Patriots cut Warren, Butler; add Gronkowski, Edds

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Patriots cut Warren, Butler; add Gronkowski, Edds

News broke yesterday that Darius Butler was out of New England, but today it was made official. The Patriots also announced the release of DT Gerard Warren.

The two open roster spots will be filled by new Patriots signees TE Dan Gronkowski and LB A.J. Edds.

Warren played in all 16 games for the Patriots last season, making 10 starts. He tallied 36 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Warren could return to the Patriots at some point to make their already deep D-line even deeper, but only if he's not picked up elsewhere first.

Gronkowski will join his brother Rob in the Patriots' tight end corps and will likely serve as a blocking tight end, perhaps filling the role Alge Crumpler served last season. Gronkowski caught eight balls for 65 yards 12 games with the Broncos last season.

A.J. Edds led the Dolphins in tackles this preseason but was released, according to several accounts, perhaps prematurely.

He was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft but spent his entire rookie season on the Injured Reserve after tearing his ACL.

Edds made 219 tackles in his four-year career at Iowa. He also intercepted seven passes, including five during his senior year.

The release of Edds was a bit of a surprise because after missing his rookie season, Edds has yet to show what he's capable of.

He looks to fit into a middle linebacker role on the Pats, but has the ability to play a number of positions.

Check out Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran's Morning Walk-Through for more on the former 'Phin.

Patriots address OL depth with Joe Thuney

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Patriots address OL depth with Joe Thuney

The selection of Joe Thuney with the 78th overall pick means the Patriots hit a need position at offensive tackle.

Thuney played tackle on right and left side and, while he’s small relative to the Patriots mountainous starting tackles (6-5, 295 pounds), he will likely have a redshirt year to get used to the pro game. That’s what happened with left tackle Nate Solder when he was drafted in 2011 and Matt Light was still manning left tackle.

With Vollmer getting closer to the end, Thuney could conceivably play on the edge but he also has the versatility to play all five offensive line spots. The Patriots don’t need him at all five. They are two deep at center with Bryan Stork and David Andrews, seem set at guard with Tre Jackson, Josh Kline and Shaq Mason.

The depth behind Solder and Vollmer is where the concern is. Marcus Cannon hasn’t developed any consistency and Cameron Fleming is entering his third season but remains nothing to get excited about. L’Adrian Waddle was an in-season pickup the Patriots re-signed but he’s in the same boat as the other two. Keavon Martin and Chris Barker are end of the roster guys.

Thuney’s got a huge brain. He earned his degree in three years and is working on another in international studies with a minor in Spanish. While he’s seen as an aggressive, lunch pail guy with good feet but a little bit of body stiffness and no natural position, he’s got a lot of the traits the Patriots adore in terms of smarts, aggressiveness, versatility and coachability.

2016 NFL Draft: Patriots select QB Jacoby Brissett

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2016 NFL Draft: Patriots select QB Jacoby Brissett

You knew the Patriots were in the market for a quarterback. With Tom Brady staring at a four-game suspension to start the season, they had to add someone behind Jimmy Garoppolo for depth. 

What you didn't know was if that quarterback was going to arrive via the draft. And if he did, you certainly didn't know the round in which the pick would be made. 

Those questions were answered late on Friday night when the Patriots grabbed North Carolina State's Jacoby Brissett with pick No. 91 overall in the third round. 

At 6-foot-4, 231 pounds, he has a frame that's ready to absorb hits at the NFL level and an arm that should be allow him to make whatever throw he's asked. What may have made him particularly attractive to the Patriots is that he finished his college career with a 46-to-15 touchdown to interception ratio, showing that he understands the importance of good decision-making. 

He's not the most accurate down-the-field thrower, and he'll need some polish before he's trusted as a primary backup, but he has the physical tools to succeed as a pro.

Brissett is also thought of as a good teammate. His left tackle from last year Joe Thuney had nothing but praise for the confidence Brissett exuded in the huddle.

According to CBS Sports draft analyst Dan Brugler, Brissett's leadership qualities extended off the field as well. He wrote hand-written letters to his offensive teammates before each game, and he baked his offensive linemen desserts.

Only time will tell if he'll be able to work avocado product into his culinary repertoire for his new teammates.