Archive for the ‘College Football’ Category

Ken Vetrano’s Final Week Mock Draft: First Round

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

2014 NFL Draft

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

The Following mock draft does not include trades, and the only picks made are those acquired or assigned to teams before hand. More information regarding prospects can be found in Mike Loyko’s Draft Guide or another favorite resource of mine Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 NFL prospects.

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2014 NFL Draft: Previewing Seven Rounds of Patriots Variables

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Teams are expected to find a favorable receiver market on Day 3 of the 2014 NFL draft, and Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman could be among the options. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

There may have been time for another attempt at a New England Patriots 2014 mock draft before things kick off this Thursday at Radio City Music Hall, but how the board falls will inevitably dictate what can be addressed and when.

It is understood that head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots war room will add prospects – and potentially picks – over the course of the draft’s three days. Positions of need will be deepened, yet opportunities to attain value elsewhere will not be overlooked, either.

New England heads into the draft with picks 29, 62, 93, 130, 140, 198, 206 and 244 overall. And with those choices looming, here are seven rounds of thoughts to ponder. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Iowa Linebacker Christian Kirksey

Monday, May 5th, 2014

For four seasons, Iowa’s Christian Kirksey flew to the football. He did so, regardless of his size. He did so, regardless of where he aligned from. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Over the last three months, NEPatriotsDraft.com has profiled college prospects that potentially fit the needs and seating of the New England Patriots in the 2014 NFL draft. In this 13th and final installment – the previous 12 profiles can be found here – we will take a closer look at the film behind Iowa outside linebacker Christian Kirksey.

No play has been too far away for Christian Kirksey.

It’s been that way since his days at Hazelwood East High School in St. Louis, Mo., where high-effort pursuit branded him a two-way player – a fullback and a linebacker – as well as a two-sport letterman.

But it was on the defensive side of the ball that the track athlete broke free. As a junior in the fall of 2008, Kirksey notched 89 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and an interception, as he helped the Spartans win a state championship in two sports. Along the way, he was named an all-conference honorable mention in football.

That carried over in the fall of 2009, even after Kirksey, a 6’2”, 198-pound senior outside linebacker, verbally committed to the University of Iowa. It carried over, even though the three-star recruit had more on his mind than the game. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft: Pipe Dreams and the Marshall Plan

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Brady Dobson

Could Aaron Dobson get a new receiving partner? (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

It’s that time of year again folks, pipe dream season. The only thing more abundant than flowers blossoming outside, are the absurd trade scenarios budding around the NFL. Whether a team whiffed during free agency, or simply doesn’t believe the upgrade they want is available via the draft, coaching staffs are still trying to find their roster’s missing piece.

This causes certain teams to reach for the stars, and names that normally wouldn’t be bounced around start to echo in league circles. Usually nothing comes from this other than speculation and fan disappointment. However, what if Bill Belichick decided to pick up the phone, dial Bears GM Phil Emery and inquire about the big dipper?

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2014 Pass Rushing Prospects: Analyzing Athleticism

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Kareem Martin has been overlooked despite production and an ideal frame but is picking up steam after testing tremendously well in Indy (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

Athleticism in a broad sense can be analyzed and measured, but it only gains meaning with context. Being able to run in a stright line for forty yards measured linear speed but explains very little about an athletes agility or strength. If the person is an Olympic sprinter the latter qualities are discarded as they are rather unimportant. If you’re looking at an NFL pass rusher, however, all of the aforementioned qualities have tremendous value.

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A Potential Move: Patriots Second-Year Wideout Mark Harrison

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Mark Harrison hasn’t played in a game since December of 2012. But the former Rutgers wide receiver has been a point of positional discussion during the Patriots’ offseason. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots head into voluntary offseason workouts with a roster of 64 names.

Three of whom are listed as tight ends.

The select group is indeed headlined by two-time All-Pro Rob Gronkowski, who is on the road to recovery from ACL and MCL tears suffered in December. Second in command is 25-year-old utility man Michael Hoomanawanui, who’s back with the team on a two-year deal after making 10 starts in 2013. And rounding out the list is 6’2”, 245-pound flex target D.J. Williams, who was signed, cut and re-signed to play two Patriots games last season.

It’s a group that carries a bit of everything – a prolific seam-stretching “Y”, a versatile blocker-slash-special-teamer, and an “F” receiver on his third team in two seasons. It’s also a group surrounded by question marks, given Gronkowski’s prognosis and fact that his understudies have combined for 46 receptions in 78 regular-season games.

But it is a group head coach Bill Belichick and Co. stuck with through the height of free agency, even after veteran Owen Daniels visited, even after 2013 No. 3 option Matthew Mulligan departed for the Chicago Bears.

As the 2014 NFL draft draws near, however, the group should soon look different. New England has been widely forecasted to bolster the tight end position. And for what it’s worth, Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas, Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz, Colorado State’s Crockett Gillmore, Fresno State’s Marcel Jensen, California’s Richard Rodgers and Virginia Tech’s D.J. Coles have all had their names linked.

Yet while all signs point towards the Patriots adding a fourth, a fifth or even a sixth name to the tight end depth chart this May, there’s an outside possibility that an in-house name could also join them.

Second-year wide receiver Mark Harrison. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Penn State Defensive Tackle DaQuan Jones

Monday, April 21st, 2014

DaQuan Jones’ strength off the field has translated on it. And as May’s draft approaches, the Penn State defensive tackle is a likely day-two pick. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will continue to profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this 12th installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Penn State defensive tackle DaQuan Jones.

DaQuan Jones has lived through far more than double teams in his 22 years.

As Anna Orso powerfully detailed in The Daily Collegian last October, he’s lived through an impoverished childhood, which left him eating few warm meals and sleeping on couches while his family moved from one apartment to another. He’s lived through his mother’s addiction and incarceration, which granted his father full custody of him and his brothers even when long days at work didn’t make it easy. He’s lived through struggles in school and pressures from peers, which reminded him of the darker avenues he could have taken.

Those battles could have derailed him. They could have defined him. But with strong pillars supporting him and his internal strength to succeed, those battles brought out the best in him.

That was seen through athletics at Johnson City High School in southern New York, where Jones was captain of the basketball team and also part of the track and field team.

Measuring in at 6’3” and 302 pounds, he found an outlet on the football field as well.

He left his mark, setting an example as a captain and a standout on both sides of the ball. And after a junior year consisting of 70 tackles, three sacks and four fumble recoveries, the Wildcat found himself ranked as the No. 5 overall defensive tackle by Scout.com. He found himself ranked the No. 2 offensive lineman in the nation by Rivals.com. He found himself a predominant four-star recruit.

Soon after, Jones found himself with the opportunity to go to college. His talent had drawn scholarship offers from Boston College and six other Division I programs by the summer of 2009.

Penn State was one of them. And while on a camp visit to State College that June, the soon-to-be high school senior committed. (more…)







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