Patriots try out six players, one tweets he's joined 49ers

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Patriots try out six players, one tweets he's joined 49ers

The Patriots continue to feel out the available talent on the market, trying out six players on Sunday.

New England tried out Chandler Fenner, defensive back Holy Cross; Jerry Franklin, linebacker Arkansas; Buddy Jackson, defensive back Pittsburgh; Ricardo Lockette, wide receiver Ft. Valley St.; Tyler Nielsen, linebacker Iowa; JK Schaffer, linebacker Cincinnati.

Lockette, a wide receiver, had a minimal role on the Seahawks last season before being cut by the team prior to this season. He tweeted Monday evening, "Boarding my flight I will miss seattle so much but I very honored and proud to be an ....." The Pats tryout, coupled with the timing of Lockette's Tweet could have meant he was on his way to New England. On top of that, Albany Herald reports that Seahawks wideout Golden Tate tweeted last night (and then deleted) "good luck lock, until u play us". The Pats and Seahawks play on October 14. BUT . . . Lockette just tweeted, "I am the newest member of the 49ers". So, that's that.

Fenner, a free agent rookie, was a final cutdown day casualty of the Kansas City Chiefs this year. He spent four years at Holy Cross, starting the final two seasons. He finished with 68 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass breakups in his senior year. He was also a member of the Holy Cross Track and Field team, specializing in sprints and jumps.

Franklin was undrafted, but signed by the Broncos as an rookie free agent. He was later released on the team's final cutdown day. Franklin finished his four-year career with 51 games played, 369 tackles (31 for loss), 10 sacks, and five interceptions. Franklin was the team's leading tackler last season, and played on the same defense as Patriots DE Jake Bequette.

Jackson was signed by the Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent and looked to be doing well, but was later waived by the team in August. It looks like an undisclosed injury was the reason. Jackson has some speed and according to Rob Rang of nfldraftscout.com used it to impress scouts along with his leaping ability. Jackson was primarily a special teamer (kick returner) at Pittsburgh but got time at corner in his senior year, finishing with 34 tackles.

Nielsen was signed and then released by the Vikings when they trimmed their roster to 75 players. Nielsen is a player that NFL Network's Mike Mayock was particularly high on as a sleeper linebacker. Here's what Mayock said: "Nielsen is very undervalued. He played through some injuries this year. If you didnt know that, you might not like him. But I think hes one of the better special teams players in this draft who ultimately might be a starting SAM (strong side) backer in this league. And I think youll be able to get him somewhere around the fifth round.

Schaffer was cut by the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie on the final day of roster cutdowns. He was later signed days later by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the practice squad but released on September 18. Schaffer was not only Cincinnati's best tackler, but was the Big East Conference active leader in tackles, recording 100 or more tackles in three straight seasons.

(Jimmy Toscano contributed to this report)

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

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.