Tag Archives: 2017 Patriots Draft

Patriots Releasing OT Tony Garcia With Non-Football Injury Designation

Steve Balestrieri
May 11, 2018 at 2:23 pm ET

Last year’s third-round draft pick and the #85 pick overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, Antonio Garcia’s brief stint with the Patriots ends on a sour note today.  The Patriots are releasing the 2nd year player from Troy with a failed non-football injury designation according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

After the Patriots moved up to draft him, he was widely viewed as the Left Tackle of the future behind Nate Solder. But his rookie season was cut short by an illness during training camp. It was later reported that Garcia suffered from blood clots in his lungs. The medication used to treat those caused him to lose a reported 45-50 pounds.

Tony Garcia in action during minicamp last June. (SBalestrieri photo)

However, he was a frequent sight in the Patriots locker room during the season and just a short time ago took to his Instagram account and announced that he was cleared to resume his football career.

Confidence was high when he reported that he was back up to his college playing weight as well and with Solder gone in Free Agency, it was thought he’d be in the mix to be the Patriots starting left tackle in 2018.

Now it must be wondered if the Patriots knew before the draft that Garcia was having medical issues again. They used their top draft pick, #23 on Isaiah Wynn who can play either tackle or guard. Wynn will compete for the starting job with LaAdrian Waddle, recently traded for Trent Brown who the team snagged from the San Francisco 49ers or Cole Croston who spent the 2017 season on the practice squad.

With Garcia being released the only remaining Patriots 2017 NFL Draft players consists of just DE Deatrich Wise and DE/OLB Derek Rivers who also missed the 2017 NFL season after tearing an ACL in joint practices with the Jaguars.

New England Patriots News 5-21, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
May 21, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here are your Sunday’s Patriots news 5-21, & AFC East Notes.

We hope that anyone out in Central Mass today will join us for the 16th Annual HMEA IncredABLE 5K to support children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Every year about 2500 people attend for either the 5K Road Race or the family walk, run or stroll. Boston 25 news anchor Gene Lavanchy hosts it with Patriots great Steve Nelson.

It is located at the EMC/Dell Franklin campus at 50 Constitution Blvd. in Franklin, Mass. And this year it will feature American strongman Bear, who will be pulling a semi-tractor trailer or a ladder truck from the fire department…maybe both.

Belichick Popular with Military: I’ve been out of the loop for the past week, spending time in Tampa Bay at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC). It was an intriguing week as the nation’s best arms deals and equipment makers were making their pitches at selling their wares to the US Special Operations Command. Some of the new equipment out there as well as virtual reality training tools is just impressive. The joint HQs in Tampa houses the Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Air Force Special Operations, and the Marine Special Operations operators under one roof.

Bill Belichick 2016 minicamp (SBalestrieri photo)

It was great meeting new faces and getting reacquainted with some old friends. Of course, everyone wanted to talk football as well as Special Ops and it is amazing the level of respect that Bill Belichick gets with the military community.

His job focus, the ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment and be an effective leader that can teach and lead by example resonates with the officers and men who do the same thing in a different profession.

Latest Tomase Piece Takes a Leap at Comparing Brady to Tom Cruise:
According to the latest piece by WEEI’s John Tomase, everything that Tom Brady does off the field for the Patriots is a disgrace. He can do nothing right and surrounds himself with snake-oil salesmen, charlatans, and thieves.

As if he couldn’t seek a lower common denominator, then Tomase has to sink to the even lower road by mentioning Deflategate with the “but he destroyed his phone, in case you forgot.”

Yeah, we get it. Tomase doesn’t even try to hide his obvious bias and he goes on a rant about Donald Trump. One must wonder if any of this drivel would’ve have been posted had Brady displayed a Hillary Clinton hat in his locker instead of the Donald’s. Probably not as in his mind, Trump is already impeached.

But the kicker is when he tries to equate Brady with the Tom Cruise Scientology bit. Saying that Brady radiates the “same creepy, culty vibe” is low even for someone who has his own crosses to bear. Tomase was the one who published the false bit about the Patriots filming the Rams walkthrough at Super Bowl XXXVI, “in case you forgot.”

It is amazing that WEEI would let a talented football writer and author like Chris Price go and keep other folks around, but maybe those writers are the ones who resonate with the creepy segments of our society.

Brady Concussion Flap, Bound to Generate Mileage With Park Ave:
A lot of talks have been centered around Gisele Bundchen’s interview this week with Charlie Rose on CBS where she said her husband, Tom Brady suffered a concussion in 2016. Bundchen set the tongues wagging with this state.

“I just have to say, as a wife, I’m a little bit — as you know, it’s not the most, like — let’s say, (it’s) an aggressive sport,” Bundchen said. “Right? Football, like, he had a concussion last year. He has concussions, pretty much. I mean, we don’t talk about it,” Bundchen added.

Tom Brady’s agent says that he suffered no concussions in 2016 despite comments from his wife. (SBalestrieri photo)

“But he does have concussions. And I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for your body to go through that kind of aggression, like, all the time. That cannot be healthy for you, right? And I’m planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things we when are like 100 (years old), I hope.”

Brady’s agent Don Yee has denied that Brady ever suffered a concussion in 2016 which the NFL has confirmed…sort of.

“We have reviewed all reports relating to Tom Brady from the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and certified athletic trainer spotters who worked at Patriots’ home and away 2016 season games as well as club injury reports that were sent to the league office,” the league said. “There are no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms.

Ah but the last statement should be interesting to Patriots fans.

“We have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

Does this sound suspiciously like another Ted Wells fiasco? Maybe, maybe not but no one in New England wants to hear that the league is investigating anything to do with the Patriots.

Pats Add Another TE, Cut One Loose:
The Patriots released TE Rob Housler after a failed injury designation. The veteran of five NFL seasons pulled his hamstring and could be brought back once he’s healthy enough to compete this spring.

Housler has played in 65 NFL games with 27 starts and has 109 receptions for 1,166 yards with a touchdown. He spent 2016 out of football but the Patriots signed him to a futures’ contract this winter.

Michael Williams was cut loose earlier last week leaving the team with Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, James O’Shaughnessy, Matt Lengel, and Jacob Hollister on the roster. The team then added TE Sam Cotton from Nebraska.  Cotton, 6’4, 250-pounds, played in 13 games, (11 starts) as a senior in 2016 and had eight catches for 87 yards.

