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New England Patriots News 05-03, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
2 months ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

New England Patriots News 05-03, AFC East NotesSteve Balestrieri - PatsFans.com

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 05-03 and AFC East notes this week. 

Sad that we’d be talking about the first appearance of the Patriots draft picks in Foxboro normally this week as well as discussing rookie minicamp. But due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, everyone is still at home. Hopefully soon this will all change. 

Other than that, we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. 

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

Andy Dalton: Jeff Howe reported over a month ago that the Patriots weren’t interested in Dalton. But as soon as reports surfaced that Bengals were going to release him, Peter King said he’d be a good fit and that turned into “the Patriots are interested.” 

And social media being the sewer that it can be at times, then had all kinds of screwy scenarios that the Patriots and Jaguars were in a “bidding war” over Dalton. Really? With $1.6 million in salary-cap space…it must be pretty boring bidding there. 

***Update*** Dalton was signed by the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, thereby taking him out of the talk for New England

Justin Rohrwasser:  The team did what they could to diffuse this “tattoo situation” by having WBZ sports anchor and host of Patriots All-Access Steve Burton conduct an interview with their new kicker Rohrwasser to give him a chance to explain himself. 

It was pretty clear that despite what some pot stirrers on Twitter were saying, he is neither a racist or white supremacist. But it isn’t going away, even after he covers his tattoo. He’ll be hearing about this all summer and into the season once the regular season when the team travels. If he starts shaking kicks, the noise will get louder

Melifonwu, Davis Released: The Patriots announced that they released DL Keointa Davis and DB Obi Melifonwu. Melifonwu, the uber-athletically gifted safety was originally a 2nd round pick (56th overall) of the Raiders in 2017. Injuries caused him to be released and the Patriots signed him in 2018, but he never really caught on, despite showing flashes here and there.  

Davis was signed by the Patriots as a UDFA out of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2017. He spent his rookie season on the non-football injury reserve list. He made the 53-man roster in 2018 and appeared in six regular-season games and posted six tackles. He spent the 2019 season on injured reserve.

New Uniforms Unveiled: In a word… Yuck. Nuff said. A week later, my opinion is unchanged. 

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. This week we did a draft recap podcast, so be sure to check that out soon.

No Surprise, James Develin Retires:

As much as we hate to see a man’s career cut short, we were happy to see that James Develin had decided to hang it up and retire, albeit prematurely due to his injury. And those neck injuries are very unforgiving. Another one could have potentially put him in a wheelchair. It was too big of a risk. 

In an interview with Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Develin said about his injury, “So it’s not like I can tippy-toe around and try not to use my head…It was just one of those things, I wouldn’t be able to approach the game the same way and play with a relentless abandon that I had grown to play with.”

Develin, 31, is a three-time Super Bowl winner with the Patriots whose value went way beyond carries, yards, or catches. As the Patriots fullback, he created holes for the running backs to run and when he missed the 2015 season with a broken leg suffered in the preseason, and last year with his neck injury, it was easy to see how badly the team missed him. James White referred to Develin as a “protector” and that is exactly what he did. 

More on Develin from Bill Belichick below…

Seymour Gets My Vote for the Hall… Tuna Still Gets a Pass:

Sorry, for me Bill Parcells’ omission from the Patriots team Hall of Fame isn’t “ridiculous” and “embarrassing” as the Shank posted in the Globe, nor are Patriots fans stupid as Tanguay said on NBC. And as much as I like Tom Curran, I disagree that Parcells belongs in the team’s Hall. There are others who are more deserving first.

And before we go any farther, I am a diehard Parcells fan, I loved when he came to the team and think he’s one of the great coaches of all time. But in the biggest week for the franchise, with a chance to win a Super Bowl, he didn’t spend his week, trying to game plan to beat the Packers. He spent it on the phone with the Jets trying to get the hell out of Dodge before the team even got home. He then tried to screw New England at every turn for the next few years with the J-E-T-S. So, sorry, I can forgive but not this year, not until another coach gets in. 

In the excellent book “Patriot Reign” by Michael Holley, Bill Belichick’s words ring very true when he describes Parcells actions that week before the Super Bowl. 

“I felt [was] totally inappropriate. How many chances do you get to play for the Super Bowl? Tell them to get back to you in a couple of days. I’m not saying it was disrespectful to me, but it was in terms of the overall commitment to the team.”

Even he has stated that how he left New England was wrong, “I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently … ” Parcells said a few years ago. “I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do.”

“I was absolutely too headstrong. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.” A little? 

And this media misrepresentation (by some) that because Parcells is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the fact he isn’t in the Patriots is an embarrassment? That’s total …horse hockey. The Tuna is in there for what he accomplished with the Giants. And deservedly so. 

The other coach that deserves to be in the Hall is Chuck Fairbanks. Of course, Fairbanks has a snowball chance in hell of ever getting in. Even those of us who are diehard fans of his recognize that. When he took over in 1973, the Patriots were the worst drafting team in the NFL and he changed all of that. 

Like Parcells, Fairbanks drafted two members of the Pro Football HOF (John Hannah, Mike Haynes) and added a slew of outstanding Patriots, many of whom are in the team’s HOF. Darryl Stingley, Sam Cunningham, Sugar Bear Ray Hamilton, Sam Hunt, Steve Nelson, Steve Grogan, Russ Francis, Andy Johnson, Tim Fox, Pete Brock, Raymond Clayborn, and Stanley Morgan…among others. 

I do agree with Curran that Kraft needs to get involved and make a command decision. To add Fairbanks and Parcells…in that order.  But for this year, it is a no-brainer. Richard Seymour deserves a bust in Canton and HE made his bones by dominating for nearly a decade in Foxboro.  But vote for who you decide belongs.  

