Musket Blasts: Patriots and NFL Draft Links, 9/21

Barkevious Mingo LSU

Barkevious Mingo could be a top five pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. (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.

How will the Patriots offense respond without Aaron Hernandez? (NEPD)

The New England Patriots offense already had a new look in the first two weeks of 2012 than it did in 2011. They became more explosive at the running back position with the promotion of Stevan Ridley to the starting lineup, and as downfield weapon Brandon Lloyd emerged as one of Brady’s favorite targets, the role of Wes Welker, the NFL’s reception leader in 2011, decreased significantly.

With all the AFC East at 1-1, the Dolphins vs Jets game looms large. (MDD)

For the sixth time, the Dolphins have released DT Ryan Baker and signed free agent DT Andre Fluellen, formerly of Detroit. Fluellen was a third round pick out of Florida St in 2008 by the Lions but with the additions of Suh and Fairly the last couple seasons, Fluellen had no place to play and was released. At 6-2 302 and still only 27, he should provide the Dolphins another rotational defensive tackle to help keep the middle of that line fresh for a full four quarters.

Chandler Jones’ family has a big weekend. (WEEI)

This weekend, Jones and his incredibly gifted athletic brothers will all be in the national sports spotlight. Chandler goes against Arthur’s Ravens while Jon “Bones” Jones battles Vitor Belfort on Saturday night in defense of Jones’ light-heavyweight title in UFC 152 in Toronto.

LSU, as usual, has some amazing defenders on their team. (STS)

Mingo looks every bit the part of a high first round pick, and double-digit sack artist at the next level. He not only possesses the raw athleticism and physical gifts to succeed as a rusher, but is already displaying the refinement and use of those tools that should translate to becoming an immediate high-level contributor on an NFL team. He’s a natural fit at rush end in an 3-4, but uses his length and explosive hands to a degree that suggests he could be a consistent threat as a “down” end from the weakside in a 4-3 as well.

These Stanford linebackers are going to be very popular. (NEPD)

How did Matt Barkley look against better competition, after shredding two soft defenses in a row? How did Stanford’s defensive prospects look against this high powered offense?

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