The team also signed free agent OL James Ferentz and 4th Round draft pick Deatrich Wise Jr. Ferentz played the last two seasons with the Broncos, appearing in 21 games before being released on May 10. Wise was selected with the 131st pick overall in the draft.  The 6’5, 271-pounder, appeared in 50 games (10 starts) at Arkansas and tallied 112 tackles, 16½ sacks, six passes defensed and four forced fumbles

Blount “Doesn’t Regret a Second” of his Pats Career:
In a not-so-surprising move, LeGarrette Blount had nothing but good things to say about his time in New England with the Patriots in his introductory press conference in Philadelphia. The Eagles signed Blount to a one-year deal this week after the Patriots placed a 2nd round FA tender on him.

LeGarrette Blount leaves on good terms with the Patriots. (SBalestrieri photo)

“I’ve done everything that I wanted to do. I won two Super Bowls with (New England) and I don’t regret a single second being there because I loved it there. They have some of the best years of football that you could ever remember . . . I’m happy that I was a part of a few of those.”

The Pats had offered Blount a deal but when he balked, they quickly went to Plan B and restricted FA RB Mike Gillislee from Buffalo. Blount joins a Philly stable of backs that have plenty of quickness but needs a big power back to carry the load.

Brady, Aston Martin Sign Partnership:
Tom Brady is bringing his brand to England and endorsing an English luxury car icon. Not just any icon, but the sports car of James Bond, Aston Martin.

Brady appeared on the hood (bonnet in blighty) of a DB-11 that features a V-12 turbo engine that cranks out a healthy 600+ horsepower. And before any of you diehard fans care to plunk down the cash for an a Aston Martin, (they sell only about 1000 cars per year in the US), please note that the DB-11’s list price for a base model is over $214,800.

Tom Brady has signed a deal to endorse Aston Martin, the car of James Bond. (Aston Martin photo)

With this partnership cemented, Barbara Broccoli, the executive producer of the Bond films should ink Mr. Brady to do a cameo in the yet unnamed Bond 25 that is still in the talking stages. “Brady, Tom Brady.”

Vollmer, to No One’s Surprise, Calls it a Career:
Patriots FA right tackle has made it official, he’s retiring from the NFL after eight productive seasons with the Pats. This doesn’t come as a surprise as the German-born offensive lineman has already dropped 75 pounds from his playing weight of 320.

Vollmer was drafted in the 2nd round, 58th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. He appeared in 88 games with 80 starts but missed the entire 2016 season with hip and shoulder injuries.

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Bills Go Up Tempo in Practice, Ragland Clears Hurdle, Taylor is the Leader:
The Buffalo Bills have a new regime in place and the first thing new coach Sean McDermott saw when reviewing tape of last year’s practices was that the team needed to pick up the tempo which they’ve been doing, so far in OTAs.

LB Reggie Ragland had reconstructive surgery on his knee last year and has been cleared by the doctors for limited action and he’s happy to be back doing football like drills again. “I feel really rusty. But as the days went on I started to get more comfortable and my knee got more comfortable.” Ragland said to the Bills media.

New Buffalo Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison spent three years with QB Tyrod Taylor in Baltimore and says he’s seen the growth of the veteran QB due to his starting experience in Buffalo. However, Dennison has already pointed out that Taylor must cut down on the number of sacks that Taylor has taken, 42 just last season alone. Dennison also mentioned that the QB must learn to trust his eyes more.

“He has started to,” Dennison says. “But even then, just yesterday, we ran a concept for the first time and he took too long staring the concept down. Now he sees that on tape and says, ‘All right, I’ve got to get off that and just take what the defense gives me.’ “

Parker Healthy and Expecting Big Year in Miami:
The Miami Dolphins’ Devante Parker has missed only three games in his first two seasons in the NFL. But he’s been banged up quite a bit and now fully healthy for seemingly the first time he’s pumped for a big 2017.

“I’m tired of being hurt and not healthy for a full season,” Parker said to the media on Friday.

“Expecting a big season this year.”

The Dolphins brass has been critical of Parker’s work ethic in the past but not anymore. “He is running probably better than I’ve seen him run since I’ve been here — and a hungry DeVante Parker,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said to the Miami Herald.

“I think he has been around a lot more than last year. He is practicing hard.”

“I really think he’ll have a great year — a gigantic year for us. That would be huge,” Christensen added.

Jets Improving Locker Room Issues That “Didn’t Exist” in 2016:  New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles has said that the team didn’t have locker room issues in 2016 despite the fight between Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson.  But his actions speak differently.

And now running back Matt Forte has come out publicly stating that they team needs to start acting more as a group than individuals.

“There’s a difference between playing next to somebody and (playing) for them,” Forte said to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “I always say that to guys, like last year, when we were in the middle of the season and things weren’t going well. We were at practice and I was like, ‘Guys, everybody is out here as an individual and we’re just playing next to the guy. Do you really know that guy?’ If I’m playing next to you instead of for you, I really don’t trust you.”

Whether or not he keeps the job, QB Josh McCown has been doing the job that leaders do, building a trust factor with the offensive players and that is a big change from 2016 where incumbent starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was unsigned during the offseason and going thru a prolonged contract battle with the front office.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

New England Patriots News 5-7, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
May 7, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here are your Sunday’s Patriots news 5-7, & AFC East Notes.

Not that it will have any effect on the Patriots LS Joe Cardona, but the military did an about face on the issue on whether to allow US military service academies to pursue a professional sports career right out of school.

The Defense Department released a memo that states: “The Military Service Academies or Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs exist to develop future officers who enhance the readiness and lethality of our military services,” the memo says.

This is the second change that the Pentagon has enacted in the past two years and now the athletes graduating cannot defer their service obligations and will have to spend a minimum of two years as a military officer before heading off to the professional athletic career. This mostly affected Air Force WR Jalen Robinette who was expected to be a mid-round draft choice last weekend. Instead, he went undrafted.

Last year Cardona and Keenan Reynolds were allowed to enter the Ready Reserve or in Cardona’s case, he was assigned to the Naval Preparatory Academy in Newport, RI. Unfortunately, in Robinette’s case, he found out just hours before the NFL Draft began that he’d no longer be eligible for the deferment.

