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Is Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Leaving Football to Join World Wrestling Entertainment?

Philly.com

After the Pats Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, Rob Gronkowski didn’t hold back his thoughts about not knowing if he was going to return to play in 2018 or not.

The latest is that the fierce tight end might leave the NFL – to join World Wrestling Entertainment.

Yes, Gronk might be the next mat warrior, that is if the report below is true.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has hinted about walking away from football at 28 and apparently World Wrestling Entertainment is listening.

According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter, WWE is willing to offer Gronk a “similar style deal” that it offered UFC star Ronda Rousey, who made her WWE debut late last month, is scheduled to be part of its “Elimination Chamber” event Feb. 25 and is being advertised as being part of their WrestleMania signature event April 8.

Gronk was part of Wrestlemania last year (see video below) and his friend, wrestler Mojo Rawley, hinted earlier this week that Gronkowski might be looking to give up football for the ring. Gronk has also reportedly been considering retiring to pursue a movie career.

Patriots Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: UCLA QB Josh Rosen

Some say that UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is going to be the top pick in the draft since (per usual) the Browns have the top pick and (per usual) need a quarterback.

But then again they may let him slip, or go with another QB meaning that Rosen, who this last season threw for 3756 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 picks will be free, and who knows what team could try to move up and draft the 21-year-old from Manhattan Beach, California.

Here’s a look at Rosen and what various places are saying about him.

NFL.com Scouting Report

Overview

One of the top recruits of the 2015 class, Rosen decided to stay close to home to play his ball in Westwood. He was a first-team USA Today All-American as a high school senior, throwing for 3,186 yards and 29 touchdowns while his St. John Bosco squad won the California State Championship. UCLA coaches saw enough of his talent in the spring of 2015 (he graduated from high school one semester early) that they made him the first Bruin freshman opening-weekend starter ever. He won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and several Freshman All-American honors after setting several school records and completing 60 percent (292-487) of his passes for 3,668 yards and 23 touchdowns (11 interceptions). Despite being only a freshman, he was in command of the offense and used his NFL size and arm to sling the ball all over the field. Rosen’s sophomore season had its peaks (400 passing yards against Arizona State) and valleys (three interceptions vs. Texas A&M), and eventually ended with a season-ending injury to his throwing shoulder after six starts (59.3 completion percentage, 1,915 yards, 10 touchdowns, five interceptions). The surgery to his shoulder was not considered major, so he was throwing effectively in spring 2017 practices. Rosen had the performance of the year in the season’s opening weekend, leading the Bruins in an amazing 45-44 comeback win with 491 passing yards and four touchdowns. He struggled over a four-game stretch at the start of the Pac-12 season, throwing eight of his 10 interceptions on the year. He did earn second-team All-Pac-12 notice, however, by completing 62.6 percent of his passes (283-452), throwing 26 touchdowns, and ranking second in the country with 341.5 passing yards a game (3,756 total). Rosen also suffered two concussions during the year, missing one regular season contest and their bowl game against Kansas State.

Analysis

Strengths Tennis prodigy with impeccable footwork and delivery balance. Plays with excellent coordination between eyes and feet. Gets head around quickly on play-fakes. Has experience under center. Anchors in pocket and doesn’t creep around needlessly. Trusts his protection and doesn’t take eyes of targets when pressure mounts from the edge. Climbs pocket when appropriate. Willing to stand and deliver in face of pressure. Completed 63 percent of his passes when blitzed in 2017. Accuracy totals negatively impacted by 31 receiver drops this year. Holds his water in pocket. Mechanics are terrific. Rarely over-strides and throws with consistently bent front knee. Throwing motion and follow-through are effortless. Extremely confident and intelligent. Throws receivers open. Might be best back shoulder thrower in the game. Shows ability to speed up operation time for move to next level. Very good usage of shoulder fakes and hitches to move defenders or buy additional time for receivers to uncover. Touch passer who can throw feathers when needed.

Weaknesses

Durability is a concern. Carries slight build and has had injury issues dating back to high school. Carries ball low in pocket with slight upward pre-throw hitch. Too casual in pocket set-up. Decision making and post-snap reads are inconsistent. Refuses easy throws at times. Arm talent and strength are below average. May need to make greater effort to drive field and seam throws. Poor career deep ball completion rate. Excess air under ball allows challenges. Lacks gun to challenge safeties with rip throws over the top. Needs better anticipation. Poor mobility. Struggles to elude early pressure. Completed just 42.4 percent of his throws when forced to move. Too much hero ball. Extends plays and takes unnecessary chances rather than throwing it away. Scouts question his passion for football and whether he will be a willing student.

