Some interesting names may fall to Patriots

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Some interesting names may fall to Patriots

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Some of the most enduring memories from drafts past are the guys who slid. Whether it was Aaron Rodgers rotting in the green room, Brady Quinn canoodling with an increasingly disinterested blond, or Tom Brady walking through his neighborhood with a baseball bat, the guys who drop often become more fascinating than the guys who get picked. And there are three players this year who could take the unwelcome plunge - Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers, Alabama's Mark Ingram and Auburn's Nick Fairley. All three guys could have entertained thoughts of being top five picks at one point. But as the draft looms, there's a growing sense that all could drop precipitously. Start with Bowers. The 6-4, 280-pounder led the nation with 15.5 sacks last year. But I'm hearing there are concerns that his kneehas limited timebefore he'll need major surgery. With a kid whose weight fluctuates drastically and who plays an interior defensive line (or 3-4 end) position, this could be a chronic issue.
My compadre TimGraham at ESPN.com did a mock draft and he had the Patriots taking Bowers with the 17th pick. Even though Bowers is a good kid and potentially great player,at 17, he'stoo big a dice roll with those knee concerns. Especially with a defensive line class that is as good as any Bill Belichick has ever seen. Then there's Ingram, the Heisman Trophy winner in 2009 when he ran for 1,658 yards. His left knee was slow to fully recover from athroscopic surgery last August. There's concern it could be an ongoing trouble spot - though concerns about him aren't nearly as high as they are for Bowers. During the draft process, he's seen his stock fall to the point where it's been speculated he could drop to the second round. The Patriots have been sweet on Ingram for a while. Sweet enough to take him at 17 when they could get him at 28 or even 33? Probably not. Finally, there's Fairley. There is no smoking-gun reason for people to be apprehensive about the massive and athletically gifted wrecking ball. He hasn't been arrested, there are no reports of positive drug tests. But there's a perception he's not a hard-worker and can be immature and irresponsible. He reportedly blew off a dinner with the Miami Dolphins in March. The Titans are a possible landing spot for Fairley at No. 8. ESPN's Paul Kuharsky, the AFC South blogger, spoke to scouts recently about Fairley and asked them if he was as temperamental as Albert Haynesworth. The consensus was that Fairley was nothing like Haynesworth. He was just very, well . . . Southern. Fairley is more happy-go-lucky, hes not Haynesworth, the scout told Kuharsky. Albert played with a huge chip on his shoulder, like everybody was against him. This kid, when he hits the field, yeah, no question hes a competitive son of a gun. But hes not Albert . . .

I think Fairley clearly has a chance to be a special player. Youve got to remember, hes a Southern, Southern kid. Hes a bayou-type kid. The Titans had a guy like defensive end Antwan Odom, who was a bayou kid -- it can be misconstrued as not having a passion. But I dont think thats the case. I think this kid is a fun-loving type of kid whos silly.

Yeah, hes going to make mistakes. Are they going to be glaring or things done on purpose? His mistakes are going to come out of, pardon the expression, ignorance, just not knowing. License registration and stuff like that -- 'Oh, I didnt even know I had to register my car.'

To me, he's as dynamic a defensive lineman as any guy in this draft. And if he's sitting there at 17 - or within hailing distance of 17 - the Patriots should make a move to get him.

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

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.