Butler Desperate to Get Paid, Not Traded:
A lot of people took a comment by CSNNE’s Mike Giardi and ran with it, in a case of 1+1 =4. Giardi, in a report on the Malcolm Butler developments this week, stated that Butler “desperately wanted to get traded to New Orleans.”

That set off a social media storm that drew the ire of a lot of fans and some of the sites that cover the team. Pump the brakes on that one folks. Butler desperately “wants to get paid” and if that is in New Orleans, New England or Timbuktu, so be it. He feels like he’s earned it and realizes that his career is as short as one play away.

Butler did the “good soldier” routine this week, [he’s been that for his entire career] and showed up for the “voluntary” off-season workouts at Gillette. It is hard to find fault with Butler and his feelings on this. Now the question is, with a lot of cap space left, do the Patriots extend him for 3-4 years and bump his pay into the $7-8 million range? It won’t be Gilmore money but could go a long way in mending fences.

Lifting the Veil on Tom Brady’s Personal Trainer, Alex Guerrero:
Julian Edelman calls him Mr. Miyagi, Danny Amendola calls him a wizard but Alex Guerrero is Tom Brady’s personal fitness guru and as much as many in the media would love to portray him as some kind of charlatan, many professional athletes have trusted their livelihoods to Guerrero including Brady, Wes Welker, and LaDainian Tomlinson.

His methods are unconventional but since Brady tore his ACL in the 2008 season opener, he’s been sold. Guerrero got him back in game shape in record time and he’s part of the TB12 clinic in Foxboro next to Gillette Stadium.

In this piece for Men’s Journal, the author who had crushed his heel in a rock climbing fall, seeks out Guerrero for treatment. It is an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at both Guerrero and the TB12 clinic. To read the entire article from Men’s Journal, click here:

Turning Tragedy into a Positive:
In a terrible, heartbreaking accident, former Ravens’ TE Todd Heap lost his daughter when he accidentally struck and killed his daughter, who would have turned 4 last week when moving his truck in their driveway.

He started the Hugs From Holly Day and the support from around the country and the NFL began. A total of 28 of the 32 NFL teams tweeted out their support for the Heap Family in their hour of need, including many of Heap’s former teammates.

Patriots “Three Games to Glory V” Released on DVD:
The Patriots are Super Bowl champions for the fifth time and their fifth in a series of behind the scenes videos “Three Games to Glory V” is now available for immediate purchase.

From the Patriots website, “fans can purchase “3 Games to Glory V” at the Patriots ProShop at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass. or online here. Blu-ray discs will be sold for $49.99 while DVDs are available for $39.99. It will also be sold via digital download.”

Digital downloads straight from I-Tunes cost $12.99. And they are the must-see films for any Patriots fan. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift idea? Free advertising from us to the Patriots…LOL. But seriously, you won’t be sorry.

Kraft Unloads on Other Owners ‘Envy and Jealously’ in Deflategate Rant:
Patriots owner Robert Kraft ire was directed at his fellow owners this week rather than Roger Goodell.  He called the Deflategate investigation and punishment “nonsense and foolishness” and vowed to never forget, calling out his fellow owners.

“Envy and jealousy are incurable diseases”, Kraft said via an interview on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” in an interview with Andrea Kremer via USA TODAY. “I’m going into my 24th season as an owner. I’m passionate about owning a football team in my hometown.”

“If I hadn’t won, I would be so angry at our folks and thinking about what we’d have to do [to win a title]. So, our competitors, I understand how they brought pressure on the league office to be very strong and [lobbied] not to compromise on an issue that was nonsense and foolishness.”

CBS Sports, “Patriots Won Draft Before It Even Began”:
An interesting piece concerning the Patriots was written by Will Brinson this week as to their approach to the 2017 NFL Draft. Brinson thought that Bill Belichick had done a great job before the draft had even begun.

The Pats strolled into the NFL Draft late in the second day, not even making a pick until the third round. But don’t let that fool you into believing that Belichick and Co. weren’t active. They just took a different approach to “drafting” players, which might become a more common thing in a copycat league. It might be Moneyball, if indeed acquiring talented young veterans for upcoming draft choices is an inefficiency.

That contrasts sharply with the way that some media members from Boston lambasted Belichick’s approach. But that isn’t anything new there. Brinson’s entire piece can be read here:

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Bills Decline 5th Year Option on Watkins, Interview Brown for GM:
The Buffalo Bills have declined the 5th year option on talented but oft-injured Sammy Watkins which may open the door for him to play his way right out of Buffalo.

The Bills gave up a lot to draft Watkins, but he’s battled injuries his entire career. Now they’re basically daring him to stay healthy and have the kind of monster season that was forecast for him since he entered the league. He could still conceivably return to Buffalo in 2018, but the cost will be much higher.

The Bills are also interviewing former Patriots scouting assistant Trey Brown for the vacant GM job. Brown spent four years with New England and Philly as a scout before becoming the Eagles Director of College Scouting in 2016.

Gase Believes Miami is Better Now, In the 2nd Year of his System:
The Miami Dolphins made some nice moves in the draft and during free agency but as for Adam Gase, his belief that the Dolphins are better now than a year ago stems from a different reason.

In a piece by Armando Salguero for the Miami Herald Gase spelled it out for the media.

“But I think the different feel for myself and a lot of the guys in the building — even the players — is you know our routine a little bit. And there’s a little different swagger about what our guys have right now in a positive way. There’s no indecision about what they’re supposed to do, how they’re supposed to do it, what they’re responsible for. Guys can get from Point A to Point B kind of quick. There’s no issue with gray in our building right now. Guys are wired in to what we want to do. That’s not what you want to hear, but there’s a different feel with what we’ve got going on right now, day in and day out.”

This is just the kind of small, under the radar reason why it makes you think that the Dolphins got it right this time.

ArDarius Stewart Brings “Awesomeness” to the Jets:
The New York Jets drafted the talented ArDarius Stewart from Alabama with the 82nd pick in the 3rd Round of the NFL Draft last weekend. And the rookie certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of confidence. When he conducted a conference call with the Jets media, he didn’t hold back.

“I’m bringing a load of, you know, awesomeness,” Stewart said. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Coach Todd Bowles gushed about Stewart as well. “When I went to see him work out, his route running was a lot better than it showed on film because they only did certain things,” Bowles said. “He’s tough, he brings a lot of attitude to the game and he plays it the right way. We really thought he could help us.”