ESPN’s Take on Rosen

2017 stats: 283 of 452 passing (62.6 percent) for 3,756 yards, with 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; two rushing touchdowns, three lost fumbles; 67.1 Total QBR (No. 42 in FBS)

Who is this guy, and why should we care?

Rosen caught everyone’s attention with a 3,670-yard freshman season in 2015. NFL scouts love the way he looks in the pocket — his footwork, throwing motion, anticipation and accuracy. After an injury-plagued 2016 season, he rebounded in 2017 with numbers nearly identical to those he put up as a freshman. Injuries set in again, though, and with Chip Kelly and a new coaching staff on the way in, Rosen will enter the draft. He’s enough of a prospect to merit consideration at No. 1 overall.

Kiper’s draft ranking: No. 2 QB and No. 5 overall prospect. From Kiper’s Mock Draft 1.0: “Rosen is the top pure passer in this class. He looked better than Darnold when UCLA and USC played late in the season.”

McShay’s draft ranking: No. 1 QB and No. 1 overall prospect. From McShay’s Top 32: “Rosen is far superior [than Darnold] going through his progressions and has a pretty deep ball. He’s a better QB right now, but that doesn’t mean he will be down the line.”

NJ.com on Rosen

Josh Rosen should be the No. 1 pick in the draft. From a talent, acumen and film perspective, he’s the best in this year’s deep quarterback class.

If the Browns were smart, they’d take him and not look back. But there’s a reason the Browns are the Browns, and Rosen’s personality concerns are real. So as the rumors of Cleveland’s infatuation with Wyoming’s Josh Allen get louder, it seems increasingly likely Rosen won’t be their pick.

The measurables

No concerns with Rosen’s frame. He’s 6-4 and 218. He’ll likely pack on a few more pounds once he gets with an NFL strength and conditioning coach. But he has the height to see over the offensive line, and the weight to withstanding punishment from the defense.

The Stats

Unlike Sam Darnold, Rosen enjoyed his best statistical season this past year. Despite playing on an undermanned UCLA offense, he threw for 3,756 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He completed a career-high 62.6 percent of his passes, and had a quarterback rating of 147.0.

NFL Draft Diamonds

Overview

Rosen was the best Quarterback on the Bruins roster in the Spring of 2015 and was expected to fill in for 3-year starter Brett Hundley. Rosen would go on to have an impressive 2015 season going 245 pass attempts without an interception. As a freshman, he passed for 3,670 yards, 23 touchdowns, and completed 60 percent of his passes. He would go on to be named Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the year, as well as earning Freshman All American honors. He would injure his shoulder the following year midway through the season as a sophomore and would go on to miss the remainder of the 2016 season. In 2017 he would go on to pass for 3717 yards and 26 touchdowns. The highlight of his 2017 season saw Rosen lead a 35 point comeback against Texas A&M.

Strengths

Rosen has the skill set to be a franchise Quarterback in the NFL. Rosen can be an accurate passer who can make throws in tight coverage and is poised in the pocket. Has a big arm. Throws a tight clean spiral. Has height to see over his offensive line. Has a good quick release on the ball. Can make strong and accurate throws on the run. Will take chances on some plays which can be a big trait in the NFL. Not very mobile but can keep plays alive by moving outside the pocket. Keeps his eyes down field even when under pressure.

Weaknesses

Struggles and hesitates when under pressure. Takes to many risks when under pressure. Is not a very consistent accurate passer. Can avoid pressure but not very quickly and relies too heavily on his offensive line to keep plays alive. Has questionable decision making that has led him to turning the ball over. Rosen needs to improve his vision for the NFL. He Suffered a shoulder injury his sophomore season that required him to miss the remainder of the 2016 season. One of his biggest weaknesses is his poor intangibles as a bad teammate and a leader.

Patriots Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb

N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb is an impact player who many teams will have their eyes on when the NFL Draft takes center stage this offseason.

Touted as the best defensive player in the draft by many, he’s a talent that could make a huge impact on a team right away depending on where he ends up.

Here’s a look at Chubb and what various places are saying about him.

NFL Draft Diamonds

SCOUTING REPORT: BRADLEY CHUBB, DE. NC STATE

HEIGHT: 6’4”

WEIGHT: 275

PROS: Plays with a very high motor and does not quit on plays. Chubb also plays for 4 quarters and wears down O-lines for 60 minutes. Great team leader and displays an energy that teammates feed off. Displays lots of burst off the edge and can beat offensive lineman with techniques, both inside and out. Uses his hands well to get around the edge and has enough speed to get to mobile quarterbacks. Has really good size and long arms that he uses efficiently to get into the backfield and disrupt plays. He plays the run well and is a dominant presence on the edge against opposing running backs. 190 career tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 25 sacks, and a handful of forced fumbles make Chubb a statistical dream for the draft, and his play on the field backs it up. He should be a first-round prospect come April.

