Patriots heading into 2013 with five picks

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Patriots heading into 2013 with five picks

It's looking like the Patriots will be light on early draft picks next April.

For the first time since 2007, the Patriots don't own multiple picks in any of the first three rounds.

New England currently holds first-, second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks.

Their fifth-round pick went to the Redskins as part of the Albert Haynesworth deal. Their sixth-round pick went to the Bengals in the Chad Ochocinco trade.

(Trying . . . to withhold . . . wiseass comments . . . )

The Patriots had two first-round picks and two seconds in last week's draft. In 2011, they had two first-rounders and -- after some dealing -- wound up selecting twice in the second round and twice in the third. In 2010, they had three second-round picks (Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes). In 2009, they didn't have a first-rounder but had four second-rounders and two thirds (Patrick Chung, Ron Brace, Darius Butler, Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon Tate, Tyrone McKenzie). And in 2008, they had two third-rounders (Shawn Crable and Kevin O'Connell).

The Patriots will likely get a couple of compensatory picks next year in return for Mark Anderson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis leaving as free agents (the granting of compensatory picks is based on a few factors including number of free agents signed by the team that had players signed away, value of a lost free agent's new deal and performance of the free agent with his new team).

And there's a good chance there will be some deals afoot as well. But as it stands now, next April may be relatively quiet in Foxboro.

Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

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Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

The Patriots will be without two of last year's defensive starters when training camp begins later this week. 

Both Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. They are eligible to come off the list at any time. Once they are removed from the list, they will be eligible to practice fully. Players on PUP count against the 90-man training-camp roster.

Undrafted rookie tackle Andrew Jelks will begin camp on the active/non-football injury list. The Vanderbilt product dealt with knee injuries that kept him off the field each of the last two seasons. 

Neither Hightower, nor Branch, nor Jelks participated in spring practices at Gillette Stadium. Hightower was present for voluntary work, but during practices open to the media he typically did some conditioning off to the side. Branch skipped optional team activities (as he usually does), and though he was in Foxboro for mandatory minicamp, he did not practice during that three-day stretch.

Hightower was limited last season with knee and shoulder injuries. The MMQB.com's Albert Breer said on Sports Sunday that Hightower's health concerns made teams reticent to make him offers that would lure him away from New England. 

Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

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Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

In what’s been a somewhat busy offseason for their secondary, veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers is in talks with the Patriots, according to Adam Schefter. 

Flowers, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chiefs and last three with the Chargers, was released in March. He is set to meet with the Cardinals this week as well. 

The Pats lost cornerback Logan Ryan this offseason, but landed the top free agent corner on the market in Stephon Gilmore. A potential addition of Flowers might give them an insurance policy if second-year pro Cyrus Jones fails to improve from a dismal rookie season. 

Flowers was limited to just six games last season, as a concussion ended his season in December. He has played in at least 11 games in the rest of his NFL seasons. His lone Pro Bowl nod came in the 2013 season.