The Jets will be looking for Stewart to take a big role this season. With Brandon Marshall gone and Eric Decker trying to come back from two serious injuries, the opportunities will be there for Stewart to have a big impact in 2017.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Will Any UDFA Players Make the Patriots? Hollister, Langi Good Candidates

Steve Balestrieri
May 6, 2017 at 9:06 am ET

There always seems to be at least one undrafted free agent [UDFA] that makes the Patriots 53-man roster out of training camp. Bill Belichick has never been one to care where a player was drafted only that he can play, is coachable and one that football is very important to.

This year’s undrafted rookie free agent crop has [for now], 19 names on it. While these players are yet to take the field with the veterans in any kind of workout yet, there are a few names that jump off the page. Among them are tight end Jacob Hollister and LB Harvey Langi.

Hollister is a tight end but at 6’4, 239-pounds he’s more of a “move” or a “U” type tight end than the inline or “Y” tight end like Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen. While a willing blocker in the run game, he doesn’t have the strength or the punch to drive defensive linemen back. He won’t line up inline much in short yardage.

Hollister, as one would expect of move tight end has good speed and athleticism. He logged a 4.64-second time in the 40-yard dash with a 36 1/2-inch vertical leap, a 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump, a 4.34-second short shuttle and a 7.12-second time in the all-important 3-cone drill that the Patriots really like to evaluate their receivers.

Hollister caught 32 passes for Wyoming in his senior season, good for 515 yards and seven touchdowns. He showed an ability to stretch the seams of the defense. Hollister was targeted 11 times in 2016 where the ball was 20 yards or more in the air. He caught seven of those for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

He runs nice fluid routes, can move around the formation to create mismatches against linebackers and is a threat to stretch the field attacking the seams. He can create some separation and has good ball skills. Wyoming at times lined him up in the backfield as an H-Back. His value will lie in that the Patriots when they go with a two-tight end set with him and Gronkowski, is that they’ll be dictating to the defense. If they play a base look, he’d be isolated on a linebacker. In a sub-package look, Hollister would have single coverage on a safety.

With some work on his run blocking and gaining the trust of Tom Brady in the passing game, Hollister could be a steal. The Patriots gave him $90,000 in guaranteed money. Which is high for an UDFA.

His highlight film can be seen here:

Langi was a Swiss Army knife for BYU where he transferred from Utah after taking two years off to complete his two-year mission to fulfill his Mormon LDS obligation. So he’s an older [25] prospect. Part of his versatility was possibly the reason that he fell in the draft right out of the seven rounds.

He was effective at inside linebacker but the team switched their defense up and tried him as a 4-3 edge rusher, something he wasn’t particularly suited for. He is listed at 6’2, 251 pounds but he’ll probably ditch 5-10 pounds and lineup full-time as a linebacker in the Patriots scheme which should help his mobility.

He’s at his best when he’s playing a downhill, physical style of football and plays the run extremely well. The Patriots will probably play him inside or on the strong side. While not great in coverage, he shows good depth in his drops. He can easily play in the short-to-intermediate parts of the field.

Langi moves well and has good athleticism running a 7:00 in the 3-cone drill. He’s a guy that can back up Hightower at the Mike or line up at the SAM. He’s a good blitzer up the A-gaps and that is a better look for him than on the edge.

The Patriots gave him the most guaranteed money of their UDFAs with $115,000 fully insured so they obviously think he can contribute this season. He’ll be an immediate contributor on Special Teams and become part of the rotation at linebacker.

His highlight film can be seen here:

Hollister and Langi aren’t the only two who could land on the roster this season. One never knows how things play out and how many injuries occur in minicamp and training camp. But in looking for a couple of guys who can crack the 53-man roster in early May? These two should be at the head of the list.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Daily Notebook: Tuesday Patriots News and Notes 5/2

Ian Logue
May 2, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

We’re on to Tuesday, and here’s a quick look at today’s top stories.

Rivers Has Local Ties – Much was made of the fact the Patriots took Derek Rivers out of a small school like Youngstown (Ohio) State University in the third-round this past weekend, but looking closer, the defensive end also is a native New Englander with local ties.

He was actually born in Augusta, Maine, although he was raised in North Carolina.  But this weekend his mom, Mary Leinonen, sat with her son and their family, many of whom still live in New England, while they held a draft party in South Carolina.  According to the Kennebec Sentinal, as Rivers finished without having been drafted in the second round, he apparently began getting nervous.

However, it wasn’t long before the phone eventually rang and when his mom found out where he was headed, she was excited.

“He whispered to me, ‘Patriots,’ and I did a little jig,” she told the newspaper.

But for the next few minutes, they reportedly managed to hold it together in front of their family, who was unaware of the call and got to experience the jubilation of his selection as his name came across the television.

“I didn’t really care what team he went to. He didn’t care, either, he just wanted the chance,” Leinonen said. “The Patriots was a nice surprise. I went to a (Patriots) game when I was 7 and Steve Grogan was the quarterback.”

Now that Rivers has realized his dream, hopefully the next trip to Foxboro will be even more memorable for Leinonen.

For now, Rivers will take his next step this weekend when mini-camp begins.

Belichick Got Right to the Point With Wise Jr. – Watching the video on Patriots.com of what went on when the Patriots made the selection of Deatrich Wise Jr. in round four over the weekend showed that Bill Belichick doesn’t mince words and gets right to the point when it comes to telling a player they’re about to become a Patriot.

When it came to selecting Wise Jr., it was Berj Najarian, who is listed as director of football/head coach administration on his Linkedin page, who was the one who made the initial call to get Wise Jr. on the phone.  From there it was Belichick, looking relaxed while dressed in khaki shorts and a blue buttoned down short-sleeved shirt, who stood up and walked across the room with a focused look on his face to take the phone from Najarian to speak to the rookie.

There was a quick greeting by Belichick after Najarian handed him the phone, and from there, the Patriots head coach delivered the news.

“We’re about ready to make you a Patriot here,” said Belichick.  “Houston, they’re going to pick, then we’re going to select you.  So, congratulations.”

Done.

On the other end, Wise Jr. said the whole experience was definitely one he won’t forget.