CONS: Has been known to get beat in run blocking and sometimes gets handled at the LOS against the run. His speed and energy also mean that he over-pursues at times and runs past the play. Coaches have asked him to drop into coverage in the past and, while adequate in those situations, his pass coverage is overshadowed by his abilities as a pass rusher. He is also a bit heavy at 275 and will likely need to shed a few pounds once he enters the league.


USA Today Draft Wire

One of the nation’s most dominant and disruptive defenders, Chubb has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Wolfpack, racking up 48 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Despite opposing offenses scheming to avoid him, Chubb has continued to put up huge numbers and make a seismic impact.

A tailor-made 4-3 defensive end, Chubb is one of the most complete prospects in this year’s draft class. Though there may be more athletic pass-rushers available this year, Chubb’s combination of power, technique and a physical playing style make him this year’s best edge defender.

A Story on NFL.com about Chubb

The scoop: “If you compare him to Derek Barnett, he has similar production but he is a much more explosive athlete. I think he is way ahead of (Boston College’s Harold) Landry as a pro prospect. — AFC scout on N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb

The skinny: I’m not sure why a comparison to the Philadelphia Eagles rookie defensive end was made for Bradley Chubb, but let’s dig in. Chubb (6-foot-4, 275 pounds, per school measurements) is bigger than Barnett (6-3, 259) and I would agree that Chubb is the better athlete. Barnett has better hands. Chubb is faster than Barnett and might be the best pass rusher in the 2018 class. I’m undecided on where I project him, but he will be drafted earlier than where Barnett, the 14th overall pick in 2017, went.

What Walter Football Says on Chubb

“Chubb is a quality defender against the run. He can hold his ground, at times, and has the ability to shed blocks to get in on tackles outside of his gap. However, he could use more strength in his base and needs to get better at shedding blocks that are coming downhill straight at him. That would help him against NFL offensive linemen. Chubb is good at getting upfield to knife through his gap and cause havoc in the backfield. For the passing-driven pro game, Chubb looks like a solid base end who would fit really well in a 4-3 defense. That is what he has played at N.C. State, and he has shown some versatility to move inside and rush as a tackle in obvious passing situations. He could continue that in the NFL. Right now, Chubb looks like a tweener for a 3-4 defense between a five-technique and outside linebacker. At this time of year, one never knows if listed measurements are accurate, and players can change their weight during the process, so that could be subject to change.”

Patriots Wrapping Up Deal to Keep Special Teams Coach Joe Judge

The Patriots and special-teams coach Joe Judge are ironing out final details for him to return to the team in 2018, according to a league source, which will help them maintain continuity at the coordinator level of the coaching staff, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports.

There are still some minor things to finalize, and because a contract hasn’t been signed, the move is not yet official. But it is expected to happen.

Judge’s imminent return despite interest from other teams, coupled with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reversing course and staying with the team, means Bill Belichick has only one coordinator vacancy to fill after defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was officially hired as Detroit Lions head coach Tuesday.

Belichick places a high value on special teams, as he annually devotes a handful of roster spots to players who exclusively play in the kicking game.

In 2017, the Patriots finished third in Rick Gosselin’s annual special-teams rankings, which Belichick has previously cited his respect for as a measure of performance for that unit.

Judge, 36, has been with the Patriots since 2012, first serving as assistant special-teams coach under Scott O’Brien before taking over the top job in 2015. Before coming to New England, he spent three seasons at Alabama on Nick Saban’s staff and was part of two national championship teams.

Former Patriots TE Christian Fauria Suspended from WEEI for mocking Agent Don Yee with Asian Accent

A former Patriots tight end now talk show host, Christian Fauria, is in hot water today, and has been suspended for using an accent while trying to impersonate sports agent Don Yee.

Here’s the story:

A Boston sports radio host who impersonated a sports agent on air using a stereotyped Asian accent has been suspended for five days.

Radio station WEEI says in a statement it doesn’t support host Christian Fauria’s “insensitive and ill-conceived attempt at humor.” The former tight end for the New England Patriots was impersonating athletic agent Don Yee when he used the racially charged accent on his weekday show Friday.

Fauria says he “made a horrible attempt at humor” and supports the station’s decision to discipline him.

