Musket Blasts: Patriots and Draft Links, 7/15

Devin McCourty Patriots CB

Patriots fans want to see this type of Devin McCourty all year long. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Come back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I choose my five favorite New England Patriots and NFL Draft links to share. Feel free to submit your own links in the comments.

The “Summer of Gronk” is over. (Boston Globe)

Last week in this space we gave deserved kudos to the Gronkowski family for donating equipment, money, and time for a workout area at a Buffalo area facility for young people dealing with addiction. This week, we’re going to talk about Rob Gronkowski again, though perhaps in not so positive a way.

A new deal for Wes Welker now a “Hail Mary.” (ESPN Boston)

Franchise-tagged players who don’t reach an extension by Monday’s deadline have to play the 2012 season under their one-year tender. For Welker, that’s a $9.5 million fully guaranteed deal, which he’s already signed. The sides then couldn’t finalize an extension until after the 2012 season, when Welker would be scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

Matt Barkley was among 25 attendees at the Manning Passing Academy. (

With the 2012 Manning Passing Academy getting under way this weekend we’ve been scrambling to put together a list of the participants for this years event.

A Jets blogger had the Patriots picking 32nd in his 2013 NFL Mock Draft. (

If the Jaguars are picking first in the draft, it will be because Blaine Gabbert has all but failed as the Jaguars’ starter. It will certainly be interesting to see who winds up being the top passer this year, but Thomas has Cam Newton-like physical traits that could push him up to number one.

Devin McCourty looks to be 100% coming in to training camp. (

There was some question last year as to whether McCourty’s sophomore struggles were exacerbated by the injury. Though McCourty resembled a shell of his rookie, Pro Bowl self even before that November night, it’s fair to think a bungled shoulder might have hampered his attempts to break the slump.

Bonus link – A list of the current NFL Salary Cap situation for all 32 teams – the Patriots currently have $10.87 million in cap room.

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