“It was exciting,” said Wise Jr.  “Once I got that phone call it got real quiet, and then once my name went across the screen my family, my girlfriend, my friends around me just jumped for joy. It was a very joyful moment.”

Should Wise Jr. go on to have a terrific career in the NFL, it’s funny how that moment was the opening line in what the Arkansas standout is likely hoping will be a book with many chapters.  With rookie mini camp looming and OTAs not far behind, he’ll be getting started with that next step soon enough.


Wise Jr. seems to have the right attitude and should fit in well.

Wise Jr. Fit the Mold in Arkansas – Another note on Wise Jr. that was pretty interesting.  According to SECCountry.com, it’s worth noting that Wise joined Jeremy Sprinkle as a player who was just a 3-star recruit, which left them with limited options since neither player was highly-touted.

But after ending up in Arkansas, despite the doubters, it was the hard work and dedication that really impressed his coaches, including head coach Bret Bielema, who said that having guys who are hard workers far eclipses having four or five star recruits.

“I believe in development,” Bielema said last spring via SECCountry.com. “We’re never going to have a sexy roster of 5-stars or 4-star (recruits). We’ve got a bunch of guys that like to go to work every day and want to develop.”

It’s a trait that, as we know, Bill Belichick looks for as well, which will also hopefully make Wise Jr. a good fit here in New England.


Fans haven’t even gotten to see Cooks in action in New England yet.

King Calls Cooks Deal the “Trade of the Draft” – While the Patriots only came away with four draft picks this weekend, it’s hard not to remember that one of the deals they made could become one of the biggest of the offseason, especially when the time comes for fans to get a glimpse of what the pairing of Tom Brady and former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks will look like.

In his Monday Morning Quarterback piece, MMQB writer Peter King touched on the topic and called the acquisition of Cooks from New Orleans for the 32 overall pick the “Trade of the Draft”.

“Cooks is 23, has averaged 72 catches a year in his first three NFL seasons, plays tougher than he looks, and will play for the next two years for a total of $10 million. What’s not to like?” wrote King.  “And if you’re the Saints, you feel you’ve gotten in Ryan Ramczyk a guy who’s likely going to be a starting tackle for you soon—maybe this year—and it’s unlikely they’d have signed Cooks long-term after 2018. So from each team’s perspective, it’s a good deal.”

As for the Patriots, the first media sessions will be coming soon when the team opens up sessions on a limited basis.

First-round talent tends to sometimes be a gamble and the move for Cooks is certainly less risky than taking a chance on an unknown player.  It remains as a great move by a Patriots team that is now that much deeper with him on the roster and hopefully if all goes well, he’ll also make their offense that much better.

Three Games to Glory V is Now Available! – One of the best parts about when New England wins a championship is the fact that the team releases a video with plenty of behind the scenes footage, along with unique film from NFL Films documenting what was certainly an incredible playoff run.

Now that it’s finally May 2nd, today happens to be the day that the fifth edition of Three Games to Glory is released, commemorating New England’s Super Bowl championship run and documenting the journey through the playoffs through their historic come-from-behind win over the Falcons.

It’s finally available, and the team has been teasing the video for a while now and if you’ve seen any of the footage, it definitely brings back chills experiencing some of the terrific moments from the 2016 postseason all over again.

Coming off of Draft Weekend, the timing is certainly perfect as most of us are already fired up for the upcoming season. has it on sale on both DVD and BluRay and you can also support our own Miguel Benzan’s charity by selecting “Bread of Life” through Amazon.com’s smile program when you order.

Daily Notebook: Monday Patriots News and Notes 5/1

Ian Logue
May 1, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

After a busy weekend, here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:

Quality over Quantity In the 2017 Draft For the Patriots – The NFL Draft is typically one of the biggest weekends of the year for most Patriots fans who follow it intently, but given how few picks New England finished with in terms of selections (4), it will certainly go down as one of the most memorable due to how few they walked away with.

As Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out on Sunday the four selections tied the 1995 San Francisco 49ers for the fewest draft picks by a defending Super Bowl champion, but New England seemingly made the most of the players they came away with.

They grabbed two offensive linemen and two defensive ends this weekend, infusing youth into two important positions for this team.

In Antonio Garcia and Conor McDermott the Patriots have two young players they can begin grooming for the tackle position on the offensive line, whether it’s for an eventual replacement for Nate Solder or simply to add quality depth in case of injury to either Solder or Marcus Cannon.  Protecting Brady is obviously a priority as the quarterback turns 40 and after losing right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who seems appears poised to retire, it’s a wise move for a team that is lacking depth behind their two starters.

In Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise Jr. the Patriots have two young defensive ends to help boost their pass rush, which is certainly good news for a team that has had their share of trouble getting to the quarterback.  Rob Ninkovich has played a lot of snaps over his career and at 33 may not have many seasons left, so developing players behind him is a good move.  Should either player emerge into a role player in 2017, it will only be that much better.

Overall, it’s not a bad draft for a team that was already in good shape thanks to what has been a pretty strong offseason. Thanks to this weekend, they’ve grabbed some terrific young pieces for the future, which if they pan out, will be another reminder of the quality of work that continues to be done by Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio and New England’s scouting department.


Conor McDermott brings versatility to New England.

McDermott Has Versatility, NFL Pedigree Working For Him – While we spotlighted Wise Jr. on Sunday and the fact his father is a former NFL player, recently drafted tackle Conor McDermott also falls into that category.

His brother, Kevin, is a long-snapper for the Vikings, which is a skill that McDermott claims is also in his arsenal, as well as the fact he’s had plenty of experience as a tight end.

“I used to long snap in high school,” said McDermott during his conference call on Saturday.  “And I did some back up during my college career.”

He also said that he was a tight end for his entire life prior to moving over to tackle in college.

“I was a tight end my whole life and then when I got to UCLA they moved me right to tackle, and then I did some tackle-tight end formations and some goal line and short-yardage for my first two years before I became a full-time left-tackle starter,” he said.

McDermott went on to say that he’s familiar with Nate Solder after having studied him in college, and he admitted he’s “been a fan of his for a while”.  He also went on to say he’s looking forward to meeting him.

The rookie also said that there’s some good chemistry between he and fellow draft pick Antonio Garcia, with the two having spent time working together at the Senior Bowl.

