Archive for the ‘NFL Draft’ Category

Year of Growth: Revisiting the Rookie Seasons of Patriots Wideouts Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins made key contributions as Patriots rookies. And, in a sense, those contributions linked the wideouts together. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

One was a 21-year-old second-round pick out of Marshall, the other was a 24-year-old undrafted journeyman by way of Cincinnati and El Camino College. But while Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins traveled far different roads to Foxborough in April of 2013, their impact as New England Patriots rookies eventually merged them to the same one.

Early on, though, they appeared to be at different stages of development.

Dobson was on the field in the fourth quarter of preseason games, acclimating to the offense with players on the fringe of the 90-man roster. Thompkins, on the other hand, was on the sidelines after building chemistry with the first unit and quarterback Tom Brady.

Those initial glimpses weren’t solely rooted in talent, however. It was clear that Dobson’s ceiling was a high one, only the Conference USA product required a higher volume of in-game reps to reach it. His route tree with the Thundering Herd wasn’t the most assorted one. And Thompkins already had experience running an array of patterns versus future NFL cornerbacks in a basic yet rapid Bearcats hurry-up offense.

Still, both Dobson and Thompkins flashed promise during the summer’s four exhibition contests. The two wideouts had similar production by the end of August; Dobson netted 11 catches for 150 yards over his four games and two starts, while Thompkins netted 15 catches for 166 yards over his four games and three starts.

Even so, it was apparent that they were different players. It was apparent that they won in different ways. (more…)


Nine Glimpses: Josh Boyce’s Rookie Season in Patriots Offense

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Josh Boyce’s rookie season with the Patriots was one of glimpses. And in the offensive huddle, there were nine. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Nine.

It’s the number of games Josh Boyce played in during his rookie season. It’s the number of kickoffs he returned on special teams. And it’s the number of passes he caught in the New England Patriots offense.

It’s a number the former fourth-round pick is looking to multiply in 2014.

For Boyce, 2013 was a year that came to an end just as it got started. The Texas Christian standout landed on injured reserve in Week 17, after having tallied eight of his receptions over a three-game span in the final months of the campaign.

There were moments where he flashed, where he was able to make use of his 4.38-second 40-yard dash speed in the open field, where his 2,535 receiving yards and 22 touchdown grabs during his Horned Frogs career came to light.

Those moments were only that, however. No. 82 was an inactive for seven contests. He logged just 182 offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He was targeted 19 times. But, those moments, they were there. (more…)


2015 NFL Draft: Top Big 12 WR Prospects

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Antwan Goodley of Baylor has the speed and bulk to post tremendous receiving numbers catching passes from fellow NFL prospect Bryce Petty (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

The Big 12 has taken its hits, most notably losing Nebraska to the Big 10, and Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, and it shows when breaking down their NFL prospects. One position they do offer some talent in is at the wide receiver spot. This is no surprise given the wide open, defense optional style most of the conference plays. Let’s take a look at the top WR prospects for the 2015 draft class.

(more…)


2015 NFL Draft: An Early Look at the WR, OT and DE Class

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

USC WR Nelson Agholor could earn a first round grade and ultimately move past the consensus #1 WR Amari Cooper (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

The 2014 Draft was particularly strong at offensive tackle and wide receiver with those two positions making up 6 out of the first 12 selections. We also saw two blue chip defensive prospects in Jadaveon Clowney and Khalil Mack go in the top 5. Then of course was the notorious Johnny Football going to the dormant Browns late in the first. Most of the headlines were stolen by the magnetic but volatile former Aggie QB.

(more…)


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…)







  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives