Dennard found guilty of assualting officer, resisting arrest

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Dennard found guilty of assualting officer, resisting arrest

Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty Wednesday of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in Lincoln, Nebraska last April 21.

Sentencing for the Patriots second-year corner will be April 11. He faces up to five years in prison for the Class III-A felony andor a fine of up to 10,000. An additional year in prison and 1,000 fine could be added for the misdemeanor resisting arrest charge.

There is no minimum sentence for the felony so Dennard could get off without jail time.

Lori Pilger of the Lincoln (Nebraska) Star Journal has been following the case. Her story detailing closing arguments and the start of jury deliberations can be found here.

Dennard already paid a significant monetary price for the arrest which came a week before the 2012 draft. Prior to his arrest, he was seen as a second or third-round pick.

The Patriots were able to draft him in the seventh round as the arrest led directly to his resultant slip.

Dennard's record prior to the arrest was clean and his coach at Nebraska, Bo Pelini, staked his reputation on Dennard's incident being out of character.

After the draft, Bill Belichick said, "We just don't feel that's who he is, or even how the account of the incident came out in some places, that's what happened. But we'll see. Bottom line is we were comfortable with him, and that if he did make a mistake like so many of us have, that he'll be able to represent our organization and our team the way we want it represented and we were comfortable taking him."

Dennard's agent, Brian Murphy, said Dennard's reaction was that things happen for a reason.

Meanwhile, Dennard's Twitter feed on Wednesday didn't read like that of a young man panicked about his future. In the hours leading up to the jury's verdict, he solicited votes on what video game system to purchase and shared his choice of music. After the verdict, he mentioned that he had to get a run in.

Details like that in the hands of a judge (whose sentencing will be followed closely by the local police union serving Lincoln, Nebraska) don't give the outward impression of a person taking the verdict with great seriousness. And impressions will matter.

Football-wise, Dennard's future is now a concern. He blossomed into a starter as a rookie and has a bright future on the field. His sentencing will come before the draft so the Patriots won't have to project whether they'll have his services in 2013 or not, they will know.

With Dennard in hot water and Aqib Talib a pending free agent, the Patriots have some thinking to do when it comes to their cornerback position.

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.