2014 TE Prospects: Analyzing Athleticism

March 22nd, 2014

Eric Ebron is the consensus #1 TE prospect, but he’s joined by a few others in the discussion for the “Best Athlete” at the position (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

The tight end position has endured a paradigm shift in recent years evolving from an athletically limited, run blocking specialist to a hybrid receiver with the separation skills of a wide out and the size of a tight end. With Rob Gronkowski being unreliable in terms of staying healthy the Pats could very well decide to supplement his elite skill set with someone who would complement as well as fill in for the man we call Gronk.

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Thoughts on the NFL Draft and Patriots Free Agency

March 20th, 2014

You can stop the talk right now. Brandon Browner isn’t moving to Safety.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

This past week was one of the most exciting periods for the New England Patriots and their fans especially in terms of player acquisition. Unlike most years where the Patriots let the market come to them, Coach Belichick attacked the free agent market with a sense of urgency and landed real impact players. The free agent transactions have a real effect on the Patriots draft needs and their strategy entering the draft. Even though free agency is only week old, it’s time to breakdown the moves already made and look ahead to what’s next for the Patriots.

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Finding Brandon LaFell’s Purpose in the Patriots’ Receiving Plans

March 19th, 2014

Based on his utilization in the Carolina Panthers’ system, wideout Brandon LaFell appears to fit New England’s offensive plans. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots officially announced the signing of former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell on Monday. But his purpose in New England’s offense will not be announced anywhere other than on the field.

The 6’2”, 210-pound LSU product agreed to a three-year, $9 million pact with the team, according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, after catching 49 passes for 627 yards and five touchdowns as a starter last season.

The 27-year-old has played in 60 regular-season games since being selected 78th overall in the 2010 draft. He has amassed over 600 yards receiving over the last three years, all while never catching fewer than 36 passes over the last four years. He has gradually increased his touchdown totals as well, notching one in 2010, three in 2011, four in 2012 and five in 2013.

Now throughout his four-year NFL career, LaFell’s playing style and production have been steady but unspectacular for quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers. Yet the way in which he accrues his production is what makes him an interesting fit for quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 NFL Draft Close-Up: Florida State Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan

March 17th, 2014

Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan proved to be an inside presence worth accounting for as a junior in 2013. The defensive tackle is viewed as a likely first-round draft pick this May because of it. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

In the coming weeks and months leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, NEPatriotsDraft.com will profile college prospects that potentially fit the needs and draft seating of the New England Patriots. In this seventh installment, we will take a closer look at the film behind Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

Timmy Jernigan is hard to miss – not only for his 6’1”, 299-pound frame and tight-fitting untucked jersey, but for his disruptive nature at the defensive tackle position.

It’s been evident dating back to his days at Columbia High School in Lake City, Fla., where a large No. 8 amassed 77 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and one interception as a senior in 2010, also adding four touchdowns on offense.

Jernigan found himself recognized as a five-star recruit. He was ranked the fourth-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com. He was ranked the second-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com. He was ranked 17th overall on the ESPNU 150. He was named All-USA first-team defense by USA Today. He was a 2011 U.S. Army All-American.

And not long after, he was a Florida State Seminole. Read the rest of this entry »


Takeaways from Thursday’s Conference Call with ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

March 13th, 2014

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. shared his thoughts on the NFL draft and free agency in a conference call Thursday. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

With college pro days underway, free agency in full swing, and the 2014 NFL draft under two months away, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. shared his insight on a media conference call Thursday morning.

Kiper, who has been part of ESPN’s draft coverage since 1984, offered a different perspective on the prospects and the organizations set to cross paths at Radio City Music Hall this May. And with the League Year changing along with the personnel plans of each organization, there was no shortage of discussion.

Here are some of Kiper’s draft thoughts on the prospects and the potential interests around the league. Read the rest of this entry »


Patriots Pull Off A Stunner and Land CB Darrelle Revis

March 12th, 2014

Welcome to Foxboro Mr. Revis.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Less than 24 hour ago many Patriots fans were headed to the Tobin Bridge. Fans were take the leap after the Broncos once again plucked the Patriots top unrestricted free agent and after the Patriots did… well, nothing. Fast forward 24 hours later and not only have the Patriots replaced Aqib Talib, they upgraded.

Early Wednesday night, Bill Belichick swooped in and pulled off arguably the biggest free agent coup in Patriots history, landing All-World CB Darrelle Revis.

Here are my thoughts on the Revis signing, what it means, and where both sides go from here.

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NFL Free Agency 2014: Patriots News and Notes From Day One

March 11th, 2014

Wesley Woodyard’s visit to New England made news as unrestricted free agency opened on Tuesday. But the news involving Aqib Talib ultimately took center stage before midnight. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

NFL League Year began at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. And right out of the starting gate, reports broke of free agents signing, re-signing and restructuring with teams, while roster cuts and trades filtered in as well.

But as some organizations proved to be active on March 11, others proved to be quiet behind the scenes, waiting for the dust – or money – to settle.

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots fell under the latter category.

After re-signing long snapper Danny Aiken and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui – both restricted free agents – in the days prior, and after releasing seven from their reserve/futures contracts or injured reserve lists, New England passed through Tuesday without another official move.

In many ways, though, the moves around the league have set the table for the days to come. With that in mind, here is a look at some Patriots-centric news and notes around the NFL landscape. Read the rest of this entry »




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