Five Patriots/NFL Things to Know For 4/15: News and Notes
Some thoughts as we finish out the week:
1) One player who is going to be interesting to keep an eye on heading into 2022 is Mack Wilson, who the New England Patriots picked up as part of the trade that sent Chase Winovich to the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason.
The 4th-year linebacker, who was selected in the 5th round in the 2019 draft out of Alabama by the Browns, is definitely an intriguing player. He’s a fairly big guy at 6’1″, 240 pounds but what’s surprising about Wilson is how athletic he is. He’s fast, running a 4.69 40-yard dash at his Pro Day as well as a 7.2 three-cone, which is impressive for a guy his size. Much of the discussion following the Patriots trading for him was the fact he adds speed to a defense that Bill Belichick is clearly trying to transition to becoming younger and faster, especially after struggling down the stretch against more dynamic offenses.
Given Belichick’s relationship with Alabama head coach Nick Saban, there were likely some discussions between the two on Wilson. Greg Bedard of BostonSportsJournal.com pointed out in a recent column that one of the things that have hampered Wilson to this point is that he’s still a raw talent, with the former Tide linebacker having taken a fair amount of heat after coming out early. The overall thought at the time was that he hadn’t quite progressed to the level some felt he needed to in order to be successful at the NFL level, albeit other issues haven’t helped his cause.
Wilson did exceed expectations after playing fairly well in his first season in 2019. He appeared in all 16 games while totaling 77 tackles including 52 solo and a sack. He also defended 7 passes, as well as picking off one pass.
That’s exactly what you want to see from someone with his athleticism, but he’s had a rough road since that first campaign. Wilson suffered a knee injury during training camp the following preseason in 2020, which derailed that progress. He would go on to play in 13 games that year but he admitted that the injury hampered him all season and he privately battled with a fair amount of frustration.
“That’s how down I was because mentally, we go through a lot as football players,” Wilson told reporters last preseason said via AL.com. “When I got hurt, it was one of my worst moments in my life. Just coming back, I never felt like I was myself. I didn’t feel like I was producing on the field. I couldn’t move like I wanted to. I was missing plays that I knew I should make. I was in a dark place basically.”
Wilson admitted that one of the biggest mistakes he made was rushing himself back from the injury, which he said “wasn’t the smartest idea” and he paid for it.
Things didn’t quite go his way either in 2021, with Wilson missing three games late in the season after testing positive for COVID-19 while also missing a Week 17 match-up against Pittsburgh due to “a personal matter”. He was also among players rumored to be on the move at the trade deadline, but the Browns apparently didn’t find a deal they felt was worth pulling the trigger on.
He did play fairly well against New England last season during their Week 10 meeting at Gillette Stadium, with Wilson finishing second on the team in tackles that afternoon with 7, with Bedard pointing out on film one play where Wilson perfectly diagnosed a run down near the goal line before coming up and making the stop for no gain.
The former standout from Alabama seems to be happy about landing in New England as he also reunited with Mac Jones, who was a freshman during their time together. After coming to Gillette Stadium and seeing how things are done, he’s glad to be a part of it and he’s looking forward to getting to work.
“I can feel the structure,” he told the Boston Globe recently. “I can feel the hard work in the atmosphere because I feel like everybody is just there to work. There’s really no goofing around, there’s nothing to play about. When you enter that building, there’s only one mindset and that’s to work.”
2) Anyone who might have been hoping to see Stephon Gilmore bury the hatchet and possibly come back to New England for a season is going to be disappointed after multiple reports have him signing with the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFL Network is reporting that Gilmore received a 2-year deal worth $14 million in guaranteed money, with Gilmore getting a little bit of security while playing with a fairly talented roster that also added quarterback Matt Ryan this offseason.
That security was what he was looking for in New England, which set up a contentious offseason during his final year. However, a quad injury he suffered in 2020, which ended his season, led to a long offseason of rehab and questions about his health. The two sides never reached an agreement on an extension and Gilmore was ultimately traded to Carolina last October.
The Patriots still have plenty of questions at cornerback heading into 2022 after having not replaced Gilmore, as well as losing J.C. Jackson this offseason, which should set up some interesting decisions for the club in the upcoming NFL Draft.
3) For anyone who might be wondering about former Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson, it appears he’s moved on to the Real Estate world following his retirement from football.
I stumbled across his page last night while looking at some things, and it appears Dobson is quite happy away from the gridiron. The former Patriot is living in the Phoenix area in Arizona, where he settled after finishing his career with the Cardinals.
That portion is included on his website, with the West Virginia native talking about his background along with his personal journey.
“Hello everyone! My name is Aaron Dobson and I am originally from Dunbar, WV,” writes Dobson. “I grew up playing basketball football and track. I attended Marshall University on a football scholarship where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Mangement & Marketing. After I graduated college, I pursued my long life dream to play in the NFL. I was drafted 2nd round of the 2013 draft by the NE Patriots. I had a 6 year career and ended it all here in the valley with the Cardinals. After my decision to retire from the game I transitioned into the real estate world where I started to invest. After a couple of years of investing I made the full transition to become a licensed realtor in early 2022. With all that being said I’m here to help you throughout your entire home buying and selling process. Trying to do it all on your own can be burdensome. I’ll find you homes within your price range, help you find buyers, assist you with paperwork, and more.”
