to point out that during the interviews for the investigation Brady denied¬†“having been aware of Rule 2 or the minimum inflation¬†level until 2014,” and throwing in a snide “(despite approximately fourteen years as an NFL quarterback).”

They also appeared to be unhappy with the fact that Brady “declined to make available any documents or electronic information¬†(including text messages and emails) that we requested, even though those requests were limited¬†to the subject matter of our investigation (such as messages concerning the preparation of game¬†balls, air pressure of balls, inflation of balls or deflation of balls) and we offered to allow Brady’s¬†counsel to screen and control the production so that it would be limited strictly to responsive¬†materials and would not involve our taking possession of Brady’s telephone or other electronic¬†devices. Our inability to review contemporaneous communications and other documents in¬†Brady’s possession and control related to the matters under review potentially limited the¬†discovery of relevant evidence and was not helpful to the investigation.”

Needless to say Brady’s unwillingness to turn over his texts and emails didn’t sit well with the investigation, and now he’s in the spotlight. ¬†They believe that while he may not have directly deflated the balls he was aware of what was going on, basing it purely on the moaning and groaning of a couple of team employees who were complaining about him via text. ¬†Those quotes are mentioned repeatedly all throughout the report, which uses them over and over again as their reasoning behind their conclusions.

THE RESULT:

The report’s constant repeating¬†about the text messages, which inferred Brady’s concern over the state of the footballs leading up to the football game and McNally and Jastremski’s frustrations over it, appears to be where¬†the vast majority of the conclusion centers, especially¬†given how many times they’re referenced. ¬†That’s a pattern throughout the report and it’s amazing how many times in general things are repeated throughout it. ¬†To make matters worse,¬†the report¬†gives more of an¬†opinion and includes snide inferences of what they feel happened instead of an unbiased assertion of the facts and timeline of events to reach their conclusion.

As far as the punishment is concerned or the fallout, that remains to be seen.  Kraft seemed disappointed with the outcome but appears tired of arguing about the topic.  For now he seems resolved to whatever is coming next, by a league that appears to have gotten what it wanted.

‚ÄúWhile I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me,” Kraft said in his statement on Wednesday. ¬†“Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.‚ÄĚ

The good news is, it’s finally over. ¬†The bad news is the worst might not yet be, and for now we’ll just have to sit back and wait to see what happens next.

2015 PATRIOTS DRAFT: Thoughts on All Eight Selections From Day Three


Flowers is among some pretty talented players selected Saturday. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots wrapped up the NFL Draft on Saturday in very Bill Belichick-like fashion, adding plenty of defensive help as well as a long-snapper (we all know Belichick loves long-snappers and specialists) and a couple of offensive linemen, one of which includes a former teammate of current center Bryan Stork.

It was an interesting day to say the least, and here’s a quick rundown of all the players the Patriots will begin working with in the months ahead.

PICK 1) 4th Round (101st Overall): Trey Flowers (DE, Arkansas):
Every year there’s a player who makes some interesting comments and this year Flowers is the lucky guy who falls into that category. ¬†Flowers is a big¬†guy, listed at 6’4″, 269lbs and one of the things he’s good at is¬†causing trouble in opposing backfields. ¬†According to CFBStats.com, he finished with 15.5 tackles for a loss and 6 sacks last season, as well as¬†9 QB hurries and 6 passes broken up. ¬†The inspiration for his play? ¬†The movie “The Waterboy”. ¬†“I actually grew up watching, fell in love with the game watching Waterboy so I guess I got that kind visualize-and-attack mentality,” said Wells during his interview with the media. “He just taught me to go crazy out there. ¬†I just take myself to a place and attack as they say.” ¬†Needless to say, keep an eye on him in training camp and if you do happen to talk to him – for those of you who have seen the movie – don’t say anything bad about his mother.

PICK 2) 4th Round (111st Overall): Tre’ Jackson (OL, Florida State):
The FSU pipeline was tapped again on Saturday after the Patriots selected Seminole lineman Tre’ Jackson, reuniting Stork with his former teammate. ¬†Adding depth up front is always important and at 6’4″, 330 pounds, Jackson seems to give them a solid body for a line whose main responsibility is protecting one of the team’s most valuable assets in Tom Brady. ¬†The biggest question seems to involve his health, with one report suggesting he failed multiple NFL team physicals due to his chronic knee problems. ¬†It didn’t stop the Patriots from drafting him and Jackson says his knee is “great”. ¬†For now, he’s glad to be here and for the opportunity to play alongside his former teammate. ¬†“It‚Äôs a great feeling to be alongside with one of my old players, one of my old guys that I know so well,” said Jackson. ¬†“We talked a little bit during the process, and he pretty much just tuned me in on everything that you had to do to get to where he was and things like that.” ¬† Hopefully he works out as well as Stork did in his rookie season.

