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News Blitz 5/14: Patriots reportedly work out LB Brandon Johnson

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Robert McClain

Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com attempts to project the next addition to the Patriots roster. With one spot open on the team's 90-man roster, Reiss mentions free agents John Abraham and Charles Woodson as potential options, along with former Patriots like Trevor Scott.

"I'm surprised that Scott remains unsigned, and think he would be a solid addition in adding another layer of competition at defensive end while also factoring into the special teams mix," writes Reiss. "He played 22 percent of the defensive snaps for the Patriots last season (14 games played, 2 starts), and was a capable fill-in when called upon (two sacks vs. Miami on Dec. 2)."

Nick Underhill of MassLive.com writes that free agent linebacker Brandon Johnson worked out for the Patriots on Tuesday morning, according to a report from ESPN.

"A veteran of the AFC North, Johnson spent the 2012 season with the Steelers and three years before that with the Cincinnati Bengals," adds Underhill.

Johnson's best season came in 2008, when the former fifth-round draft pick recorded 46 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Bengals.

Oliver Thomas of Yahoo! Sports believes Patriots seventh-round draft pick Michael Buchanan has a chance to develop into a very strong rotational defensive end, and potentially a future starter. Once projected to be a late second round draft pick, Buchanan slipped down draft boards due to "character concerns," but Thomas calls the athletic pass rusher the Patriots best "value pick" of 2013 draft class.

"No. 99 can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 or a defensive end in a 4-3, which makes him an ideal "Elephant" in New England's hybrid fronts," adds Thomas. "Buchanan began playing the "Bandit" role -- a linebacker/safety hybrid -- as a sophomore in 2010."

Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston.com believes replacing Danny Woodhead's role in the passing game and on third down appears to be Shane Vereen's job to lose.

"Whether the Patriots didn't bring back Woodhead based on a renewed confidence in Vereen is not clear. But after battling injuries as a rookie and again early in his sophomore campaign, the Cal product says he's healthy this offseason and focused on improving," writes Rodak.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated looks at each NFL team's most pressing question as mini camp looms. For the Patriots, that question is: "Who's going to catch Tom Brady's passes?"

"Rob Gronkowski's status for the start of the season is up in the air, and neither Wes Welker (118 catches in 2012) nor Brandon Lloyd (74) is around anymore," writes Burke. "Much of the resulting pressure will fall on Aaron Hernandez (assuming his shoulder is OK after offseason surgery) and new addition Danny Amendola. Beyond that? Rookie Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Michael Jenkins and ex-Giant TE Jake Ballard may be the best options."

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