Musket Blasts: Patriots and NFL Draft Links, 8/24

Bills Patriots

The Bills are starting to get ideas after a splashy off-season. (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 Bills front office isn’t afraid of the Patriots. Oh really. (Toronto Sun)

On the first weekend of Buffalo’s training camp at St. John Fisher College, I sat down with Nix and discussed that, as well as whether his and Gailey’s legacy is now tied to all those big-salaried players they’ve inked; whether expectations now are too high for the club; why the Patriots don’t scare him; and what he sees as next year’s talent needs.

No Tyrann Mathieu? No problem. Meet Tharold Simon, LSU’s next Top-50 cornerback. (

No, Simon won’t technically be all alone when the Tigers’ defense takes the field in 10 days against North Texas. He’ll have the normal 10 mates around him. In the cornerback group, though, there is Simon with 21 games of college experience and then there’s everybody else with not a single snap among them.

Deion Branch had a glowing review of new running back Jeff Demps. (ESPN Boston)

“Trust me, this guy is a world-class sprinter,” he said. “The speed that he’s displaying on the football field isn’t surprising. It is what it is; he’s everything we thought he was.” With Demps now in the fold, the debate about the fastest Patriot is a no-brainer, but Branch is also confident that teammate Matthew Slater could be successful on the track if he focused on it as well.

Bucs coach Greg Schiano has close ties with Devin McCourty and Vince Wilfork. (WEEI)

The joint practices between the Patriots and Buccaneers are giving some Patriots a chance to catch up with Greg Schiano. Schiano, a former head coach at Rutgers and assistant at the University of Miami who became head coach in Tampa Bay this past offseason, has connections to New England cornerback Devin McCourty, as well as defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.

Belichick explains his Florida love. (Boston Herald)

“So I just had a little more opportunity to interact with those players in that school, and they were available at the particular times that we were drafting and so forth. Some of it was coincidence. Some of it was maybe a little more homework in a player like Aaron Hernandez, that talent-wise obviously should have been drafted a little higher than what he was, but we were comfortable with Aaron and taking him the time we did. That’s worked out pretty well for us, so sometimes that little bit extra getting to know the player, the person and so forth can come into play. You never know in the draft process. You just never know how it’s going to go.”

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