Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

58 Defensive Line Combinations: A 2013 Patriots Personnel Study

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The defensive line of the 2013 Patriots shifted in waves. Its components changed by the week, and in some cases, by the snap. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The 2013 New England Patriots defensive line was one of adaptation.

It was one of many faces and many alignments. And it was one composed of 15 players, forged by attrition.

For the collection of former draft picks and undrafted free agents, waiver claims and veteran free agents, it was about being greater than the sum of their parts. For head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and position coach Patrick Graham, on the other hand, it was about being interchangeable.

From Week 1 through Week 17, the New England’s defensive line was just that. But its identity remained unknown. There was no true first-team. There was no true base defense.

Its contributors and alignments shifted with each opponent, with each snap. (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…)


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…)


2014 AFC East Rankings: Changes After the 2014 NFL Draft?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

How does the AFC East stack up after the 2014 NFL Draft?

(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…)


Patriots Post-Draft Roster Reset and Thoughts

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Easley is expected to make immediate contributions on the Defensive Line.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Now that the 2014 NFL Draft is in the books we get a pretty clear picture of what the Patriots 2014 Roster will look like heading into training camp this summer. Undrafted Free Agent signings are still trickling in and there will be a few more small signings before the summer, but for the most part the roster is in place. Here’s a breakdown of how the Patriots roster shapes up as of today, a few thoughts on where they stand and where they go from here.

(more…)







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