Dobson was drafted in the 2nd round out of Marshall in 2013 and played three seasons in New England, including a pretty productive rookie season where he caught 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns, as well as finishing with 6 passes of 20+ yards including two that went for 40+. One of those came on his first career NFL reception against the New York Jets in Week 2, which was a 39-yard catch and run by the rookie for a touchdown.
A broken foot he suffered late in the year plagued him and played a part in keeping him from getting back to where he was as a rookie. It ultimately cut his career with the Patriots short, which was disappointing given the promise he showed in his first season.
Looking back, the team essentially telegraphed picking him. That offseason, the club actually put together a pretty incredible highlight video of his college performances during their annual draft party that year, including this unbelievable grab against ECU on a 3rd-and-goal, which essentially let everyone know he was on their radar that offseason.
It’s just disappointing it didn’t work out and it’s hard not to wonder how much better he could have been had he not gotten hurt. Fortunately, the former receiver seems to be doing well for himself, which is certainly good to see. For those who remember him, here’s a photo montage the team posted a while back of some of his moments in New England.
4) The league announced the list of players who are planning on attending night one of the NFL Draft this year, which is scheduled to be held in Las Vegas.
What’s a little odd about this year is the fact that the NFL is running a stage in the center of the Bellagio fountain where they’re apparently going to be ferrying the players across, which sets up a strange situation as they bring players over to walk the red carpet.
Tomorrow crews will begin construction of the NFL Draft Red Carpet stage over the Fountains of Bellagio. Stage base build expected to go until Saturday. Then larger pieces of the stage set up will arrive next week. Lane closures on Las Vegas Blvd. in area also start tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/T7lNU1ZTXF
— Mick Akers (@mickakers) April 12, 2022
It’s a little bizarre to say the least, and it sounds like there will be a limited number of players who are planning on attending. Armando Salguero posted the list of the 21 players who, so far, are expected to be on hand in an article on Outkick.com, which are the following:
|2)||Charles Cross||OL||Mississippi State|
|5)||Ikem Ekwonu||OL||North Carolina State|
|8)||Kyle Hamilton||S||Notre Dame|
|10)||Zion Johnson||OL||Boston College|
|11)||Jermaine Johnson||DE||Florida State|
|14)||Drake London||WR||Southern California|
|16)||Chris Olave||WR||Ohio State|
|20)||Garrett Wilson||WR||Ohio State|
Most people remember last year’s night one event, which saw #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence spend the evening at home with his family, while Zach Wilson, Mac Jones and Trey Lance were all there.
Jones’ walk to the stage remains one of the most memorable, given that his expression went from happiness to all business as he made his way to the commissioner. He ended up with the best first year out of everyone and will be looking to build on that after a busy offseason where he’s continued preparing for his sophomore season.
For those who missed last year’s big moment:
"With the 15th pick in the 2021 #NFLDraft, the 6X World Champion New England Patriots select @MacJones_10."
📺: #PatsDraft on NFLN/ESPN/ABC pic.twitter.com/juGmJ893Uj
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 30, 2021
Local NBC affiliate Channel 3 news reports that the rooms in Las Vegas are already mostly full for that weekend and the visitors are expected to pump “at least a few hundred million into the local economy.”
5) Floyd Mayweather is apparently a big fan of Antonio Brown, so much so that he’s willing to give NFL teams a reason to take a chance on the embattled receiver.
According to CBS Sports, Mayweather said that he’ll provide the team that signs Brown with $20 million if the receiver experiences any issues on or off the field.
“I think AB is really misunderstood,” said Mayweather on a recent appearance of “The Pivot” podcast. “He just wants to be treated fair. And this is for any team that’s watching right now. We’ll make them a deal: if they sign AB and AB go through the whole season, no problems at all, and then they gotta give us $20 million. But if he mess up, then we’ve gotta give them $20 million. So if any team want to match that, you know, reach out to us.”
The boxer says he’s serving as a mentor to Brown, who walked off the field and quit on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in spectacular fashion last season, stripping down to just his pants in a game against the Jets before exiting the field for what was, so far, his last appearance in an NFL game.
Whether or not he gets an opportunity seems like a longshot but if it were to happen, it looks like Mayweather is trying to give an NFL team 20 million reasons to give it a shot.
Brown had 42 receptions for 545 yards and 4 touchdowns and his absence certainly hurt the Buccaneers offense, with injuries leaving them limited in the playoffs after they went down in the Divisional round 30-27 against the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Los Angeles Rams.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2013 NFL Draft 2013 Patriots Draft 2022 Patriots Draft Aaron Dobson Antonio Brown Arizona Cardinals Bill Belichick Carolina Panthers Floyd Mayweather Indianapolis Colts Mac Jones Mack Wilson Marshall University New England Patriots Nick Sabon Stephon Gilmore Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trevor Lawrence Trey Lance University of Alabama Zach Wilson