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Patriots.com News Blitz - 4/2/2013

Posted Apr 2, 2013

The Patriots.com News Blitz gets you up to date with the latest news from local and national media.

Erik Frenz of The Boston Globe believes the Patriots' biggest need heading into the NFL draft is at wide receiver. He notes that New England doesn't necessarily have to target a wideout with their first pick, as many talented receivers are projected to slip into the second round like Baylor's Terrance Williams, Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins, and Tennessee's Justin Hunter.

Frenz adds that DeAndre Hopkins isn't your typical college receiver:

"He doesn't possess the long speed that Williams has, but he can make contested catches in traffic and he has great quickness in and out of his breaks to create separation on routes. His versatility at the different receiver spots and his ability to operate in all levels of a defense make him an intriguing player for the Patriots offense."

"He has drawn comparisons to the likes of Greg Jennings, Roddy White and Sidney Rice. None of them are the fastest receivers, but all of them are big, sure-handed targets who run good routes and know how to get open."

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com believes Bill Belichick has his eye on UConn cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson after attending the school's Pro Day last Wednesday. One scout in attendance compared Wreh-Wilson to Devin McCourty, saying the 6-foot-1 corner has "plus-intangibles."

"From a football perspective, Wreh-Wilson is said to have excellent size and length, runs well, can excel in man coverage, but lacks a bit in the playmaking area," writes Reiss. "If I was putting together a short list of prospects the Patriots might consider with one of their top picks, wherever it winds up landing, Wreh-Wilson would be on it."

Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald writes the Patriots are not done adding depth to the wide receiver position. "Of course, the Patriots’ reinforcements could come in the form of old friends, such as Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, Donte Stallworth or Jabar Gaffney," writes Howe. "Or, the Pats could make a play for restricted free agents Emmanuel Sanders (third-round compensation) or Danario Alexander (no compensation) by the April 19 deadline. The rest of the free agent crop is drying up, though it includes Laurent Robinson, Josh Cribbs and David Nelson."

Howe adds that New England may also look to bolster their receiving corps via the draft, although he warns that any draft pick isn't guaranteed to instantly click with Tom Brady.

Christopher Price of WEEI.com looks at ten players who weren't invited to the NFL Draft Combine that may draw interest from the Patriots. One of the players, wide receiver Jasper Collins of Mount Union, reportedly worked out for the Patriots on March 21. Price gives his analysis on the 5-foot-10 wideout, who finished his career with 232 receptions:

"Like his Mount Union brethren -- Cecil Shorts and Pierre Garcon -- Collins is attempting to reach the NFL from a relatively small school. But while Shorts and Garcon had the chance to show their stuff at the combine, Collins wasn’t so lucky. He turned heads as the only Division 3 player at the East-West Shrine game after a college career with 232 catches (second in school history to Shorts) in 52 games for 3,527 yards and 37 touchdowns. When you’re talking about prospects at the wide receiver and defensive back position, it’s also worth mentioning that the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder had a better than average 6.85 time in the 3-cone drill."

Matt Williamson of ESPN.com gives the Patriots a "B" grade based on their free-agency moves to date. "The Welker-for-Amendola swap gets all the headlines, but New England did a very nice job reinforcing its secondary and bringing back Vollmer, who I think is the best right tackle in the league," writes Williamson. "That was a fantastic move that didn't get the publicity it deserved, while Svitek now ranks as one of the better swing tackles in the league for depth."

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