The Turf Report Mid-Season Rankings: Upperclassmen on Patriots’ Radar

October 18th, 2014
NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon could join former teammate James White in New England’s backfield next season. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

With the Turf Report taking the past couple weeks off, figured it would be appropriate to return with some mid-season rankings. Lets take a look at who’s stood out from the pack, and which amateur backs might be donning a flying Elvis on their helmet next fall?

Last Sunday’s season ending knee injury to Stevan Ridley has cast some uncertainty in Foxborough as to what the Patriots will do after this season at running back. Both Rildey and Shane Vereen are impending free agents, and there’s no guarantee either will return after 2014. The following are potential Junior and Senior prospects that should be appealing to New England this spring. I broke them down into three tiers and detailed the ones that could land on Belichick’s radar.

Read the rest of this entry »


Saturday Slate : Week 8 College Prospects to Watch

October 18th, 2014
How will Winston top his latest blunder?

How will Winston top his latest blunder?

NEPD Staff Writer: CJ Sousa

And the capital of the college football world is…Mississippi? Huh? You may have never thought it was possible, but the two best teams in the country are Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I thought Ole Miss would struggle last week…quite the contrary. They took care of Texas A&M rather easily. Get out your 2017 NFL draft big board’s however, A&M true freshmen WR Speedy Noil will be at the top of the list. Reminds me of Sammy Watkins, except I think Noil is farther along than Watkins was his freshmen year at Clemson.

Autograph Gate: Week 7 saw my number 1 overall prospect, Todd Gurley, suspended indefinitely for receiving compensation for his autographs. I know what you’re saying, number 1 overall for a RB is insane. I agree, and if I was on the clock at No. 1 I wouldn’t be taking Gurley. But to me he’s the best player in all of college football, so that ranking is justified. I actually think him being suspended is a positive for Gurley. NFL evaluators have seen more than enough to know Gurley’s once-a-decade ability, and this suspension (if he doesn’t play another snap this year) all but guarantees he will be healthy for the NFL combine. I see Gurley as a top 5 talent, and I don’t see the Vikings (wherever they end up) passing up the opportunity to draft the best RB prospect since…well… Adrian Peterson. But it’s too early for that talk. Also in autograph gate, the ‘always something’ Jameis Winston. Seriously, if it isn’t one thing its’ another. As of 10/15 he is still clear to play, but the future looks shaky. Not playing the rest of the year could hurt Winston, and maybe even see him fall out of the top 3-5 picks where he seemed to be all but a lock. Read the rest of this entry »


Scouting Report: Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE/OLB Kentucky

October 17th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken:

There were so many good games this past weekend. Thank you to whomever invented the DVR because <–more–>it got a workout and I cannot wait to re-watch some of these epic match-ups.  The other night, my wife and I sat down to watch TV and she went to the DVR memory, looked over at me and said “there is a lot of football on here, it is getting hard to find my shows.”I tried to explain that it’s for the job, but I am not sure she is buying it.  Last night we saw a Jets team come in and give the Patriots a real scare and the defense really struggled in both run and pass defense.

One guy who could come in and help that defense is Alvin Dupree, so I decided to focus on him in my scouting report for the week.  Here is what I saw on the film. Read the rest of this entry »


Patriots Defensive Tackle Casey Walker Quietly Making His Name

October 16th, 2014
No. 98, defensive tackle Casey Walker, has left a mark in his short stay with the Patriots. (NFL Game Rewind)

No. 98 – defensive tackle Casey Walker – has left a mark in his short stay with the Patriots. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Not much was known about Casey Walker when the New England Patriots claimed him off the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad.

He was the corresponding move to defensive tackle Sealver Siliga landing on short-term injured reserve. He was big, listed at 6’1” and 334 pounds. And he was a 2013 undrafted free agent by way of Oklahoma, where he played 33 in games, started 22, and finished with 49 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, two fumbles recoveries and two pass deflections.

For the rest, you’d have to dig a little deeper.

Walker did not have a Wikipedia page, nor did he have an NFL tackle on his resume. The 24-year-old had spent part of the 2013 season on Carolina’s practice squad, and returned for the 2014 preseason. He logged 95 snaps over the course of it, and received the fifth lowest Pro Football Focus grade among the Panthers’ 39 participating defenders.

Walker was waived during 53-man roster cuts on Aug. 30, subsequently rejoining the team’s 10-man roster after clearing waivers the following day. But there were no expectations when the Patriots filled the active roster with him on Sept. 27.

Even so, he has done his part to exceed the status of an enigma since then. Read the rest of this entry »


Jerod Mayo’s Communication Helped Patriots as Much as His Play

October 15th, 2014
Jerod Mayo's season ended on Sunday. But New England's defense will have to play, think, and communicate as if he is still on the field with them. (NFL Game Rewind)

Jerod Mayo’s season ended on Sunday. But New England’s defense will have to play, think, and communicate as if he is still on the field with them. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Anthony Dixon gained three yards before he met Jerod Mayo at the 7:37 mark in the second quarter of Sunday’s game in Orchard Park. Yet for the New England Patriots linebacker, a two-time Pro Bowler and five-time captain, his 53rd tackle of the season would not be like the rest.

It would be his last.

Mayo’s right foot planted and his leg buckled as he halted the Buffalo Bills running back in the left A-gap. His teammate, edge-rusher Chandler Jones, arrived to finish the stop to force 2nd-and-7, only the damage had been done by then. Mayo knew it. The Patriots knew it.

On Monday, the fears were confirmed. Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the lower right leg injury Mayo suffered was indeed season-ending. Yet even on Sunday, it was evident on the field that New England’s defense had lost its communicator, its green dot, its “Mike” linebacker, only six weeks in for the second consecutive season. Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking Down Patriots Wideout Brian Tyms’ 43-Yard TD vs. Bills

October 14th, 2014
Brian Tyms’ first career regular-season touchdown catch arrived on Sunday. (NFL Game Rewind)

Brian Tyms’ first career regular-season touchdown catch arrived on Sunday. It was a memorable one. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ offense hurried to the line with a 13-7 lead over the Buffalo Bills. But what happened thenceforth in the Week 6 tilt was not by the numbers. In many ways, it was not what should have happened.

For Brian Tyms, it didn’t matter. Read the rest of this entry »


Saturday Slate: Week 7 College Prospects to Watch.

October 10th, 2014

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at South Carolina

NEPD Staff Writer: CJ Sousa

Wow. WOW. What a weekend in college football. Week 6 saw huge upsets, thrilling conclusions to games, and with Katy Perry getting substantial ESPN TV time, everyone truly went home winners Saturday (Except you, Alabama fans). Week 7 poses some just as important big time match-ups, but first let’s recap quickly.

SEC Battle Royale: It was truly separation Saturday in the SEC. First, Mississippi State took care of Texas A&M, and in convincing fashion. MSU QB Dak Prescott looked like a Heisman contender, and even though Prescott’s counterpart Kenny Hill compiled nice stats, he didn’t play so well. His favorite receiver was MSU LB Richie Brown, who caught 3 interceptions. The prospect everyone is talking about, MSU OLB Benardrick McKinney impressed throughout. Great flow, great anticipation… I’ve officially bought into the Junior ILB/OLB’s hype. In what was one of the ugliest games you’ll ever watch, Florida remains a contender in the SEC East after outlasting Tennessee 10-9. UF DE Dante Fowler Jr. was an animal and dominated the under matched Volunteers’ line. Read the rest of this entry »







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