Mankins, Wilfork next up on Top 100

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Mankins, Wilfork next up on Top 100

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Nobody can argue that the NFL Network sits on its hands and doesn't come up with programming. Whether it's those Top 10 shows filled with knowledgeable and handsome sportswriters or the critically acclaimed "America's Game" Super Bowl retrospectives, if you're in for a minute, you're usually in for an hour on those. I haven't felt as strongly about their current countdown show "The Top 100: Players of 2011" and it's not just because of the awkward grammar (what's with the colon?). I think the main reason is, I don't trust the players to correctly evaluate their peers. There. I said it. Why? Well, most of them are pretty busy on Sundays when the actual games are being played, so I don't trust that they have a complete view of all the teams. And while there's no question a player like defensive end Jason Taylor is 19 times more of an expert than me on who the best left tackles in the league may be -- especially in the AFC East -- I'd be stunned if he knew who the best wideoutsand corners were. When does he actually spend time breaking that stuff down or even pay attention to it?Additionally, I think rooting interests among the players figure into these lists way more than they would if compiled by media types, scouts and pro personnel departments. If you don't think voting coalitions exist, ask yourself ifBrandon Meriweather would have been a 2010 Pro Bowler if he hadn't gone to the University of Miami, a school whose NFL alumni unabashedly promote their fellow Canes.And Lamarr Woodley of the Steelers pretty much agrees with me on this. So I've got that going for me. Be that as it notwithstanding irregardless, the countdown creeps into the top 30 this week and Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork will be in the mix from 40 to 31. Bill Belichick will present Mankins (further evidence, if you ask me, that the coach is about the biggest fan of the disgruntled guard one can find) and Jonathan Vilma of the Saints will present Wilfork. The two played together at... The U. The shows airs Sunday night at 8 p.m. Willie McGinest will be in on the reaction show beginning at 9 p.m. on the NFL Network.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

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Patriots promote coaching assistant Nick Caley to tight ends coach

As the Patriots so often like to do, they promoted from within to fill an open coaching position on Monday. 

The team announced that they've named Nick Caley as their tight ends coach, filling the vacancy left behind when Brian Daboll accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Alabama last week. 

Caley was a coaching assistant with the Patriots for the past two seasons after spending a decade in the college ranks at John Carroll (2005-06), Akron (2006-07), Auburn (2008), Iowa State (2009-11), Eastern Illinois (2012), Arkansas (2013) and Florida Atlantic (2014).

Caley is one of several John Carroll products -- including director of player personnel Nick Caserio, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Shuplinski -- working for the Patriots at the moment. He graduated from the Jesuit university situated just outside of Cleveland in 2006.