Patriots potential draftees: Danny Watkins

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Patriots potential draftees: Danny Watkins

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series oflooks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Danny Watkins.

Danny Watkins, 6-3, 310

OG, OL, C, Baylor

The Skinny:One of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, the 26-year-old (he'll turn 27 during his rookie year) didn't play football until junior college when he was enrolled in firefighting school at Butte (Calif.) College. Went on to start 25 games after he got to Baylor and impressed as a strong, nasty, humble, mature mauler. Stephen Neal's gone? Really, who better to pick up where he left off? And the nice thing? He's played two years at left tackle but can also play either guard spot or center.

Gotta Have Him:Draft analyst Wes Bunting at the National Football Posthas had Watkins ticketed for the Patriots with the 28th pick for much of predraft season (he's got quarterback Jake Locker ?!? there now)."With this guy, from Day One, you have a good starting player on your offensive line," said Bunting of Watkins. "I would give him plus-grades in both run-blocking and pass protection. He can bend, he can create leverage for himself and he's got a strong lower half when asked to anchor or drive people off the football. When I watched him on tape, he was one of, if not the, best college left tackles I saw all year. I really like Watkins." Most impressive is the factthat while he's spent all that time at left tackle,he'sreally well suited to play guard. And with Neal leaving, there'a a hole there. Additionally, if the Patriots want Nick Kaczur to playright guard and want to replace Matt Light at left tackle with current RT SebastianVollmer, Watkins can head out to RT. Ver. Sa. Tie-yull.

Don't Need Him:I'm not sure I can cobble together a bunch of suitable reasons why Watkins wouldn't work. Maybe the age thing if you figure he'll be 32 when his rookie contract expires. But even that isn't bad for a club, since it guards them from having to pay fat to a 26-year-old whose contract just expired and his best years are ahead of him.

Forecast: If the Patriots keep all three of their early picks - 17, 28 and 33 - you'd have to anticipate them taking a lineman. And there is no more versatile guy - at least in the eyes of analysts - than Watkins. He seems a terrific fit at 28 and could well be gone to a team like Pittsburgh if the Pats try to wait until 33.

Patriots Draftability: 10

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

Tom Brady, Vanilla Ice look like BFFs at Under Armour event

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Tom Brady, Vanilla Ice look like BFFs at Under Armour event

Watch out Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Alex Guerrero. Tom Brady just might have a new best friend. 

At an Under Armour event that took place on Wednesday, rapper Vanilla Ice snapped a selfie with the Patriots quarterback, who was grinning from ear to ear. 

In South Baltimore, "Armour Day" was held in order to celebrate Under Armour's 20th year in business. Brady was one of many athletes in attendance, including Jordan Spieth, Lindsey Vonn, Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, Cal Ripken, Boomer Esiason and Roger Clemens. 

Brady is one of the faces of Under Armour, along with Spieth and Warriors guard Steph Curry. When he signed in 2010, he received equity in the company as part of the deal. 

Palazzolo: Mitchell ‘flashes really good downfield ball skills’

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Palazzolo: Mitchell ‘flashes really good downfield ball skills’

Fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell is the next in a line of receivers the Patriots have drafted in hopes they’d click with quarterback Tom Brady.

As part of the Quick Slants the podcast draft recap episode, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus told Phil Perry that Mitchell looks to be a fit in the role previously filled by Brandon LaFell and Brandon Lloyd. Palazzolo said Mitchell could serve as a complement to Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Martellus Bennett.

“I think that’s where Mitchell fits in. And I think he does a pretty good job there creating separation on the routes the Patriots need him to run,” Palazzolo said. “He flashes some really good downfield ball skills.”

To hear Palazzolo’s analysis on the rest of the Patriots draft picks, use the Sound Cloud player below or search CSNNE on iTunes.

https://soundcloud.com/csnne/quick-slants-the-podcast-ep-51-2016-patriots-draft-recap