Patriots potential draftees: Ryan Williams

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Patriots potential draftees: Ryan Williams

By TomE.Curran
CSNNE.com

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

Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
5-9, 212Running Back
The Skinny:The Patriots have shown interest, with running backs coach Ivan Fears working Williams out down in Blacksburg, Virginia. Williams had his2010 season ruined production-wise by a torn hamstring and only gained 477 yards (4.3 per carry) but managed nine touchdowns in five starts. As a result, he promises to be undervalued by decision-makers who need to "sell" their draft picks to their owners and fanbases. The Patriots don't have to do that, as the Brandon Tate and Rob Gronkowski picks the last two seasons showed. Williams' speed, aggression, competitive fire and overall package makes him very enticing.Gotta Have Him:In talking to draft analyst Wes Bunting at the National Football Post, Williams is the most suited for the Patriots out of the backs I've profiled (Mark Ingram, Mikel Leshoure). "From a scheme standpoint, he is the best fit," said Bunting. "He runs well from the shotgun, he's a violent slasher, he can catch the football really well. He did have a tendency to run upright but being injured slowed him down and made him run with a lower pad level. Being beat up may have actually enhanced his game."Don't Need Him:BenJarvus Green-Ellis is 5-11, 215 - there may not be enough concrete difference between Williams and Law Firm. Additionally, he's got a style that could lead to dings. A bigger back who's a layup on third-and-2 - like Leshoure - may be a better complement to the stable than Williams.Forecast: In terms of temperament and skill set, Williams seems a really good fit. Tack on the fact he's been hurt and teams are going to let him slide on down as a result of not having that final season of solid tape. Says Buntin, "One thing the Patriots do is, they are so farsighted. They'll look at where a player will be three or four years down the line. For them, Williams would be the best fit, then Leshoure, then Ingram who is the best running back but is the worst blocker and receiver of the group you mentioned.".AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; .AOLWebSuite a color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig cursor: default
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

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Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.
 

Buy or Sell: Should NFL not test for marijuana?

Buy or Sell: Should NFL not test for marijuana?

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Buy or Sell: Patriots will not lose at home even without Tom Brady

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Greg Dickerson and Mike Giardi give their take on whether they think the Patriots will be not lose a home game during Brady’s suspension.