Some news and notes for this morning:
Nagy Has High Praise for White:
NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry recently caught up with Executive Director of the Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy on Perry’s Next Pats Podcast, with Nagy giving some pretty good insight on New England Patriots second-round pick, Keion White.
White, who was a standout defensive end out of Georgia Tech, is a player that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention since being drafted, but Nagy believes that he’s an incredibly disruptive player who will certainly be one to watch in the coming months.
“They got a really versatile player, and our background with Keion goes back three or four years,” said Nagy. “We were watching a player, an Old Dominion player named Oshane Ximines, who went in the third round of the Giants, I believe Oshane is still with the Giants, and this other young guy just kept popping, flashing on the tape. Watching tape with our scouting assistants, and I’ll usually throw questions out at those guys as we watch the tape. I’m like, ‘Guys, who’s this young cat?’ And they looked up his number, and he was only like a red-shirt freshman or something at the time, or a sophomore, and it was Keion.”
“I’m like, read me the bio, like, what’s the story on this guy? Tight end the year before, and that year on tape he had 19 tackles for a loss, I think he was one of the top two or three guys in the country that year in TFLs as a first-year defensive player.”
“So what does that tell you? It tells you he can find the football, that’s for sure. And it tells you that he’s got disruptive ability behind the line of scrimmage without even looking at the tape, you can see that on paper and figure that part out. So now you fast forward to this year and we were kind of zeroed in on Keion all year and if they’re running an odd front up there, I don’t know what the plan is for him, I haven’t talked to those guys. I talked to some of those guys leading into the draft and on draft weekend, but not since they’ve taken Keion.”
“So I don’t know what the plan would be there. But he could be a jumbo outside linebacker, I mean, this guy’s played on his feet a bunch, he’s 285lbs. When I called up there in November, he was 292, so he was playing at 292/293lbs. There was a couple clips that if you follow us on Twitter, some of the draft weekend coverage of Keion, you know, he’s running 30/40 yards down the field with running backs against…the games that stick out are like Virginia, Georgia. So you’re talking about a big man that can really run. They moved him up and on the front there at Georgia Tech. I think you can reduce him inside and get some pass rush out of him, which we did Senior Bowl a bunch.”
“But the thing that I like most about him is, you know, it’s hard to win quick in the NFL like you could in college. I mean, you really have to be skilled as a pass-rusher. You’ve got to be really fast, you’ve got to be powerful, but you’re going to get stopped. That initial rush is going to get cut off. And some guys die in it, and some guys stay alive and transition to a second or third move and get some extra effort pressure, and that’s what Keion does really well.”
Nagy was then asked about who would be a comparable player, with Perry saying his colleague and former Patriot Ted Johnson felt there were some similarities to Willie McGinest. But Nagy felt that McGinest was a little different due to his length, and that White is just a unique player and “he’s a hard guy to comp.”
Given how terrific a player he was and the fact some felt White was potentially a first-round selection, it should be interesting to see how he develops heading into training camp.
Hopkins Acknowledges Patriots Interest
Arizona Cardinals receive DeAndre Hopkins received a fair amount of interest from teams looking to acquire his services this offseason, with the Patriots apparently part of the clubs that inquired.
Hopkins, who appeared on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast recently, admitted that he had heard about New England’s interest.
“I’ve heard a lot of rumors of people calling,” said Hopkins via Jordy McElroy of USA TODAY. “I would definitely say the Patriots were one of the teams. Obviously, I would say the Bills were one of those teams that I heard.”
“I didn’t have direct conversations, but just seeing what’s on Twitter, what’s on Instagram, you’ve got to pay attention to some of those things. Really, those are the only two teams that I paid attention to that I was like, ‘All right, let me see if social media’s right.’”
A deal for Hopkins didn’t materialize and various reports had Arizona’s demands a little too rich where teams, the Patriots included, weren’t willing to part with the necessary currency to get him.
For now, Hopkins is holding out of voluntary OTAs and his situation still seems to be a little questionable with the Cardinals heading into this season.
Patriots Players Talk Taylor Swift
Pop Star Taylor Swift recently performed at Gillette Stadium, with Mac Jones spotted at the show along with his girlfriend, Sophie Scott, who appeared to be a big fan.
Scott posted a photo on her Instagram of the two, with Jones decked out in a little Swift merchandise. Jones was among several players, with Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki and their significant others all on hand for the show.
The Patriots published a humorous Tweet where players were asked about their favorite Swift song, with Jones saying “The Last Great American Dynasty and Karma” were his two favorite songs, while the album Reputation was his favorite, “for what it stands for.”
Meanwhile, fellow quarterback Bailey Zappe apparently isn’t a big fan. Zappe claims the only song he knew is 22, while Kendrick Bourne, who was next to him, said, “I’m just here for support.”
Swift played three shows at Gillette Stadium, with all three ending up as sold out, while the final total attendance reportedly drew just under 200,000 fans. Saturday night’s weather was challenging, with fans and Swift having to endure wind and rain during the 3.5 hour show.
Sunday night’s show finished a little better, with temperatures in the 70s to cap off three terrific nights as Swift said via CBS that Gillette Stadium was “the most joyful place on earth.”
Let’s hope starting in September, Patriots fans agree, albeit for different reasons.
NFL Passes Flex Scheduling for Thursday Night Football
Following a vote that narrowly passed on Monday, the NFL is reportedly moving forward with having the ability to flex the Thursday night schedule heading into 2023.
However, the league appears to at least be putting some tough guardrails in place to potentially protect players, who have repeatedly voiced frustration with having to play a game on such a short turnaround.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, the restrictions include Amazon Prime, who carries the Thursday games, getting just two opportunities to flex games over the span of weeks 13-17, with teams being required to receive 28 days advance notice. Teams also reportedly cannot be forced to play two Thursday night games on the road in a season.
This comes after owners voted in March to allow teams to play on two short weeks during the season.
Players have already said that the physical toll of an NFL game is tough to recover from that quickly. As it is, Monday is a recovery day, with players needing time in massage rooms, hot tubs, cold tubs, and pool work just for the sake of starting to feel normal again.
From there, they get an off day on Tuesday, with Wednesday typically being the first day of preparation for that next week’s contest. Obviously, with a Thursday night game on tap, especially if it’s an away game, that’s just not that much time for the physical turnaround.
While the move will be frustrating, at least the league opted to force nearly a month for teams to prepare. Still, for a league so concerned about player safety, it’s another frustrating step backward as money continues to instead seemingly be the priority.
Media Access Set to Open at OTAs
The media will finally catch a glimpse of this year’s version of the Patriots on Thursday, with the club opening up access as reporters will start being able to provide a little more insight into this year’s edition of Bill Belichick’s football team.
Obviously, there will be questions when it comes to New England quarterback Mac Jones, with many hoping he’ll be able to get closer to his 2021 form. With last year’s defense evolving into one of the best in the league, even a closer performance scoring-wise would potentially put this team back in contention with an opportunity to surprise some people.
With that said, the question is also going to be how things look with newcomers Juju Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki, along with who may emerge behind Rhamondre Stevenson. It will also be nice to see where Tyquan Thornton is at, and whether or not another player at the bottom of the depth chart, perhaps Kayshon Boutte, surprising some people the way Jakobi Meyers ultimately did.
Either way, it will be nice to start getting a little bit of intel on these guys, and it appears we’re finally at least a little closer to that happening.
Posted Under: Patriots News