Light says leg is improving

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Light says leg is improving

FOXBORO - Matt Light shed little light on the reason he was unable to go Saturday against the Dolphins but did say his injured leg is improving. "We're getting there buddy," Light said Tuesday afternoon in the Patriots locker room when asked how his leg was doing. "Just wasn't able to go the other day. Unfortunately. And it's a rough deal, you know. Gameday. Making that decision. We'll work this week and get back out there but it's feeling better."The nature of the injury and when Light sustained it is still unclear.He had praise, however, for the players shuffled to make up for his absence. "I think those guys all fought hard," Light said. "To come back in the second half that way and battle back, and get a win, that was a heck of an effort. We have a lot of things we have to correct, and there's always a lot of things we have to do better. But those guys did a great job out there. Of course, guys stepping up and playing positions they hadn't practiced, and going through plays they haven't run -- maybe at all in some cases -- it's not an easy task." It was especially hard for the subs for both Light and left guard Logan Mankins given the short week they were working on and the lack of practice reps backups get during the week. "It was a short week anyway, relatively, and there are only so many things you can rep out there in practice," Light explained. "You want your guys that are going to be playing in the game to take most of those. A lot of times these guys that are in the backup position, that come in and out of the game, they're not going to get those reps. So it comes down to the film room and understanding the plays, and the concepts and what we do, and doing it mentally for the most part." As for Mankins, Light said he spent hours in meetings with him on Tuesday.
"He's a tough guy," Light said."He's a guy that's never missed a practice or a game...but I'm sure the cowboy will ride again. His Fu Manchu still looks pretty good."Light also spoke about the presentation the team made to owner Robert Kraft after Saturday's game. "You realize off the field how much it means to the Kraft family to represent yourself in a certain way and live your life in acertain way and keep family at the top of the list," said Light."I think a lot of times you forget about it in the day-to-day hustle and bustle and I think to each guy in this locker room we wanted to tellMr. Kraftand his family we understand this has been a tough year. We wanted to commemorate something that was one of a kind that was special that (symbolized) what we dedicated the season to."

NFL Draft picks No. 25-31: Broncos move up to grab QB Lynch

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NFL Draft picks No. 25-31: Broncos move up to grab QB Lynch

No access at Gillette? No first-round pick unless the Patriots make a swap into the latter stages of the round? No problem. We're all over it from the palatial offices here in Burlington. We go pick-by-pick through the first round.

Steelers: Artie Burns, CB, Miami

Mike Tomlin had to be a little bit miffed when he saw the Bengals take Williams Jackson III with the No. 24 pick. The Steelers needed a corner in the worst way, and their division rival took the top available player at that position one slot ahead of them. Credit Pittsburgh for sticking with its plan if it works out, though. Burns is a corner who has all the traits you could ever want -- length, athleticism, ball skills -- but he's going to need work on his technique if he wants to slow down AJ Green twice a year. 

Broncos: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

He may not be ready to start right away, but the Broncos knew what they were doing when they traded up. Lynch is a big-armed quarterback who at 6-foot-7 has enough athleticism to be able to roll out and make throws on the run -- something that will be asked of him in Gary Kubiak's offense. Mark Sanchez still may be Denver's best bet in Week 1, but if Lynch even approaches his potential in Year 1, he could see some starter's snaps. 

Packers: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA

He's not built like BJ Raji, but Clark will help fill left the void Raji left behind when the veteran defensive tackle walked away from the game this offseason. A strong player who hasn't yet turned 21 years old, Clark has all kinds of upside to offer Mike McCarthy's defense. 

49ers: Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford

The Niners traded up to this spot, leading many to believe that they'd go after a quarterback. Connor Cook, perhaps? Instead they made the oh-so-flashy move to lock up a guard. Garnett had a lot of success in Stanford's pro-style offense playing alongside left tackle Kyle Murphy. Garnett is a machine in the running game and should be a longtime starter. 

Cardinals: Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss

Arizona came into the draft pretty well-set offensively so adding an explosive presence on the interior like Nkemdiche helps make them a more well-rounded roster. He has plenty of off-the-field concerns, but if he can keep his head on straight, this will represent great value for coach Bruce Arians and Co. The Patriots offensive line will have its hands full Week 1 with Nkemdiche, Chandler Jones and Calais Campbell to worry about. 

Panthers: Vernon Butler, DL, Louisiana Tech

The Panthers could've used a corner or a receiver. A defensive end might've made sense, too. Instead, they went after this big-bodied monster. Weighing in at over 320 pounds, Butler handles his weight well and should be able to help collapse opposing offensive lines at the next level. A defense that was already very good just got a little better up front. 

Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

The Seahawks (and quarterback Russell Wilson) can breathe easy as they escape the first round with some much-needed offensive line help. There are some questions as to where Ifedi will play on the line -- is he a guard or a right tackle? -- but his length and overall athleticism should help him turn into a building block in the trenches.

Who could the Patriots have had at No. 29?

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Who could the Patriots have had at No. 29?

Had their first-round pick not been confiscated by Roger Goodell and Troy Vincent, who might the Patriots have selected with the 29th overall pick?

A very good football player. And that’s where the sting is. Yeah, it sucks if Tom Brady sits four games and that’s going to put the Patriots a couple steps back in 2016.

But players like Reggie Ragland, Myles Jack, Sterling Shepard, A’Shawn Robinson, Derrick Henry, Kevin Dodd or Jarron Reed all could have been Patriots and instead fall to the teams behind them

On the bright side, the Patriots can now partake in the 2016 NFL Draft.

On the down side, there were so many options. Jack, seen as a top-five talent, has injury concerns that caused his red-flagged posterior to slide tragically down the board. The UCLA linebacker is way, way, way deeper in his free-fall than anyone expected.

For safe picks, there were a fleet of Alabama players sitting there. The linebacker Ragland is a classic two-down inside linebacker who could thump. Kind of a better Brandon Spikes. Robinson’s a penetrating defensive lineman that gets the job done with power and athleticism. Henry was the Heisman Trophy winner at running back, Dodd is a destructive edge rusher from Clemson who is on the rise and Reed was a classic nose-tackle also from Alabama.

Then there was my guy, wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Plus a few good corners. None of whom will be in New England.

Said NFL Network host Rich Eisen as pick 29 came up and a picture of a cascading fountain was broadcast, “It would have been lit up Patriots colors. But we all know why it isn’t.”