With the NFL scouting combine over, the countdown to the NFL Draft has begun. The Bleacher Report's Mike Dussault updated his mock draft results and listed his prediections for all seven of the Patriots draft selections. He has the Patriots picking DT, Ra'Shede Hagman with their first pick and C, Travis Swanson with their second. Notably, Dussault also has New England picking Alabama QB, AJ McCarron in the 4th round.
In a recent article, ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss tried to find a comparable match to the Patriots' 3rd round selection from last year, Logan Ryan. Reiss mentioned that Texas Christian CB Jason Verrett could be an option. Verrett ran the exact same time as Ryan did in the 3-cone drill (6.69) and also posted a strong 40-yard dash time (4.38).
"Ryan was viewed by some teams as more of a corner-safety type, so from a pure testing standpoint, a combination of Verrett and Georgia Tech safety Jemea Thomas comes to mind as a comparable," says Reiss.
Nick O'Malley of The Republican agrees with Reiss in that Verrett could be a good fit in New England. Along with Verrett, O'Malley highlighted four other defensive backs that he says showed flashes of being a Patriot at the scouting combine. One of those "potential future patriots" was a cornerback from Lindenwood named Pierre Desir.
"The 6-foot-1 Desir might not be the tallest prospect of this year's class, but he just might be the diamond in the rough that teams are actually looking for," says O'Malley. "Desir's still a largely unknown prospect but could be a high-reward small school prospect."
According to a report NBC Sports' Mike Florio, the NFL Salary Cap is expected to be higher than $132 million for 2014. With just four days until the deadline to apply the franchise tag, Zuri Berry of the Boston Globe took a look at the Patriots' options. Berry mentions that if the Patriots were to franchise Aqib Talib it would cost $11.74 million, while franchising Julian Edelman would require a $12.03 million commitment. Either way you look at it, the Patriots franchise tag options are slim. That's why the team's contract negotiations with Aqib Talib are so important.
"The Patriots would love nothing more than to reel in Talib, at least for a few years," believes Berry. "Avoiding the tag, if at all possible, is the name of the game. Otherwise, the options don't look good."
Berry's colleague at the Boston Globe, Erik Frenz explains how the Patriots can keep both Aqib Talib and Julian Edelman this offseason. Frenz lists a number of moves that the team could make in order to free up money. He explains that Belichick could save upwards of $8 million in cap space if he's willing to release Tommy Kelly, Isaac Sopoaga, and Dan Connolly.
"No matter how they do it, the Patriots will find it tough to keep everyone happy and in a Patriots uniform," says Frenz.
In a recent post on ESPN Boston, Mike Reiss also passed along two free agent lists that were recently made. One from Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com and the other from Rotoworld's Evan Silva. Reiss highlighted three free agents that Bedard mentioned in his article including DE Jared Allen. Bedard believes that Allen's best fit would be in New England.