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The Patriots added eleven players over the weekend during the NFL draft. They also added several undrafted free agents after the conclusion of the draft Saturday night. Early on, the Patriots went with a defensive focus with their first four picks (and seven out of eleven total picks) were on that side of the ball. New England spent all of their offensive picks on day three, picking two guards and a tight end. One long snapper was also picked by the team.

With the loss of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason, the Patriots have chosen to invest more in their front seven and hope to generate pass rush to force turnovers instead of forcing coverage sacks and turnovers due to lock down secondary play. This shift began with Revis and Browner leaving, continued with the Jabaal Sheard signing, and was added to on draft weekend. Three of the Patriots first four picks were defensive lineman or pass rushers including first round pick Malcolm Brown. Brown, a behemoth defensive tackle out of Texas, should instantly contribute to the Patriots interior pressure on both passing and rushing downs. Dominque Easley is a bit of a wild card, if he can come back healthy in 2015 he and Brown could combine to create a young, formidable defensive tackle duo. Defensive end Geneo Grissom, a third round pick, is somewhat comparable to Jamie Collins, a high level athlete who couldn’t quite find a niche on a college defense. He is not as talented as Collins, but could add some depth behind the Patriots budding star linebacker. Trey Flowers could end up being a steal at defensive end as well. He was picked at the top of the fourth round and very well could end up going at the end of the second or in the third. Continue reading Patriots 2015 Draft Picks Review »

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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots plan to sign former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner as an undrafted free agent and convert him into a wide receiver.

The Patriots pulled off the same experiment beautifully with Julian Edelman, who was a quarterback in college with Kent State. Continue reading Patriots to Sign Another Michigan QB (Devin Gardner), Convert Him to WR »

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The Patriots completed their 2015 draft selections with four selections in rounds five through seven. With the 166th overall selection, the team selected Navy long-snapper Joe Cardona. At pick 178, the Patriots took Mississippi State linebacker Matthew Wells and at 202nd overall Arkansas tight end AJ Derby joined the defending champs. The Patriots final selection of the draft was 247th overall and the team selected Marshall corner back Darryl Roberts.

Prior to the selection of Cardona the Patriots had only one long snapper, Tyler Ott. Normally, one long snapper is plenty for a football team, but Ott is only in his second year out of Harvard and did not snap for the team last year. Bringing Cardona in will allow for some competition in camp give the Patriots confidence going into the season that they have stability at that position.

Wells will most likely have to earn his spot on special teams and look for reps on defense from there, as is the case for most late round picks. He started every game for Mississippi State the last two seasons and was a dependable outside linebacker. One other note is that the Patriots heavy selection of defensive lineman could spell the end for some of their current depth players such as Jake Bequette and Michael Buchanan.

Derby began his college career as a quarterback before transitioning to tight end. His 6’4″, 255 pound body will make for a great red zone target if he makes the team. He is still raw, which is expected when a player moves from one position to another. He has good speed for a player his size and rarely drops a pass his way. His blocking needs work and his progress in that area will determine how much he plays in 2015 if he makes the team.

Roberts is a taller corner at 6’0″ but needs to add some muscle as he only checks in at 187 pounds. He has excellent speed and can play physically at the line of scrimmage. He sometimes gets to physical and was penalized six times in 2014 for it. Patriots fans saw a highly penalized corner last season with Brandon Browner, but Roberts will get less benefit of the doubt. In a relatively thin corner group, Roberts has a good chance to make the team. His coverage skills are good and if he can add more strength he could very well end up getting serious reps in games.

 

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01:  Tre' Jackson #54 of the Florida State Seminoles walks on the field against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 1, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Entering the fourth round the Patriots had three selections, picks 101, 111, and 131. Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers was the pick at 101, with Florida State guard Tre’ Jackson being taken at 111 and Georgia Tech Center Shaq Mason getting his call from the Patriots at 131.

Flowers led the Razorbacks in tackles for loss (15.5) and had six sacks. He is a powerful edge player who could look to get snaps in sub defense and third down situations. His 6’2″, 266 pound frame was best on display in SEC play this season, especially against Texas A&M. His speed is not great, which has him rely more on his power and bull rush than anything else. It was another team captain selection for New England, as Flowers was a leader and captain of the Arkansas defense. Continue reading Patriots Select Three in Round Four, Including (Finally) two Guards »

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Coming in to day two of the 2015 NFL draft, the Patriots held one pick in the second round (64th) as well as two picks in the third round (96th, 97th). By the end of day two, the Patriots selected Stanford safety Jordan Richards and Oklahoma defensive end Geneo Grissom while trading the 96th pick.

Richards is regarded as a strong safety who could play alongside Devin McCourty. he is universally viewed as a highly intelligent player who is rarely caught out of position. He also was a heavy presence on special teams at Stanford, something the Patriots value. At 5’11”, 211 pounds, Richards has the size to play in the box and physicality to be a presence close to the line of scrimmage. He had some struggles in coverage, especially deep, but with McCourty already entrenched in the secondary, Richards probably won’t be asked to patrol the deep part of the field regularly. Continue reading Patriots Select Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom; Make Trade on Day 2 of Draft »

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malcolm brown

The New England Patriots selected University of Texas defensive tackle Malcolm Brown with the 32nd overall pick to close out the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night. Despite some reports of trade activity, the Patriots ended up using their selection on Brown.

Brown, a 6’2″, 319 pound  defensive tackle should be able to come in and compete for a starting job right away with New England alongside last year’s first round selection Dominique Easley. Brown was a first team All-American in 2014, a season in which he had 6 sacks. He posses the blend of quickness and strength that could make him an elite defensive lineman. While at Texas, he consistently drew double teams and was still able to win those battles. Brown played for two different head coaches in college and played well for both, which is good sign of his talent and versatility. Continue reading Patriots Select Malcolm Brown in First Round of NFL Draft »

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jones hightower options

The Patriots picked up the fifth year options for  both linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive end Chandler Jones on Thursday. The options will keep both players with the team through 2016. Jones and Hightower were both key pieces of the 2014 Patriots defense that helped guide the team to a Super Bowl win.

Both players were selected in the first round of 2012 draft. In a break from the norm in the first round, the Patriots traded up to select both players. Jones was picked first at 21st overall and Hightower was selected at 25th overall. Continue reading Patriots Exercise 5th Year Options for Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower »

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