“We spent a good amount of time together,” said McDermott. “We were on the same team and practiced together every day, watched film together in meetings. He’s just a great guy. I’m happy for him and excited to work together.”

Needless to say, he sounds like a great fit and another great addition to the defending champs.

Patriots Add 17 Undrafted Free Agents – One part of the offseason that has become more of a focus in recent years has been keeping an eye on undrafted free agents, which has been fun to watch thanks to the players who have emerged from those ranks over the years for the Patriots.

New England loaded up with 17 undrafted players, although there may be changes still yet to come prior to when camp opens in a couple of months due to the roster shuffling that will likely take place between now and then.

One interesting story is the fact New England added a pair of twin brothers to the mix in Cody Hollister (WR, Arkansas) and Jacob Hollister (TE, Wyoming), which will likely be a fun story to follow later this summer as the two were recently profiled by FoxSports.com.

I was such a cute baby (on the right haha)

A post shared by Cody Hollister (@codyhollister) on

According to published reports, here is a list of the other additions from this weekend:

  1. LeShun Daniels Jr. (RB, Iowa)
  2. Jason King (OL, Perdue)
  3. Harvey Langi (LB, Brigham Young)
  4. Josh Augusta (OT, Missouri)
  5. Corey Vereen (DE, Tennessee)
  6. Austin Carr (WR, Northwestern)
  7. Dwayne Thomas (CB, LSU)
  8. Kenny Moore (CB, Valdosta State)
  9. Max Rich (OT, Harvard)
  10. David Jones (S, Richmond)
  11. Damarius Travis (S, Minnesota)
  12. Adam Butler (DL, Vanderbilt)
  13. D.J. Killings (CB, Central Florida)
  14. Cole Croston (OT, Iowa)
  15. Jason Thompson (S, Utah)

As for who will be the next Malcolm Butler (2014), David Andrews (2015) or Ryan Allen (2013), among plenty of other past standouts, that remains to be seen.  But if history is any indication, it will certainly be an area to keep an eye on during training camp to see if any one of these players ends up being this year’s surprise heading into this season.


Kirk Minihane of WEEI called Edelman “Essentially Brain Dead” Friday.

WEEI’s Minihane: Edelman a “Dummy” and “Essentially Brain Dead”, Brady’s Charity “Shady” – If you listened to WEEI on Friday, Kirk Minihane of “Kirk and Callahan” dropped some disturbing comments about Julian Edelman along with questionable remarks toward quarterback Tom Brady.

The topic of discussion came about surrounding the fact Brady and Edelman are taking part in an upcoming “Wealth and Success Summit” on June 8th in Boston with motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

While Minihane and Callahan disagreed with the two players being part of the event, Minihane went over the top with his criticism and had choice words in particular for Edelman.

“What I would say is, again, it gives you an insight into how empty Brady is,” said Minihane of the fact the quarterback is appearing at the event.

“He’s not empty, just because he has different priorities than you…” responded Callahan.

“If you think Tony Robbins, that crap he’s peddling is real, you are as dumb as the day is long,” said Minihane to Callahan.  “That’s what I would say.”

From there they played a clip from one of Robbins’ appearances, and that only infuriated Minhane further, which sparked one of his usual rants.

“I mean, really, and Brady will be sitting there with his notebook taking notes while this idiot [referring to Robbins] talks and slings his crap,” said Minihane.

“Julian Edelman, who is essentially brain-dead,” Minihane continued, “really is going to sit there and … ”

“Julian Edelman?” responded Callahan.  “You’re going to pay $6000 to hear Julian Edelman? …”

“Talk?” barked Minihane.  “I don’t want to listen to him talk here at the station for free every week.”

If you listen to Minihane with any regularity, you’ll notice a pattern of ripping someone, and then coming back with “I like that person … “.  He took same approach with Brady as the segment continued.

“So Brady has only so much time, according to Gerry [Callahan], for Best Buddies but he can take a day with Anthony Robbins, a full day, right?  O.K., just want to get that straight,” said Minihane.

“This is frightening, this seriously creeps me out.  I like Brady, he’s a nice guy, our interactions with him, he’s always been a good guy with us.  I know he does a lot of charity work.  I like the guy.  I’m actually worried about him.  I want to go there, I’ll pay the $6000, I’m going to throw a net over Brady and bring him somewhere and try and bring him back to reality because his mind has snapped.  It’s snapped, he’s snapped.”

“This is so below Brady.  This is so minor league.  This is Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback ever, the greatest football player who ever lived, a king in this town, he’s married to Gisele [Bundchen], the two of them are worth about $600 million and he’s going to schlepp to some hotel with Anthony Robbins and that dummy, Edelman?  For this talk?  Am I the only one who thinks this is utter madness?  Evidently.”

Speaking about Minihane’s praise for Brady’s charity work, he was singing a different tune earlier in the week.  Minihane went after the quarterback following the Globe (a newspaper he’s openly admitted he can’t stand and has a strong dislike for editor Joe Sullivan) releasing the piece about Brady’s charity, Best Buddies, last weekend, questioning where the money was being allocated.  Minihane surprisingly took the newspaper’s side and claimed Brady and the charity weren’t being transparent.


Minihane accused Brady of not being transparent with his charity last week using the word “shady.”

“So a charity that never disclosed it, gives $500,000 a year for his charity and what Brady does with it is things like, $250,000, if you donate to Best Buddies, there’s a chance that money is going to his high school in San Mateo, they get $250,000,” said Minihane.  “If you give Best Buddies $100, if you’re a guy making $35,000 a year, you give Best Buddies $100 because you love Brady, just know, there’s a chance it’s going to Santa Monica Catholic Community, or the TB12 Foundation, a charity formed by Brady in 2015 to support clients of his Foxboro-based TB12 Fitness and Nutrition company.  That’s in the world of shady to me right there.  I’ll say it.”

“Ohio State University, $50,000, in honor of Ed Razek, that’s where your money may be going, a former Victoria Secret executive who is said to have helped launch Brady’s romance with Gisele, in 2006.  $50,000 Michigan, obviously Dana Farber, Mission of Hope Haiti, Navy Seal Foundation, a charity for Tom Martinez, Brady’s coach who died five years ago. $30,000 went to a nursing facility in Minnesota that cared for Brady’s grandfather before he died in 2016.”

