Musket Blasts: Patriots and NFL Draft Links, 8/31

Jermaine Cunningham Patriots

Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham has been working hard – it now seems to be paying off. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Come back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I choose my five favorite New England Patriots and NFL Draft links to share. Feel free to submit your own links in the comments.

Bill Belichick thinks that Jermaine Cunningham has stepped up. (WEEI)

“Overall, he’s been at a higher level,” Belichick said of Cunningham, who had two sacks and three quarterback hits in the preseason finale against the Giants. “He came to camp in great condition, worked hard in the offseason. He got faster, stronger, more explosive. He worked on his techniques. He worked extremely hard and came to training camp, and that work and those improvements showed up. They’ve showed up in practice, from early in camp to all four preseason games.

A game breakdown focusing on some of the final roster battles for the Patriots. (NEPD)

The Patriots wrapped up their preseason play vs. the Giants last night. The game was a 6-3 thriller that featured the Patriots resting 21 of 22 starters and basically playing a bunch of 3rd teamers throughout the game. The game was not a total waste, as it was the last chance for players on the bubble to impress coaches and win a roster spot. In this film room post, I focus solely on the handful of players who are on the bubble and how they fared in the game.

Mike Reiss takes a look at some Patriots on the bubble. (ESPN Boston)

Essentially, what Belichick said was that the team keeps a handful of players at the back end of the 53-man roster who aren’t projected to be part of the 46-man game-day roster at this time. The team then asks the question: What has to happen for those players to make the leap to the 46-man game-day roster?

Everything you need to know about the 2013 NFL Draft Prospects., including which teams the Patriots are scouting. (NEPD)

College Football is officially here. Our entire network has been hard at work all summer previewing nearly all the relevant 2013 NFL Draft prospects for you.

Rob Rang and I agree on our top defensive prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft. (CBS Sports)

The reigning Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12’s most dominant defensive lineman, the 6-foot-3, 325-pound Lotulelei is earning comparisons from regional scouts to former Oregon Duck and current Baltimore Ravens star Haloti Ngata. Lotulelei’s combination of size, athleticism and power make it a reasonable comparison, which is high praise in itself. Learn the name now — this is the most appropriately named player in the country.

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