PICK 3: 4th Round (131st Overall): Shaq Mason (OL, Georgia Tech):
Mason may not be the biggest player the Patriots have drafted up front, but he’s a guy who most scouting reports claim utilizes what leverage he has and outworks a lot of the guys he battles against. ¬†Mason is fierce and is known as an excellent downfield blocker. That type of attitude and competitiveness are things that Belichick loves, so he’s an interesting player in that regard and he possesses a lot of versatility, with the ability¬†to¬†also reportedly give them depth as a back-up center. ¬†Mason says his “competitive edge” is what sets him apart. ¬†“I always have a competitive edge,” said Mason. ¬†“The salty and tough ‚Äď that‚Äôs pretty accurate because I mean, going into every situation on the football field, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. That‚Äôs my mindset each and every play, so I bring that to the table each and every play.”

PICK 4: 5th Round (166th Overall): Joe Cardona (LS, Navy):
The draft wouldn’t be complete without a crazy Belichick-esque pick and we got to see one Saturday when Belichick did what no other team had done in 20 years, and that was select a player out of Navy. ¬†The fact that it was a long-snapper at this spot only makes it even more interesting, proving once again how much he clearly values special teams. ¬† As we know, this is a coach who once had the long-snapper snap the ball up into the uprights late in a critical Monday night game out in Denver years ago, which requires a guy with the skills to do that and Cardona certainly fits the bill. ¬† Cardona found his selection, “surreal”. ¬†“I think just the nature of the position you don‚Äôt see many guys drafted,” said Cardona. ¬†“I mean I heard rumors and my agent saying that I have a chance of getting drafted, and then when the call came in the fifth round it was just surreal. That‚Äôs the only way I can put it ‚Äď it was surreal. Like I said, I‚Äôm just grateful for the opportunity.” ¬†The only question now seems to¬†be whether or not he’ll be able to play, as his military commitment seems to potentially be an issue. ¬†Either way it made for an interesting afternoon.

PICK 5: 6th Round (177th Overall): Matthew Wells (LB, Miss State):
Speed and athleticism seems to be a focus at the linebacker position in recent years, with Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins as two good examples of what New England has been looking for with previous draft picks. ¬†On Saturday their selection of Wells is another example, although Wells at¬†this point looks to be more of a special teams standout and a role player given his size at 6’1″ 218lbs. ¬†One area he excelled in college was his coverage skills on defense so it will be interesting to see how he’s utilized by New England, but it appears they grabbed a pretty good athlete on Saturday. ¬†He told reporters on Saturday that he’s legally blind in his right eye, saying he can see but he can’t read out of it, although he claims it’s never impacted him on the field. ¬†For now he’s excited to get out there, and ready for whatever role he’s given. ¬†“It doesn‚Äôt matter,” said Wells. ¬†“Whatever position they think I‚Äôm best at and want to try me at, that‚Äôs what I‚Äôm willing to play.”


Derby is a terrific athletic player and should be a good addition to the Patriots’ offense.
(USA TODAY Images)

PICK 6: 6th Round (202nd Overall): AJ Derby (TE, Arkansas):
The draft wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a tight end, and the Patriots drafted another to go along with Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Tim Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui. ¬†The interesting thing about Derby is that he’s another player drafted that scored high in the 3-cone drill with a time of 6.99 seconds and a 4.51 short shuttle, so he’s got terrific quickness. ¬†He’s similar to Julian Edelman in that he started out as a quarterback before making his transition to tight end, which didn’t happen until his senior season. ¬†It’s been quite a journey¬†for Derby, but he’s happy to land in New England. “Yeah, it‚Äôs kind of a long road,” said Derby. ¬†“I was pretty stubborn about playing quarterback in my early time in college. That‚Äôs the reason I ended up leaving Iowa to go to juco [junior college], then to Arkansas, but I ended up meeting with [head] coach ‚ÄėB‚Äô [Bret Bielema] and it worked out great to be a tight end. [I‚Äôm] just really looking forward to joining the Patriots organization and doing whatever I can to help the team win.”

