Curran: Could Pats pass rush use a little Moore?

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Curran: Could Pats pass rush use a little Moore?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - The recognizable names with long resumes keep joining, or re-joining, the Patriots. Shaun Ellis. Andre Carter. Gerard Warren. Mark Anderson. (OK, nobody really knew Anderson, but the kid had a dozen sacks in 2006.) These signings are aimed at fixing the lack of pressure brought by the Patriots front seven. It's a shortcoming that's led to the Patriots' talented secondary sometimes being hung out to dry and to the team's statistical standing to be a downright embarrassment (47.1 percent of the time opposing offenses converting on third down in 2010). But along with all the additions made in this calendar year, one made at the end of last season should be watched as well. Eric Moore, a scrub's scrub since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 draft, made plays for the Patriots after being signed off the street on December 3. In four games, he had 13 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Not the stuff of legend, but worth remarking upon. And to that point in Moore's career, there had been nothing remarkable to discuss; the 30-year-old Moore had done precious little. The Patriots signed him out of the UFL where he played after finding no team willing to take a flier on him. At 6-4, 268 pounds, Moore seems to be the kind of upfield 4-3 defensive end the Patriots could make use of as they transition to what seems to be a more attacking style of defense. Further, he's motivated. His agenda at this point isn't playing for a big free agent contract or elevating his brand to make a Pro Bowl. He is hanging by a thread and fighting to stay a part of this team. The Patriots have had myriad success stories from guys in similar situations or with older guys inclined to chase team success more than personal ones. "I'm just trying to get better," Moore said Saturday after finishing a lengthy post-practice practice with a few other defensive ends. Asked about his 2010 flurry of solid play, Moore stayed party line, answering, "That was in the past. I gotta just work on what I'm doing right now and trying to get better. ...At the end of the day, Coach Bill (Belichick) makes the decisions. I'm going to do what I can do and put good game film out there. "Moore warmed a little when talk of technique and study was broached. "I take what the offensive player gives me," he said when asked what his style of pass rush tends to be. "If he gives me the speed rush, I'm going to take it. If he gives me the power rush, I'm going to take it. Whatever he gives me, I'm taking. I just study hard. Study the offensive player and see what he's doing and try to learn what NOT to do when I go against him."During this camp, Moore has more than his share of solid drill work and pressures in 11-on-11 drills.When asked about doing well in 1-on-1s, though, Moore was bewildered. "What 1-on-1s you guys been looking at?" he asked."I been horrible in 1-on-1s. That's something I need to improve on. I'm a little rusty coming back in."Hard grader? "I'm kinda hard on myself," he admitted. "If I don't expect the best out of me, who will? I got guys watching me day in and day out. If I'm out there playing around and not doing my job, they'll see that same thing. Every mistake you make you will fix the next week or the next day. If you're a player who doesn't correct your mistakes, you won't be in the league long."Some players say that because it's the right thing to say. Moore has lived it. And that gives this often overlooked player a fighting chance to stick and make an impact in a suddenly crowded defensive end field.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.