Curran at the Combine: Patriots profile remains low

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Curran at the Combine: Patriots profile remains low

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

INDIANAPOLIS - The parade of head coaches and general managers to the podium continues here in Indianapolis. The Patriots do not have a float in this parade. Bill Belichick and player personnel man Nick Caserio have been out of sight, and word is that neither man has plans to speak in an organized setting here at Lucas Oil Stadium. They hustled past reporters Thursday night after a 45-minute meeting at the Westin Hotel where all the GMs and coaches were briefed on rules of engagement in event of a lockout. I did catch up briefly with special teams coach Scott O'Brien this morning. He said his time with the specialists is up and that he's heading back to New England later on Friday. The Patriots' code of silence is already being impressed upon draft prospects. Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi, when asked if he'd spoken with New England said, "I don't know. I can't comment. You have to ask the Patriots."Or you can talk to people who used to work for the Patriots about the Patriots. Chris Price from WEEI.com did that with current Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff who spoke glowingly of Caserio, saying, "Hes a very intelligent guy. Hes a tireless worker. I dont know who works harder than him in the National Football League. Hes won many hats in New England, Bills asked him to do quite a bit, not only on the personnel side, but on the coaching side. You talk about a well-rounded individual. I hope Coach Belichick isnt upset with me that Im pitching Nick Caserio, but I think Nick is a top-notch personnel man. The NFLPA is holding a day-long meeting with player agents. One of the issues coming out today is that the union will allow draft prospects to visit with teams for individual workouts after the CBA expires March 4. If they didn't, it would create draft chaos. The Combine is really an orientation to the players. Interviews are limited to 15 minutes. The pre-draft visits players make to the teams is when the most research is done. But after the draft, if no CBA is in place, communication will cease. So that means no Monday after the draft photo-op on the turf at Gillette. I spent some time talking last night to an ex-Pats coach who gave me some great insight into the Pete Carroll-Bobby Grier regime. Remember back in 1997, Carroll's first season with the Patriots and Grier's first GM draft without Bill Parcells with him?Well, apparently in the draft room that Saturday, the Patriots were on the clock with the 29th pick. And time just kept ticking away as Grier ruminated. The lobbying had been done, the choice was clear. Sam Madison, the corner from Louisville. All the coaches in the room knew where it was going. Then, just before time expired, Grier said, "Chris Canty."The reactions, the ex-coach said, were surprise and anger and the most enduring one was that of defensive line coach Ray Hamilton who stood up, fired his pen off the table and howled, "I'll be a motherscratcher!" and stormed from the room. Canty lasted two seasons in New England, four years in the NFL. He smoked cigarettes, an unusual habit for an NFL corner. Madison was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round and was selected to four Pro Bowls. Ooop.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.