PICK 7: 7th Round (247th Overall): Darryl Roberts (CB, Marshall):
It took until the 7th round for the Patriots to finally select a cornerback, but they ended up grabbing Roberts out of Marshall and the early reports seem to be pretty encouraging about his selection. ¬†He’s another player that continues New England’s focus on terrific athletes, with Roberts having run a 4.38 second 40-yard dash at his pro day along with a 6.66-second 3-cone drill, and an insane 4.06 second short shuttle. ¬†He finished his collegiate career with five interceptions and 35 passes defended, and he also played plenty of special teams in college. ¬†He should definitely be a fun player to watch in camp, and he’s excited to be a Patriot. ¬†“It‚Äôs just a true blessing,” said Roberts¬† “My whole family and my whole support staff, everybody is just happy for me and excited for me. It‚Äôs just an honor to have an opportunity to play for the Patriots.”

PICK 8: 7th Round (253rd Overall): Xzavier Dickson (DE/LB, Alabama):
New England grabbed a player out of Nick Saban’s school with their final selection, taking another defensive player when they grabbed Dickson. ¬†Dickson’s selection came later than many thought it would and he’s a guy who had a decent amount of success in Alabama in getting after the quarterback and being disruptive in the backfield, having finished with 14 sacks along with 21 tackles for a loss. ¬†As far as how he’ll be used, Dickson said the team told him he’ll be “a defensive end or an outside linebacker” and that “speed to power” is his best move. ¬†When asked about all the defensive players New England took, the rookie said he’s ready to come in and compete. ¬†“It‚Äôs just football,” said Dickson. ¬†“It‚Äôs a competition every day. I‚Äôve just got to go in and make the best out of my opportunity.”

Overall, on paper, it seems like a pretty good group of talent the Patriots gathered on Day 3. ¬†We’ll see in the months ahead who emerges as potential contributors for the upcoming season, which should definitely make for a pretty interesting training camp.

Patriots Bolster their LB Group With Matthew Wells


Wells adds speed and youth to the Patriots LB core. (USA TODAY Images)

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen from the Patriots in recent years is adding guys to their linebacker group that are fast and athletic.

On Saturday, they added another one, selecting Mississippi State’s Matthew Wells in the 6th round with the 178th overall pick.

Wells spent the last two years starting at outside linebacker for the Bulldogs, including 13 starts last season finishing with 45 tackles and four sacks in 2014. ¬†At 6’1″, 218 he’s not exactly big enough to be considered an immediate difference-maker, but he’s the type of player who gives the Patriots depth behind their current starters and he could give them an additional player in coverage. ¬†He’s got terrific speed, running a 4.45 40-yard dash during his pro day and also posted a 35-inch vertical and 9’10” broad jump.

During Mississippi State’s pro day back in March, Wells was considered one of the best performers of the day.

“He did great,” MSU defensive end Preston Smith told HailState.com of Wells back in March at the Mississippi State¬†Pro Day. “We always knew he was fast, but we wanted everyone else to realize he was fast. That shoots him up the board.”

It might not been as high as he hoped, but it shot him up into the sixth round and on to New England’s roster. ¬†As we’ve seen in recent seasons it never hurts to have too many athletic skilled players, and it looks like the Patriots may have added a good one in Wells Saturday. The added speed should be an asset on special teams, and here’s a look at some of the highlights from the newly added Bulldog:

Patriots Add Georgia Tech G Shaq Mason In Round Four


Mason adds some depth to the Patriots’ offensive line. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots addressed their offensive line on Saturday, and in the fourth round added Georgia Tech guard Shaq Mason, their second guard of the round.

Mason adds depth to a group that now also includes Tre Jackson, who was picked earlier in the same round.   Both players will likely push incumbents Josh Kline and Jordan Devey, and with Dan Connolly still a free agent, Mason joins Johnson as two players who should set up an interesting position battle heading into training camp.  Marcus Cannon and Ryan Wendell would seem to be the likely two players to be your day one starters, but given the injuries this team has faced up front in recent years, it will be interesting to see if either rookie ends up in the line-up this season.

According to Mason, he and Jackson are friends, which should allow the two an immediate comfort level when they arrive and get to work at Gillette Stadium.

‚ÄúAs far as another offensive linemen coming in from the ACC, me and Tre‚Äô [Jackson], we‚Äôre pretty cool,” said Mason. ¬†“So that‚Äôs my guy.‚ÄĚ

Mason’s 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, not quite as big as Johnson, who is much bigger at 6’4″, 330lbs. ¬†But he’s a tough player and according to several draft profiles, he’s a player who has good leverage, with his specialty considered to be in the ground game and just needs to work on his technique. He’s also a player who has some good versatility and could also be a potential back-up to center Bryan Stork.

It’s a nice pick up ¬†and gives the Patriots some additional talent up front. ¬†Not a bad addition for a 4th round pick and he’s excited to be a Patriot.

“Coming off of a Super Bowl, it‚Äôs a great organization,” said Mason. ¬†“I couldn‚Äôt be in a better place.”