Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe reports that free-agent tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has signed a one-year deal with the Patriots. "Listed at 6-4, 240 pounds, Shiancoe is the fourth experienced tight end on the Patriots roster, joining Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Daniel Fells," writes Young. Shiancoe met with the club at Gillette Stadium last week and was reportedly deciding between the Patriots and Eagles. The 10-year veteran caught 36 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns last season with the Vikings.
Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com sees the availability of offensive guard Brian Waters as a "lead storyline upon the commencement of camp." Waters was absent from OTAs and was excused from the Patriots' mandatory minicamp in the spring, which raised questions about his possible retirement. "If he returns and plays at a level comparable to last season, the Patriots will have one of the league's top bargain performers," writes Yates. "Should he opt for retirement, the Patriots could be without both of their starting guards [Logan Mankins is on the active/PUP list] from last year to begin camp."
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald believes there will be a heated battle at the center position between offensive linemen Dan Koppen and Dan Connolly. Howe notes that Koppen has valuable experience having won two Super Bowls with the Patriots and "understands the game and relays the play calls as well as anyone on the line." While Connolly doesn't have that experience, Howe writes that he "has become a better blocker" and "has 2 inches and 10 pounds on Koppen in size." Howe also points out that Connolly could move to left guard depending on the health of lineman Logan Mankins.
Jeff Howe also writes that running back Joseph Addai has impressed second-year back Stevan Ridley with his work ethic in preparing for this season. "Joe is working as if he's a rookie in the league," Ridley tells Howe. Ridley and the 29-year-old Addai, both LSU alums, worked out together in Baton Rouge for most of the summer. "Even when we thought we were done, Joe has been like, 'Come on, let's get a few extra,' " adds Ridley. "That's what you expect out of a veteran, and that's what I'm starting to learn."
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com picks rookie defensive back Tavon Wilson as his player to watch in training camp this season. In a video posted on ESPNBoston.com, Reiss points out that many think the Patriots took Wilson too high in the second round of the draft, so it will be interesting to find out what the club sees in him. Reiss notes that Wilson is a "tweener" that can play both safety and cornerback, giving him the "versatility and flexibility that Bill Belichick generally likes." He adds that Wilson "could play a big role in sub packages, which the Patriots were in 63% of the time in the regular season last year."