Tucker: This is the best Patriots offense I've seen

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Tucker: This is the best Patriots offense I've seen

The Patriots faster-than-the-speed-of-sound offense has been a hot topic around New England over the last few days, and it's gaining national notice too.

Ross Tucker of NBC's Sports Talk was on with CSNNE's Bob Neumeier to talk about the offense, and count Tucker as a fan.

"Well I think it's pretty awesome, and it's really interesting to me, Bob, how the last couple of years a lot of the concepts of college have actually come to the NFL. It uses to always be the opposite way, it used to be always that everything would trifle down.

Tucker said the Pats are "not afraid to beg, borrow, and steal from other successful collegiate organizations"

But just how good does Tucker think the Pats offense is? They broke records in 2007 . . . but are they better than that?

"I think this is the best Patriots offense I've ever seen. I know that will give a couple people pause, but they really have everything."

Tucker defends his point by saying that the Pats were a great offense last season and added a "dynamic running game and deep threat in Brandon Lloyd.

Speaking of receiving threats, Wes Welker may have ruffled a few feathers with his joke about Belichick, saying that it's "always nice to stick it in Bill's face" when talking about his production in Sunday's win over the Broncos.

"There's always a little bit of truth to sarcasm," Tucker said.

But he also says that Welker should be on the field as much as possible.

"If the Patriots lose any games when they're not playing Wes Welker pretty much full time I think they're opening themselves up to a tremendous amount of criticism from folks like me."

Prototypical Patriots: Foreman's size, athleticism ideal for 'big back' role

Prototypical Patriots: Foreman's size, athleticism ideal for 'big back' role

The Patriots may have their "big back" for 2017 and beyond by Monday if the Bills decide not to match the offer sheet Mike Gillislee received from New England. Maybe Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio feel as though Rex Burkhead can handle that role. Who knows? Maybe they end up bringing back LeGarrette Blount and use him as their between-the-tackles hammer. 

PHIL PERRY'S PROTOTYPICAL PATRIOTS DRAFT PREVIEW

However it shakes out, it's looking less and less like the Patriots will need to draft a big body to serve as their bruiser on first and second down. But at the moment there is enough uncertainty at that position that it's worth rolling through the series of names who fit what the Patriots typically like in their early-down runners.

Having the size to withstand the punishment associated with that role is obviously crucial. Drafting someone who looks like Blount (6-feet, 250 pounds) won't happen this year, but the Patriots have manned that spot with smaller players in the past. Stevan Ridley (5-foot-11, 225 pounds) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) are some of the more recent examples of Patriots "big backs" who weren't exactly built like tanks yet were entrusted with that job. 

Athleticism helps, too. Backs that size who can run a 40-yard dash in the 4.6-second range with a three-cone drill time of under seven seconds and a broad jump of about 10 feet? They're not your run-of-the-mill plodders, and would be intriguing fits in the Patriots offense. 

D'Onta Foreman, Texas, 6-feet, 234 pounds: Perhaps the best combination of size and athleticism that this class of running backs has to offer, Foreman ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. According to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, who has combine data going back to 2003, no running back weighing 232 pounds or more has ever run a 40 that quickly. He also recorded a 33-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump. Foreman fumbled seven times in 323 carries during his 2,000-yard season for the Longhorns, a number that might force the Patriots to look elsewhere if they're in the big-back market, but after the season he claimed he played with a broken hand that impacted his ability to secure the football. 

Kareem Hunt, Toledo, 5-foot-10, 216 pounds: Another eye-opening combination of power and explosiveness, Hunt ran a 4.62 40-yard dash in Indy, jumped 36.5 inches in the vertical (fifth-best among backs at the combine) and 119 inches in the broad jump. He ran for 1,475 yards and 10 scores last season while proving he has some value as a receiver out of the backfield as well with 41 grabs for 403 yards and a touchdown. Always falling forward, Hunt may not be quite as imposing as past Patriots early-down backs, but he plays bigger than his size.

Corey Clement, Wisconsin, 5-foot-10, 220 pounds: The former Badger checks just about every box from a physical standpoint: At his pro day he posted a 4.57-second 40-yard dash, a 6.91-second three-cone drill and a 10-foot broad jump. The Patriots may shy away for other reasons, though. Per Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, his 2015 was a wash due to "injury, attitude and an off-field incident."

Brian Hill, Wyoming, 6-foot-1, 219 pounds: A first-team All-Mountain West selection after running for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, Hill stood out among running backs from bigger programs at this year's combine. He finished the week in Indy with a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, a 10-foot-5 broad jump, a 7.03-second three-cone drill, and his 11.29-second 60-yard shuttle time was second only to Christian McCaffrey who measured two inches shorter and almost 20 pounds lighter. He may require a Day 2 selection, but if the Patriots are still without a true big-back on the roster going into the draft, Hill could be the pile-mover they're looking for.

Wayne Gallman, Clemson, 6-feet, 215 pounds: The lightest player on this list, Gallman still runs as hard as any of them. His 4.6-second 40, 120-inch broad jump and 4.28-second 20-yard shuttle could be enticing for the Patriots. He was a first-team All-ACC player in 2015 after rushing for 1,527 yards. Last season he ran for more than 500 fewer yards but saw 87 fewer carries and still set a career-high for scores with 15. 

James Conner, Pitt, 6-foot-1, 233 pounds: Conner's athleticism (4.65-second 40-yard dash, 29-inch vertical, 113-inch broad jump, 7.41-second three-cone) doesn't quite stand up to the thresholds the Patriots have for their backs, but his frame, his hard-charging style and mental toughness may earn him a look in the later rounds. He overcame Hodgkin's lymphoma to rush for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Prior to his illness, he was named ACC Player of the Year in 2014 when he ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Aaron Hernandez's funeral will be Monday in Connecticut

Aaron Hernandez's funeral will be Monday in Connecticut

The funeral for Aaron Hernandez, the ex-Patriots tight end who committed suicide in prison this week, will be Monday in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.

The ceremony and burial will be private.

Hernandez's family issued a statement Saturday:

The family of Aaron Hernandez wishes to thank all of you for the thoughtful expressions of condolences. We wish to say goodbye to Aaron in a private ceremony and thank everyone in advance for affording us a measure of privacy during this difficult time.

Hernandez, serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd, hanged himself Wednesday in his prison cell, five days after he was acquitted in a 2012 double murder in Boston. He was 27.