Potential Patriots draftees: Akeem Ayers

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Potential Patriots draftees: Akeem Ayers

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Akeem Ayers.

Akeem Ayers, 6-3, 254OLB, UCLA

The Skinny: A player who only flashes moments of playing to his athletic ability. But those flashes are good enough to make Ayers a player teams are going to be intrigued by and may overdraft. He's smooth, quick, has good hands and can pursue, pursue, pursue.

Gotta Have Him: If the Patriots could extract consistent play from Ayers, he'd be a nice component in their defense. As Wes Bunting of the National Football Post says, "Talent-wise, he's a top-20 player. He could physically play any linebacker position in the NFL."

Don't Need Him: He's way too inconsistent and intermittently soft for a demanding team like the Patriots. "If a game is close he can be a nasty player. When his team gets down he gets real soft. Putting in effort day in and day out? He doesn't show it. His motor is not consistent and it shows on tape every time you watch him."

Forecast: He could be seen as a Rosevelt Colvin-type player but effort was never a concern with Colvin and it is with Ayers. Interesting because of his versatility but doubtful for New England.

Patriots Draftability: 4

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

Is Tom Brady mentally ready to finish his career elsewhere?

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Is Tom Brady mentally ready to finish his career elsewhere?

The discussion on the future of Tom Brady is only going to intensify as the days, months or years tick off his career. Will that legendary career end as a member of the New England Patriots? Listen to the insightful discussion on this week's "Quick Slants The Podcast". Tom E. Curran says Tom Brady is mentally prepared to finish his career elsewhere.

Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry, and guest Mike Giardi have a spirited discussion about which quarterback should start against the Bills.

Curran and Bills columnist Tim Graham put Rex Ryan on the couch.

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Jamie Collins says he'll play quarterback for Patriots if they need him

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Jamie Collins says he'll play quarterback for Patriots if they need him

FOXBORO -- It's looking more and more like the Patriots will have options at quarterback Sunday against the Bills. Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett threw at practice on Wednesday, and it appears that at least one of them, if not both, will be available for the final game of Tom Brady's suspension. 

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman is the likely candidate to jump behind center should the team run into an emergency, but on Wednesday another player threw his hat into the ring. 

"Yeah, I'll play," said linebacker Jamie Collins. "Whatever it is. I don't care what the level is. I don't care what the level is. Whatever it is they need me to do, I'm doing it."

That would be some kind of show.

At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, and with remarkable closing speed, Collins would be an intimidating run-first signal-caller. He's listed at two inches shorter and five pounds heavier than Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, and his NFL Scouting Combine 40-yard dash time was only 0.05 seconds slower than Newton's. 

Just to take this pie-in-the-sky idea even further, Collins can throw, too. Or he could at one point in time. He played quarterback at Franklin County High in Meadville, Miss. before heading off to Southern Mississippi to play all over the Golden Eagles defense. As a high school senior, he cracked 1,000 yards both on the ground and through the air.

Asked if he saw himself back then as a future star in the NFL as a passer, Collins shook his head.

"Nah," he said. "I ain't even see myself as a quarterback in the NFL."

The Patriots would be just fine with Collins sticking at linebacker. He had one of the best games of his career against the Texans last week, racking up 14 tackles and picking off Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler. He also made the calls in the middle of the defense, which is a job that typically falls to Dont'a Hightower, but Collins took over with Hightower out with a knee injury.

"Jamie Collins, he's a beast, man," said safety Duron Harmon after the game. "I tell you what, I've seen a lot of football players play, and he's definitely one of my favorite players to just watch. You just get caught up sometimes seeing all the amazing stuff he does on the field, you just sit in awe. I'm so happy he's on my team, I'll tell you that."

And the team is happy he's at linebacker. But imagine him at quarterback?