FOXBORO - Friday morning, Dane Fletcher was in the Patriots locker room recounting what it felt like at the cut to 53 when he was a rookie in 2010. "I came in and had a sick feeling," Fletcher explained."Even if you think you're on the team you still don't know if you're one of the guys. It's tough, especially that rookie year, wondering, 'Did I make the team or not.' So I asked one of the coaches, 'Did I make the team?' He said, 'One thing you gotta learn right now is, you never MADE the team, especially around here, you can be gone tomorrow.' That hit home. I said, 'Alright, so I made the team for today and I'll come to work tomorrow.' "The Patriots now have 52 players who can come to work tomorrow. They have room to add one more if they claim or sign a player. Or they can activate a player off a reserve list like right guard Brian Waters.
A few notes on the 52. Rookie running back Brandon Bolden did enough to make it, good for him. He brings a dimension of toughness and should be decent on special teams coverage. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe made the team despite being injured most of his time here. The Patriots have eight perimeter targets between their four tight ends and four wide receivers.
The team went with eight offensive linemen as Donald Thomas and Nick McDonald both made it through. The team is deep at defensive end with six players including both veteran Trevor Scott and rookie undrafted player Justin Francis. Marcus Fortson makes the team as an undrafted rookie at defensive tackle. Tracy White, a special teams core guy, made the team as well despite his being sidelined a ton. Mike Rivera is the middle linebacker backup (or in the mix) behind Brandon Spikes. The six corners kept allowed the team to keep both Alfonzo Dennard and Sterling Moore.
Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room.
"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."
Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.
During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday.
As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.
Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court.
After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
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