Patriots sitting pretty with 33rd pick

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Patriots sitting pretty with 33rd pick

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

INDIANAPOLIS - In 1995, USC quarterback Rob Johnson slipped down the draft board and out of the first day of the draft. From the time Round 3 ended until the start of Round 4 the next day, the Jacksonville Jaguar were inundated with offers for that 99th pick. Everybody wanted Johnson. An enviable spot for the Jags, who - in the end - stayed put and drafted Johnson. The Patriots couldthis year find themselves in a situation similar to the Jags. And don't be surprised if they make a move. Thanks to a deal last year with the Carolina Panthers, New England holds the first pick in the second round (33rd overall). And with the first round on Thursday and Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night, teams will have all day to drool over prospects that slipped out of the first round. "Anytime you have the first pick in any new day it's a valuable pick," confirmed Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Even more valuable when it's the second round in a deep draft.NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock has said he believes there are nine defensive endoutside linebackers with first round grades. It's unlikely they're all going to go, so some team is going to see extreme value in trying to get that first crack at the board on Friday night. And the Patriots love to deal down and add picks. Add that fact to the reality they pick 17th and 28th in the first round and won't be jonesing for a selection at that point. The revised format instituted last year so that the draft could be on in prime time on Thursday and Friday nights has been roundly praised."I thought it was very positive," Ireland said when asked about the change. "I wasn't that positive about it going into it but I felt it worked out well. I didn't reset the board but I did rethink some things based on the way things shook out. It gave me more time to prepare and strategize alittle more. I liked the format."The Patriots areloving it.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”