Daily Patriots News 5/6: Five Things to Know and NFL Notes
Some news and notes for this morning:
1) The more we hear about first-round pick Cole Strange, it’s hard not to get a little excited about the idea of pairing him up with center David Andrews for what should be a nasty offensive line duo in 2022.
Strange is a player who loves to punish opponents, which his former head coach, Rusty White, spoke about at length this week during an appearance on the Next Pats Podcast with NBC Boston’s Phil Perry.
White provided some terrific insight on the rookie offensive lineman, who appears to be pretty fearless and seems like he’ll bring quite a bit of attitude with him up front.
“You look at him, he’s old school, face bar face mask, no gloves, no tape, no sleeves, put your hand in the dirt, doesn’t matter if it’s hot, cold, whatever, let’s go play,” said White. “Cole probably had more personal fouls on our team than anybody just because he finished to the echo of the whistle.”
“Guys officiating don’t know how to handle that. He’s blocking a guy underneath the stands in a game we’re winning at the end of the game. He just tries to bury people. I mean, he’s aggressive, he’s physical. It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it’s a d-lineman, a linebacker, a DB.”
Obviously, that will need to get reeled in a bit at the NFL level, but the fact he plays that way is definitely great to hear. Now take into account that they already have someone similar up front in Andrews, who as we know is both a fierce competitor himself. He’s also not afraid to mix it up with opponents, especially after seeing him get into it while coming to the aid of Mac Jones at multiple points last season after the rookie took some tough shots that Andrews wasn’t pleased with.
Now all of a sudden, you pair him up with someone like Strange and Jones suddenly has two similar-minded guys who will be lining up in front of him. That’s a scary notion for opposing defenses.
White points out that Strange’s nature is just to punish opponents, which should make him fun to watch for a team that also prided itself last season on inflicting their will against opposing clubs in the ground game. For Strange, it sounds like it’s part of the game he enjoys and White said the tape shows plenty of examples of how he approaches the game.
“I mean that’s his aggressiveness, that’s his nature,” said White. “I think that goes back to him being a high school defensive player, being a really good defensive player in high school. I think he took that trait with him over to offense.”
“But that’s it. I mean, we can show you clips of him in college putting a guy in the umpire’s lap all the time, or driving him down the sidelines, or finishing a guy off that jumps in the air. He plays the game the old school way, which I think will be really great in New England. I think he’s going to fit in real well with that tough, hard-nosed personality, persona up there in that part of the country.”
2) The Patriots obviously appreciate versatility and one of the names heading into training camp that’s going to be interesting to follow is undrafted free agent, D’Eriq King.
King, who played both wide receiver and quarterback during his college years, said recently that he’s excited at the opportunity to potentially earn a role doing whatever he can here in New England.
“I’m excited, it’s good,” said King via ProFootballNetwork.com’s Aaron Wilson. “I was a little nervous because of the unknown, but I was blessed enough to sign with a team like the Patriots. I’m thankful for the opportunity. It was an exciting time. I talked to Matt Groh, and he was excited. I’m thankful for the opportunity. He told me I’ll do a little bit of everything — receiver, quarterback, running back — whatever I can do to stick.”
“Absolutely, definitely motivated to prove my worth. I’m just excited to play football, period. I’m definitely motivated, and you have a chip on your shoulder, whether you get drafted or not. I’ve played quarterback my whole life, but I think I can be a pretty good receiver as well.”
King is fairly athletic, running a 7.26 3-cone drill, and seems like he could potentially be an option as a shifty receiver, which they’re currently lacking. The only problem is that group is already fairly crowded, but he’s a multi-faceted player who would give them a little bit of everything if he’s able to stick.
The former University of Miami quarterback finished his collegiate career with an impressive resume, racking up over 11,000 all-purpose yards, including 8,378 passing yards, 2,055 rushing yards, and 520 receiving yards.
King originally started his career with the University of Houston in 2016, with injuries plaguing the early portion of his college years, including a knee injury, which sidelined him in 2018. He then decided to redshirt for the school in 2019, before eventually announcing his transfer to Miami.
3) The Patriots apparently made a move to bolster their scouting department following the draft, with the club looking to Tom Brady’s team in order to do so.
According to Inside the League’s Neil Stratten, the Patriots are hiring Tampa Bay Buccaneers area scout Tony Kinkela, with Kinkela expected to be brought in “for a more senior role” with the club.
Kinkela helps round out a group that underwent some shuffling this offseason after Josh McDaniels took the head coaching position in Las Vegas, which saw him take Dave Ziegler with him as their general manager.
New England promoted Matt Groh, who previously held the role of Director of College Scouting in 2021 to Director of Player Personnel, with Camren Williams then getting promoted from National Scout to Director of College Scouting. The move to hire Kinkela would seemingly fill that void.
Some wonder if some of the surprises we saw during the draft would indicate any issues, but it’s more likely that the team simply decided to move forward with who they had, instead deciding to wait until after the draft to fill the opening.
Kinkela had been with the Buccaneers for 11 seasons in his current role, which helped Tampa Bay win the Best Draft Award for the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s also been involved in the game for quite a while, having worked his way up from the college ranks after working in multiple capacities with Washington State, moving up from a student assistant for the team to the Director of Football Operations.
He then worked in a similar role for Tulane from 2006 to 2008 prior to getting his current job with the Buccaneers.
4) Former Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy is apparently heading west for the upcoming season, with Van Noy reportedly signing with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Van Noy showed his excitement with a post on Twitter where he played a 30-second video that showed some of his highlights and ended by showing the Chargers logo followed by the word “September”.
The veteran linebacker returned to New England in 2021 and finished with a solid season, resurrecting his career after his time in Miami seemingly didn’t go quite his way.
He finished fourth on the team in tackles last season with 66 as well as 5 sacks along with 10 passes defended. The latter stat also included an interception return for a touchdown. He also forced one fumble.
5) If Baker Mayfield was hoping that the Seattle Seahawks might be in the bidding for his services, it doesn’t sound like that’s a possibility.
Head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday during an interview with Sports Radio 950 KJR-AM that the Seahawks are happy with their current quarterback group and that he doesn’t see them making a move for another player.
“I’m not saying anything you didn’t think I was going to say, but fortunately that’s always been the way we’ve operated, and it fits again,” said Caroll. “So we’re looking. I don’t see us making a trade for anybody at all. I don’t see that happening. But we’re certainly going to continue to be open to chances to help our club, and meanwhile we’re just going to be battling and competing our tails off. There’s always possibilities, so we keep open to that.”
After trading away Russell Wilson to Denver, Seattle received Drew Lock and the club also re-signed Geno Smith this offseason. They also have third-year QB Jacob Eason, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Colts in 2020 but was waived and claimed by the Seahawks back in October.
As for Mayfield, his future remains a mystery, but it sounds like, barring any changes, heading to Seattle is at least off the table, for now.
Posted Under: Patriots News