Gronk Was Just Kidding… Really, Nothing to See Here:

Oh,  how times change. Imagine if you will (Rod Serling voice) had Rob Gronkowski been a member of the Bucs and signed with New England and then said what he did? 

During a Bud Light Seltzer “Drafterparty”, Gronk spoke up about No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow studying the Cincinnati Bengals playbook weeks before the draft, which prompted the big guy to say that he was studying the Bucs playbook before the trade with the Patriots. That is the textbook definition of tampering. 

“I was in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers playbook four weeks ago, and I wasn’t even on the team,” Gronkowski said

Do I care? No… but as I said, if the situation was reversed? We’d have weepy ex-QBs whining about the loss of confidence in the game, Roger would remove himself from his basement and give us a sermon on the “integrity of the game” while Ted Wells and his flying circus of junk science buffoons would be rubbing their hands with glee over the prospect of doing another long investigation building up those billable hours. 

But wait, Gronk had a (lame) excuse… or maybe it wasn’t. He was joking. 

 “This is seriously a story?” Gronkowski posted on Twitter. “LOL! I was just joking around with Sage as I was pretty much the whole time that time when I was co-hosting the show.”

“Wowsers, my co-hosting skills on point!! Lol!! I actually just received my team-issued Surface today from the Bucs and it’s still in the package, and hoping it is all pictures and drawings. I’m pumped to open it one day hopefully soon and follow the arrows to learn where to run too. Gronk run Gronk catch ball. No playbook needed. Hehe.”

But not to worry, Park Avenue has spoken, nothing to see here. It is probably a good thing. Because if the Bucs had been found guilty of tampering, how would have Goodell found a way to strip the Patriots of draft picks?

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Have a Great Draft Weekend:

The Buffalo Bills had a heckuva of a 2020 NFL Draft weekend. Despite not having a 1st round pick, which they traded for Stefon Diggs (which is already a big addition for their offense), they got some impact players with their picks and set themselves up quite nicely. 

Round 2, pick 54: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Round 3, pick 86: Zack Moss, RB, Utah –
Round 4, pick 128: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF  –
Round 5, pick 167: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia –
Round 6, pick 188 (from Browns): Tyler Bass, K, Georgia Southern –
Round 6, pick 207 (from Ravens thru Patriots): Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State –
Round 7, pick 239 (from Vikings): Dane Jackson, CB, Pitt – 

Epenesa should be an immediate contributor to an already stacked defense. Moss is a physical back who should provide a nice counter to Devin Singletary. Davis is a big-bodied WR who can work the sideline and stretch the field. 

Getting Fromm was a really nice move. They have their franchise QB in Allen, but Fromm’s biggest attribute was his head, he’s smart and sees the field like a coach. Having a good quality back-up QB who can help the starter is a very smart move. 

And Bass was our #2 kicker in the draft… Very good weekend in Buffalo. 

Dolphins Use Draft Capital Wisely:

The Miami Dolphins entered the 2020 NFL Draft having a ton of holes to fill and they did a very good job of doing just that. They may have found their franchise QB of the future with Tua Tagavailoa, and then with #18 (as we predicted on our draft podcast), they found a tackle to protect him and then added a very promising corner who is just scratching the surface of his potential, all in the 1st round. 

I love the addition of Davis for their interior DL which was a weakness in 2019, although I’m not entirely sold on Jones the safety out of Texas, but the later additions of Strowbridge and Weaver in Round 5 were good quality additions.

  • Round 1, Pick No. 5:  Tua Tagavailoa, QB, Alabama
  • Round 1, Pick No. 18:  Austin Jackson, OT, USC
  • Round 1, Pick No. 30:  Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
  • Round 2, Pick No. 39:  Robert Hunt, G, Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Round 2, Pick No. 56:  Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
  • Round 3, Pick No. 70:  Brandon Jones, S, Texas
  • Round 4, Pick No. 111:  Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
  • Round 5, Pick No. 154:  Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina
  • Round 5, Pick No. 164:  Curtis Weaver, OLB, Boise State
  • Round 6, Pick No. 185:  Blake Ferguson, LS, LSU
  • Round 7, Pick No. 246:  Malcolm Perry, WR, Navy

Jets Address Glaring Need at OT and Add a Playmaker WR:

The New York Jets had a huge hole to fill at offensive tackle, their QBs were sacked a whopping 52 times in 2019 and they filled that huge hole with a huge player. With their first pick (11th overall), the Jets selected Mekhi Becton who is a mammoth 6’7, 369 pounds. Becton can play, he was a consensus top 4 OT in the draft and should immediately produce. 

They also added playmaking WR Denzel Mims from Baylor. Mims has all the physical tools at 6’3, 216  and was a three-year starter with very good production, 182 catches, 2901 yards, and 28 TDs in his career.

Round 1, pick 11: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Round 2, pick 59: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Round 3, pick 68: Ashtyn Davis, S, California
Round 3, pick 79: Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida
Round 4, pick 120: Lamical Perine, RB, Florida
Round 4, pick 125: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
Round 4, pick 129 (from Patriots via Ravens): Cameron Clark, OT, UNC Charlotte
Round 5, pick 158: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Round 6, pick 191: Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M

_______________

“To some people, James Develin may be ‘unsung’ in terms of publicity and fame, but to his coaches and teammates, he is one of the most appreciated and respected players we have ever had. In football, there are a lot of tough, unselfish, and dependable people who bring positive leadership on a daily basis, but the name James Develin represents those qualities at an elite level. A tribute to the impact James had on our success, of the five seasons in which he appeared in every game, we won three championships. Any team would be fortunate to have a James Devlin-‘type’ on its roster but the reality is he is a rarity and we are very fortunate he was a Patriot.” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the retirement of James Develin.

_______________

“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

 


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2020 NFL Draft Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots

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