Archive for the ‘College Football’ Category

Patriots Wide Receiver Breakdown: Volume in Numbers at OTAs

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The Patriots’ wide receiving corps was highlighted during the summer of 2013, and it is once again in 2014. (Photo: Oliver Thomas)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

As organized team activities opened up on Tuesday, May 27, the New England Patriots filled the 90-man roster to maximum capacity by signing two wide receivers. In doing so, one of the positions which grew scarce with attrition and inexperience last season now stands among the squad’s deepest in volume.

It stands at 13.

In a numbers game, though, less than half of that baker’s dozen will ultimately make the 53-man roster. And if the past serves as an indicator of the future, the process will remain a fluid one until then.

That was illustrated last June, as the Patriots stocked OTAs with 10 wideouts. The pool included three incumbents – who combined 21 receptions for the year prior – along with four veteran signings, two rookie draft picks and two undrafted rookies.

The average age of the nucleus was 25 years old.

But by the time OTAs turned into training camp and the preseason, the landscape shifted. Rookie Mark Harrison was never activated from the non-football injury list, incumbent Kamar Aiken and veterans Michael Jenkins, Donald Jones and Lavelle Hawkins were let go. Several more joined only to meet the same fate.

The fate of New England’s 2014 collection is not yet known. Even so, there are some elements that are. (more…)


Patriots Found Upside in Georgia Tech Do-It-All Jemea Thomas

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Jemea Thomas was selected in the sixth round of May’s NFL Draft, but the do-it-all defensive back proved to be more than a flier over his five seasons with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

It was the summer of 2009, and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson had his share of decisions to make.

One of which regarded three-star recruit Jemea Thomas, an incoming freshman A-back who had rushed for 8.8 yards per carry and seven touchdowns during his senior season at nearby Fitzgerald High School.

Johnson could have kept the Queensland, Ga., native on the offensive side of the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option attack. Or, the ACC Coach of the Year could have moved Thomas to defense full-time, where he amassed 140 tackles, three blocked field goals and four interceptions for the Purple Hurricanes in 2008.

The latter was elected. (more…)


Marc’s Final Thoughts on the 2014 NFL Draft: Big Board, A+ Picks & Best UDFAs

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

 

The Patriots 6th round pick was Jemea Thomas from Georgia Tech and his versatility and hard hitting will be on display on defense and special teams (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

It was a wild ride and before we transition to 2015 let’s take a look back at the 2014 NFL Draft. All rankings and opinions are mine not necessarily of NEPD.

(more…)


Patriots’ Rookie Running Backs Carry Some Earth, Wind and Fire

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The vision and balance of Patriots fourth-round pick James White headlines a rookie running back trio. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots’ offseason roster delves eight deep at the running back position. But even after Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, fullback James Develin and first-year player Jonas Gray, viable competition remains.

It comes in the form of rookies Stephen Houston, James White and Roy Finch.

Only one of whom was selected in May’s draft, yet each of whom carries the serviceability to warrant a 53-man roster selection.

The reality, though, is that not all of whom will. There are only 11 offensive players on the field at a time, and there’s only one football to go around. And given the sheer volume of candidates in New England’s wide-open rushing committee, taking part in both will be a tall order this summer.

Each will have to carve a role.

Based on the ways in which the trio was utilized in college, however, doing so won’t be far outside the realm of possibility. (more…)


Patriots Could Catch Big Contribution From 5’7” Jeremy Gallon

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Jeremy Gallon proved he could play bigger than his size in the Big Ten. The Patriots are hoping the wideout can do the same at the next level. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Jeremy Gallon is the smallest wide receiver the New England Patriots have drafted in the Bill Belichick era. But even at 5’7” and 185 pounds, the seventh-round draft pick by way of Michigan has been known to make a contribution far greater than his stature.

That’s been evident since his days at Apopka High School in central Florida, where he played quarterback, running back and safety. (more…)


Finding the Value in Patriots Second-Round QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo will run from the Ohio Valley Conference to the AFC East, as the Patriots found value in small-school talent at pick 62. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

By the time other positions are addressed, it’s often too late to handle the most important one.

Head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots acknowledged that on Friday night, selecting Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with the 62nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

To some, it was a great reach.

Alternatives in Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and outside linebacker Christian Kirksey were waiting, as was USC center Marcus Martin, Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton, and Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III. Each had their merit as a top-tier available player; each had the potential to become a Patriot. But the Patriots’ draft board was assembled differently.

To them, it was a great find. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft: Tight Ends Escape Patriots’ Grasp in Round 2

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz is the top tight end remaining on Day 2. And as result, the Patriots are in an interesting spot. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots sit at pick 62 overall in the 2014 NFL draft, but second round-caliber tight ends do not sit with them.

After Day 1 saw North Carolina’s Eric Ebron join the Detroit Lions, Day 2 saw Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins land with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro land with the New York Jets, and Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas catch on with the Arizona Cardinals. (more…)







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