He then argued with Mut Mutnanski about if giving to the nursing facility was a good cause (again, Brady’s grandfather was cared for there which obviously holds a special place in the heart of the quarterback) and proceeded to argue with Mutnanski about whether or not Brady’s own foundation was also good cause.

“You think the TB12 Foundation is a good cause?” barked Minihane.  “Based on what?”

From there, Minihane claimed Brady and Best Buddies weren’t being transparent about where the money was going, which Mutnanski tried in vain to explain to him that the information is there if Minihane just “does the work” and looks for it, which it is.  Co-host Gerry Callahan also tried to reason with him, but failed as well.

Minihane, who joined the show a few years ago and has injected some life back into WEEI’s morning show, has played an important part in the station taking back the lead in the ratings over 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich.  But some of his bizarre rants seemingly are said (one can only hope) without him really thinking them through and certainly must test the incredible patience shown by his co-host, along with the two terrific producers WEEI has for that show in Chris Curtis and Ken Laird.

Brady and Edelman both appear weekly on the radio station during the regular season, with Brady being the only one of the two who conducts a weekly interview with Kirk & Callahan’s show every Monday during the season.  Edelman usually appears in the afternoon with Ordway, Merloni and Fauria and since WEEI owns the rights to Patriots Monday, that’s the primary reason why those two players appear on there each week.

Needless to say it would be great if Minihane could tone it down and stick to the things he does really well, like interviews like these, instead of these rants that likely wouldn’t be received positively with either player if they were made aware of them.

It’s been a rough road for Minihane, who has faced multiple suspensions over the years and last season cost the station weekly interviews with Mike Lombardi and has alienated others.  One would believe that costing the station a weekly interview with a player like Brady – or Edelman for that matter – likely wouldn’t be something that would go over too well with the station.

Brady’s said in the past he’s a very positive person and tries to avoid negative situations.  Despite that, it’s safe to say the veteran quarterback wouldn’t be feeling overly positive about Minihane’s comments.  Knowing Minihane, who already predicted Brady’s impending demise two seasons ago, there will most likely be more to come.

New England Patriots News 4-30, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
April 30, 2017 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here are your Sunday’s Patriots news 4-30, & AFC East Notes.

Not that anyone really cares but on Saturday, Deflategate actually ended. The Patriots had to cede their 4th round draft pick. But if the NFL’s arbitrary enforcement of an equipment violation’s intent was to punish New England, think about this. During the timeline of Deflategate, New England was 31-7 with two Super Bowl wins…. Back to the drawing board guys.

With the draft complete, the Patriots were so deep at so many positions, they drafted only OL and DL. That is a good problem to have.

We mentioned this before here, but nobody does a better job of evaluating talent than the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. Between his work on the Combine and then the Draft, he’s head and shoulders above everyone else. I’d be surprised if someone doesn’t try to bring him on board a franchise soon as a talent evaluator.

Draft Had the Future in Mind: The Patriots added some depth and potential impact players in the 2017 NFL Draft but this seemed to be a draft with the focus clearly on 2018 and beyond. While players such as top pick Derek Rivers will be looked at to contribute this season, he and OT Antonio Garcia were selected clearly with the future in mind. Deatrich Wise will be looked to be a sub-package player initially.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. With a roster as loaded as New England’s is and fresh off another Super Bowl victory, there aren’t a ton of open starting positions available. And they used some of their draft capital on free agent player, which will segue right into this…

Belichick, Patriots Go for Known Commodity, Value over Draft Picks:
We’ve repeated this time and again but it bears repeating. While many fans and some of the talking heads in the media lament the lack of draft picks for the Patriots, Bill Belichick doesn’t

“Obviously, we’ve been watching a lot of picks go by, but I feel like overall our opportunity in this draft started a couple of months ago, Belichick said.

“The four players that we acquired already are also part of the draft process, Belichick added.”

“Hopefully we’ve been able to improve our team, become more competitive. That’s the ultimate goal, he said.”

One needn’t have to read the tea leaves to see that Belichick considers the players traded for draft picks in free agency as draft capital. So, he deems Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy as the team’s first and second-round picks. Dwayne Allen as a fourth rounder and Mike Gillislee as a fifth-round pick.

In trading for established pro players, Belichick has a known commodity in making the deals. Cooks, for example, has been a very productive receiver in the NFL and there’s no reason to believe that at just 23 years old, he won’t continue to grow as a player.

The draft is a crap shoot because no one really knows how a player will turn out once he turns professional. How many “can’t miss” prospects end up busting? It is an inexact science, something Belichick has said numerous times. They know Cooks, Ealy, Allen, and Gillislee can produce in the NFL because they already have. Albeit, some at different levels than the others but with Belichick, he will place these players in a position to succeed, knowing that they are professionals already.

Now take a second look at the Patriots ‘draft’ haul and it looks much different.
1st Round – Brandon Cooks, WR, Trade with New Orleans
2nd Round – Kony Ealy, DE, Trade with Carolina
3rd Round – Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State
3rd Round – Antonio Garcia, T, Troy
4th Round – Dwayne Allen, TE, Trade with Indy
4th Round – Deatrich Wise, DE, Arkansas
5th Round – Mike Gillislee, RB, RFA Buffalo
5th Round – James O’Shaughnessy, TE, Trade KC
6th Round – Connor McDermott T, UCLA

Now courtesy of another lookover of the haul and it seems like a much deeper draft class, doesn’t it?

Garoppolo and Butler Stay Put, Despite All the Trade Rumors:
After much talk dedicated to the “what if” category of New England trading QB Jimmy Garoppolo and CB Malcolm Butler this offseason, both remain here and likely will for at least the 2014 season.

There were rumors that the Patriots rebuffed a Cleveland Browns trade offer on Thursday night. Whether the Browns didn’t offer enough compensation or not remains unseen but supposedly New England told the Browns that Garoppolo was not up for grabs.

Cleveland eventually took a QB in the draft, DeShone Kizer from Notre Dame with the 52nd pick, so that should put the Jimmy G. rumors to rest now.

Butler too was subject to many trade rumors to New Orleans. Although the Saints said they were impressed with him, they didn’t swing a deal for him since they would have had to give the Patriots compensation of a first-round pick and then some and subsequently signed him to a long-term contract.

