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

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.