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.
According to published reports, here is a list of the other additions from this weekend:
- LeShun Daniels Jr. (RB, Iowa)
- Jason King (OL, Perdue)
- Harvey Langi (LB, Brigham Young)
- Josh Augusta (OT, Missouri)
- Corey Vereen (DE, Tennessee)
- Austin Carr (WR, Northwestern)
- Dwayne Thomas (CB, LSU)
- Kenny Moore (CB, Valdosta State)
- Max Rich (OT, Harvard)
- David Jones (S, Richmond)
- Damarius Travis (S, Minnesota)
- Adam Butler (DL, Vanderbilt)
- D.J. Killings (CB, Central Florida)
- Cole Croston (OT, Iowa)
- 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.