Patriots name eight to practice squad

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Patriots name eight to practice squad

From Patriots press release:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. The New England Patriots announced today the signing of eight players to the practice squad. Signed today were: LB Markell Carter, RB Eric Kettani, OL Matt Kopa, DE Aaron Lavarias, OL Nick McDonald, WR Kerry Taylor, S Ross Ventrone and OL Thomas Welch.

2011 PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS

Carter, a linebacker from Central Arkansas, was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 194th selection overall. Carter, 6-4, 248 pounds, accumulated 143 total tackles and 16.5 sacks as a defensive end during his college career at Central Arkansas He started all 12 games as a junior and senior. Carter earned All-Southland Conference following his senior season in 2010.

Kettani, 5-11, 235 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 4, 2009, out of Navy and was placed on the reserve military list on July 23, 2009. He was activated from the reserve military list on July 28, 2011.

Kopa, 6-6, 303 pounds, was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent out of Stanford on June 8, 2010. He was released by the 49ers on Sept. 3, 2010 and signed to the practice squad on Sept. 5, 2010. Kopa was signed to the Miami Dolphins 53-man roster from the 49ers practice squad on Nov. 9, 2011 but was inactive for the final eight games of the season. He was released by Miami on Sept. 3, 2011.

Lavarias, 6-2, 255 pounds, was signed by the Patriots on July 27, 2011 as a rookie free agent out of Idaho. He was named second team All-WAC as a senior in 2010 after finishing with 52 total tackles and 10.0 sacks.

McDonald, 6-4, 316 pounds, was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as a rookie free agent out of Grand Valley State on April 30, 2010. He was inactive for all 16 regular-season games and four postseason games with the Packers last season. McDonald was released by the Packers on Sept. 3, 2011.

Ventrone, 5-8, 190 pounds, was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Villanova on April 29, 2010. He was waived by the Patriots on Sept. 4, 2010 and then signed to the practice squad on Oct. 19, 2010 where he finished the season. Ventrone went to camp with the Patriots in 2011 before being released on August 10 and then re-signed on August 29.

Taylor, 6-0, 196 pounds, was originally signed by Green Bay as a rookie free agent on July 28, 2011 out of Arizona State. He was released by Green Bay on Sept. 3, 2011. He appeared in 46 games with 20 starts at Arizona State and finished his career with 112 receptions for 1,433 yards and seven touchdowns.

Welch, 6-7, 310 pounds, was originally selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (208th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt. After being released by the Patriots on Sept. 4, 2010 be was signed to the Minnesota practice squad on Sept. 6, 2010. He was signed to the Minnesota 53-man roster on Dec. 14 but was inactive for the final three games of the season. Welch was released by Minnesota on Sept. 3, 2011.

Quick Slants The Column: On booing Goodell and overvaluing Jimmy G

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Quick Slants The Column: On booing Goodell and overvaluing Jimmy G

Big night, Philadelphia. How you gonna treat the man NFL owners pay $35 million to be their meat shield? The first round of the draft is one of the few Roger Goodell appearances the league can’t manage. Released from the protection of John Mara’s coat pocket, Goodell has to hear a voice vote from fans every time he approaches the mic. He can grin, bang nipples and backslap all he wants with the first-rounders and sling that “Welcome to the family!” line of BS. He can hit the stage with the ghosts of Reggie White, Buddy Ryan and Chuck Bednarik. Philly’s too smart to get caught watching the paint dry. 

Got into a brief and spirited debate on the topic of Jimmy Garoppolo this morning on our “Boston Sports Tonight” email chain. I opined that perhaps Garoppolo is a bit overrated. Overvalued may have been a better adjective. Here’s why. With a fleet of teams dying for a quarterback they can build around, the Patriots squelched all Jimmy G suitors by declaring him untouchable. We may ultimately find out it was all a ruse and the team winds up getting a boatload of picks in exchange for him but from everything I’ve been told since September that’s not happening. Garoppolo will stay a Patriot and the team will figure out later how to proceed with him once his contract is up in March.

If Garoppolo isn’t franchised and doesn’t sign an extension to back up Tom Brady until Brady either retires (not on the horizon) or is traded (gasp), then why did the team pass on the haul it could have had? The theory most often posited is that Garoppolo is Brady insurance. If Brady gets hurt in 2017 and Jacoby Brissett is the next-man-up, the team is cooked. But that reality has existed throughout Brady’s tenure whether he had Rohan Davey, Matt Gutierrez, Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett behind him. It didn’t faze them then. Garoppolo is better than all of them. Potentially. And that’s probably why the Patriots don’t want to make a decision on him before they have to. They look at all these forever .500 teams trying to find a quarterback answer and think, “There, but for the grace of God and the presence of Brady, go I.” Garoppolo isn’t going to be better than Brady. But he fits the suit better than anyone they’ve ever had and they like the fact they found him, developed him and were right about him. Clearly they believe he is a greater asset as a backup with a soon-to-expire contract and a complicated future than the collection of young players they’d be able to draft with whatever picks they got back in a deal. This, of course, runs counter to the way the team has traditionally done business. Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio have found innovative ways to acquire, stockpile and flip picks. The fact the team’s already got its 2017 draft haul of Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, Dwayne Allen and Mike Gillislee thanks to pick-flipping. Garoppolo could yield the next batch of picks the Patriots could use in the “rent-to-own” model they’ve shrewdly adopted. But Garoppolo is the extreme outlier. And the Brady-Garoppolo-what’ll-they-do dance is fascinating because it highlights the confluence of everything – draft, free agency, cap management, trades, potential vs. proven, old vs. young, icon vs. phenom – at the most important position in sports on the greatest franchise of this era. 

Which brings me to this: we’ll have former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis in studio tonight at 9pm on Boston Sports Tonight helping us through the first round of the draft. Looking forward to his insight on why Garoppolo is persona-non-tradeable. Put the over-under on “Tommys” at about 47.

Patriots seven-round mock draft: Shakeup in the secondary

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Patriots seven-round mock draft: Shakeup in the secondary

In order to shake things up a bit in our third and final mock draft of the pre-draft season -- you can find our first two here and here -- we went ahead and made a trade for the Patriots.

In a move silimar to the one they pulled off involving Chandler Jones last year, in this mock draft the Patriots dealt Malcolm Butler to the Saints in order to pick up some draft capital. But instead of receiving the No. 32 pick overall in return, Bill Belichick pulled in a haul of picks that provided nearly equal value: No. 42 overall (second round), No. 103 (third round) and No. 196 overall (sixth round). 

That deal bumped the total number of Patriots selections from six to nine, and by picking up a second-rounder they gave themselves an opportunity at a top-end talent.

Click here for the gallery.