**ESPNBoston.com** reports that Patriots' WR Wes Welker appeared on ESPN's SportsCenter on Tuesday and said contract negotiations with New England have been at a standstill. Welker was given the franchise tag last month and has yet to sign his tender which would allow him to participate in voluntary workouts at Gillette Stadium. Welker also reiterated that he believes that he deserves a long-term deal and is hopeful that a deal will be reached soon. "Obviously we're looking for a long-term deal, and I think with the body of work that I've showed over the past five years that kind of warrants that," Welker said. "And, you know, hopefully we get to that point and get something done, and cooler heads prevail, and we're able to make something happen."
**Karen Guregian** of The Boston Herald writes that Alabama's Mark Barron could be playmaker and difference-maker that the Patriots need in the 2012 draft. "This is the guy the Pats, who pick at No. 27 and No. 31, would love to snag, and might actually move up to get. Some boards have him available in the 20s. Others, not so much," writes Guregian. "Lately, he's been on the rise, and may not get past the Cowboys at No. 14. With the rookie wage scale in effect, it's possible Bill Belichick will be tempted to make a dramatic move up the board."
**Christopher Price** of WEEI.com writes that former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown will announce New England's second and third round picks at the NFL Draft on Friday. Last year, Hall-of-Famer Andre Tippett did the honor for the Patriots as part of a a league-wide program that had alumni announce second-round selections.
**Tom E. Curran** of CSNNE.com writes about a recent conference call between the national media and NFL Network's Mike Mayock regarding the NFL Draft. In the conference call, Mayock was very adamant about the talents of Boise State OLB Shea McClellin. He stated that McClellin could be a 10-year starter in the NFL and gave the 6-foot-3, 260 pounder comparisons to former Patriot Mike Vrabel. Three to four teams seem to be in competition for his services at the end of the first round. "[The Chargers] are kind of at the beginning of what I look at as the 3-4 teams that need defensive help, and there are a bunch; [San Diego] and New England and Baltimore, Green Bay and there will be a premium on the outside end rush guys, and you have the first shot at whoever those guys are in the second half of the first round," stated Mayock.