Both remain on the roster and should remain there for at least the 2017 season. With no CB taken, Butler, Stephon Gilmore, and Eric Rowe seem to be the top three CBs in the rotation. Butler may see some time in the slot depending on the matchups. Cyrus Jones is in the mix too.

Rivers on Meeting Belichick on Pre-Draft Meeting, “It was Awesome”:
Top Patriots draft pick Derek Rivers

“It was awesome, man,” Rivers said to the media via conference call. “I mean, we talked ball. I love coach Belichick. I love everything he is and what he stands for and how he coaches his demeanor. I mean, he’s an awesome dude. I could learn a lot from him.”

“Man, it’s awesome,” he said when asked about coming to New England. “I’m super excited. I mean, there’s just so much I can learn from those guys that were there, as far as just the commitment that those guys have, the type of coaching that’s in that locker room.”

“I’m just ready to learn from those guys and get better with those guys.”

UDFA Signings By the Patriots:
As soon as the draft was complete, the undrafted players immediately began getting interest from teams. The Patriots have already either signed or are bringing in several players on a tryout basis. Those already linked to New England include:
DT Josh Augusta, Missouri
LB Harvey Langi, BYU
WR Austin Carr, Northwestern
S Jason Thompson, Utah
G Jason King, Purdue
TE Jacob Hollister, Wyoming
CB Kenny Moore, Valdosta State
DE Corey Vereen, Tennessee
S David Jones, Richmond
DT Adam Butler, Vanderbilt
RB Leshun Daniels Jr., Iowa
OT Cole Croston, Iowa
OT Max Rich, Harvard
S Damarius Travis, Minnesota
CB D.J. Killings, Central Florida
DE Adam Butler, Vanderbilt

There will be plenty of comings and goings on this list, so stay tuned…

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Bills Address Needs and Move up and Down the Board:
The Buffalo Bills had needs at CB, and WR with the loss of Stephon Gilmore and Robert Woods. Their first two picks in the draft definitely met those.

LSU CB Tre’Davious White is a perfect fit for the Bills zone defense and he’s considered a solid locker room presence as well as a player. He will compete for an immediate role as a starter.

Zay Jones, the WR from East Carolina gives Buffalo a solid #2 WR that will provide the receptions to move the chains. He was an incredibly productive receiver with 399 career receptions in college.

I loved the pick of BC LB Matt Milano, who flies all over the field and will play special teams. But moving up for RT Dion Dawkins? Seemed like a reach and there wasn’t really a need to move up. Time will tell. The pick of QB Nathan Peterman from Pittsburgh was another nice move. He’ll push Cardale Jones for a roster spot.

Miami Grabs Nice Edge Rusher in Harris:
The Miami Dolphins first pick in the draft was Missouri DE Charles Harris, who we really liked in the pre-draft process. He fits an obvious need and should fit right in with the Dolphins defense.

Another excellent pick in Round 2 was Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillian. He filled a position of need at ILB where the team will eventually decide to replace Koa Misi. He’s solid, and an excellent player against the run.

Round 3 CB Cordrea Tankersley from Clemson gives them the length they needed at the position. He should compete for reps on Day 1. Isaac Assiata was another good pick. The OL was a place the Dolphins needed to upgrade and he’s a good choice. An excellent run blocker, he’ll need to work on his pass protection. A very good draft for the Dolphins.

Jets Snag Two Safeties Early:
The New York Jets double-dipped at the safety position with two good selections who fell right into their lap at the #6 and #39 positions respectively with Jamal Adams from LSU and Marcus Maye from Florida. The Jets had an obvious need there and those two should step right in and compete.

They then double-dipped at WR with Ar’Darrius Stewart and Chad Hansen but their sleeper pick is Jordan Leggett, TE from Clemson who has the tools to be a very good one in the NFL. But the biggest question still isn’t answered. Who is going to be the QB?

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

 

Patriots Make Trades, Select DE and OT Friday Night

Ian Logue
April 28, 2017 at 11:34 pm ET

It was quite a wait for anyone watching Friday night’s coverage of Rounds Two and Three of the 2017 NFL Draft, with fans in New England forced to wait a little longer after Bill Belichick did Belicick-like things on draft night.

The Patriots didn’t have a second round pick and just as it seemed the they were poised to make their first selection of the night, Belichick traded out of the 72nd overall spot with Tennessee, shipping off a 6th-round pick along with their selection while picking up a 4th-round pick.  They essentially moved back 11 spots with the trade with the Titans, who selected Western Kentucky receiver Tawaun Taylor with New England’s #72 pick.

When the Patriots did finally get back on the clock at 10:25pm ET Friday night, former Patriot Andre Tippett came out and announced the selection, with New England going with Youngstown State defensive end Derek Rivers with their first pick of 2017.  Prior to the selection, Mike Reiss predicted a “line of scrimmage” pick, and Rivers certainly looks like one who will make some noise up front.

Here’s a look at Tippet announcing Rivers’ selection:

Rivers finished with 16 sacks in 2016, which was second most in the nation for the 6’4″, 248-pound player.

Overall, Rivers is a solid addition and another young player who should hopefully develop well along with fellow Patriot, Trey Flowers.  He was also just named 2017 Youngstown Scholar-Athletes of the Year Thursday Night along with track and field standout Jaynee Corbett.

The Patriots then traded up with the Lions from the #96 overall spot to #85 and grabbed offensive tackle Antonio Garcia out of Troy.


Garcia adds talent to New England’s offensive line.

In Garcia, New England added a key player to their offensive line, filling a need at the tackle position after the team released Sebastian Vollmer last month following an incredible tenure by Vollmer with the club. The 6’6″, 302 pound tackle finished his career having played in 44 games over his collegiate career, including 13 in his final season in 2016.

His former school Tweeted out the fact that the rookie is the highest pick ever drafted out of his university.

His school also pointed out that after 900 snaps, he never gave up a sack.

It appears to be a great move by the Patriots who obviously wanted him, giving up their 96th and 124th overall selection in the move.

Garcia said back in March that he was looking forward to the draft, and he was excited for the next step.

“You hear some of everything from everybody,” Garcia said of the whispers of potential teams via USA TODAY. “Anything can happen on draft day, so I’m just taking it one day at a time and just making sure I’m in shape.”

And now he’s a Patriot.