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Patriots.com News Blitz - 4/25/2012

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Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that the Patriots officially placed veteran offensive lineman Matt Light on the reserve/retired list on Tuesday, according to a source.  This would mean that Light's retirement is official and he will no longer count against the 90-man roster limit.  The 2001 secound round draft pick spent his entire career in New England serving as Tom Brady's blindside protector.  "It's possible that Light could change his mind (e.g. Randy Moss), but with today's transaction, Light is now considered retired," writes Reiss.

Mike Reiss also ranked the top five needs for the Patriots entering tomorrow's NFL Draft.  At the top of the list is safety, according to Reiss.  "The team's top player at the position, Patrick Chung, has battled some injuries over the last two seasons and is entering the final year of his contract. Bill Belichick attempted to revamp the position last year, but in part because of injuries, it turned in to a revolving door of personnel that even included receiver Matthew Slater playing there. Steve Gregory was signed in free agency, and Devin McCourty could be part of the mix, but more help is likely to be targeted." Rounding out his top five needs are defensive end in even front, defensive end in odd front, kickoff returner, and offensive line.  Just missing the cut on his list were a receiver to develop, cornerback, and sub linebacker.

Zuri Berry of Boston.com writes that Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said he's unsure if he'll attend the Patriots' mandatory mini-camp after missing voluntary workouts last week.  During an interview with ESPN Boston raido's Adam Jones on Tuesday, Welker spoke about the possibility of sitting out mini-camp while he and the Patriots continute to attempt to work out a long-term deal.  "I'm not 100 percent sure on that," Welker said. "But I don't know if I will or not. I'm thinking I'm probably not going to, but you know things could change. We'll just see how it all plays out."

Zuri Berry also compiles a list of twelve players that are considered to be prospective Patriots draft picks and includes an analysis for each player.  The list includes: DT Kendall Reyes, DT Devon Still, CB Janoris Jenkins, C Peter Konz, OLB/DE Shea McClellin, OLB Courtney Upshaw, S Harrison Smith, DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus, S Mark Barron, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, DE Chandler Jones, and G Kevin Zeitler. 

Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald writes that the heat is on for the Patriots to add a pass rusher in this year's NFL Draft.  Guregian believes that the Patriots may see a tackle or two worth selecting, such as LSU's Michael Brockers or Uconn's Kendall Reyes, particularly because of their versatility.  Edge defenders such as Syracuse's Chandler Jones, Clemson's Andre Branch, Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, and Illinois' Whitney Mercilus may also be first-round possibilities. 

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Christopher Price of WEEI.com believes that Patriots' DB Devin McCourty will have a major impact on how New England drafts this year.  Price writes, "If they decide to make McCourty a full-time corner again, New England will likely extend itself in an attempt to nab one of the three safeties who are rated at the top of the board in hopes of building depth at a spot where they were thin last year. And if they want to keep him at safety, that will likely mean they'll turn their attention to other areas of need, like pass rusher or interior offensive lineman."  McCourty, a Pro-Bowl cornerback during his rookie season two years ago, played safety during stretches of the 2011 season.  His versatility gives the Patriots another option when it comes to mixing and matching their defensive backs, according to Price. 

Jeff Howe of NESN.com discusses what it would take for the Patriots to move up in the draft and select a player like Alabama safety Mark Barron.  "For the Patriots to move up to Nos. 12 or 13, I'm guessing they'd have to surrender one of two deals -- either both of their first-round picks, or the 27th pick and both second-rounders (Nos. 48 and 62). If they agree to the latter, I'd guess that they'd acquire a fourth- or fifth-rounder in return," writes Howe. 

Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com reports that the future of Patriots' DE Andre Carter remains unclear.  "Your guess is as good as mine," Carter said Tuesday when asked if he knew the Patriots plans for him. "They kind of just said, 'Thanks for everything,' at the end of the year and I haven't heard from them since. But I'm optimistic everything works out."  Carter says he is spending 2-3 hours, six days per week, rehabbing his quadriceps injury and is hopeful for another chance to play in New England. 

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