Yee is of Chinese descent but was born in Sacramento, California. He represents athletes including Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Julian Edelman.

Patriots Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley is a dynamic player who some have going as early as #1 to the Browns in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. Today we give you a look at what this big-time player has to offer wherever he ends up in the draft.

NFL.com Scouting Report by Daniel Jeremiah

What I liked: I’ll do my best to condense my thoughts here. I pretty much like everything about Barkley’s game. He has patience, vision and power as an inside runner. He can step through tackles or drop his shoulder and run through them. He is very quick laterally to avoid defenders in the hole. He has an excellent burst to the perimeter on outside runs. Once he gets the corner, he’s elusive in space and has the speed to go the distance.

He’s very dependable in pass protection. He’s assignment aware and does a nice job squaring up blitzing linebackers to stall their charge. He also has very strong, reliable hands. He can pluck the ball away from his frame and he’s explosive after the catch. He gets rave reviews from teammates and coaches for his tireless work ethic. His weight-room accomplishments have been well noted this offseason.

Where he needs to improve: There aren’t many areas where Barkley needs to improve. There have been a few occasions where he gets “bounce happy” instead of staying inside and taking a 2-3 yard gain. He has some negative plays as a result of his eagerness to hit the homerun. I’d love to see him used in a more diverse way in the passing game. He has the ability to split out and run routes like a receiver, but his opportunities were limited last year. Hopefully that will change this fall.

Biggest takeaway: Barkley is everything you’d want in a modern-day running back. He can run with power, generate explosive runs and contribute on passing downs. As a player, he reminds me a lot of Ezekiel Elliott coming out of Ohio State. I thought Elliott was one of the best pass-protecting college running backs I’d ever evaluated and Barkley is right on that level. Both guys have that ideal blend of size/speed and they are very instinctive football players.

Walter Football’s Take on Barkely going #1 to the Browns

Another Scouting Report on Barkley:

Strengths

Everything? Yeah, just about everything. Before we even get to his game, it’s worth noting that everyone who knows Barkley describes him as high character guy, including current Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, describing him as “Smart, humble. He’s the rare guy whose humble attitude supersedes his talent.” On the field he is a powerful and explosive runner between the tackles, showing great vision on cut backs and the ability to run through someone if needed. He also has the ability to get outside on sweep plays and is extremely elusive in space. He has good hands and really improved his receiving game in 2017, contributing 54 catches. Add in that he is a great pass protector, something that can keep rookies off the field, and you are looking at one of the most complete running backs to ever enter the draft. Bonus: want to see someone power clean almost twice their body weight?
Weaknesses

There are basically no holes in Barkley’s game. He can get a bit indecisive in the hole at times and try to make too much happen, but those tendencies are due to him being better than everyone on the field. With his graduation to the NFL, I expect those bad habits to go away. He has a little room to improve on his pass catching as he dropped a couple easy balls over the year, but these critiques are splitting hairs.
Grade: A+

Saquon Barkley is a generational type running back. He’s an athletic specimen with a well-rounded game that will make an instant impact for an NFL team. How well he does immediately in the pros will be much more a function of where he lands than his skill set, he can do it all.

Albert Breer for SI saying that ‘Barkley is the Future of the NFL’

The Titans, built sturdy and tough up front, rushed for 195 yards on the vaunted Seahawks defense on Sunday. The Ravens spent the last two offseason getting younger and quicker on defense, and that group kept the Bengals and Browns out of the end zone in Weeks 1 and 2. Then in London, a Jaguars offense reworked this offseason with size in mind ran for 166 yards on them.

This is how the NFL works. Teams spent the last decade building around quarterbacks and receivers, and defenses are now stocked with 220-pound linebackers and 250-pound pass rushers. And now we’re getting the zig to that zag—personnel czars like Jacksonville’s Tom Coughlin and Tennessee’s Jon Robinson capitalized by building jackhammer offenses to run at those defenses, while creating better environments for their young QBs.

“That’s been going on since the 1970s,” said one NFC personnel exec. “It’s not a new trend, it’s the same cycle. New people rise in the football world, history repeats itself.”

Boston Herald Pulls Bogus Story About Brady Wanting Bigger Deal Than 49’ers Gave Garoppolo

It wasn’t even April Fools Day but one would think it was.

On Thursday night, Ron Borges of The Boston Herald broke a story that Tom Brady was prepared to sit out of the Patriots’ organized team activities this offseason if he did not receive a contract with up-front money similar to what Jimmy Garoppolo will earn with the 49ers.

Several media members, citing a source, initially refuted the story. Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston was told the report was “off the reservation.”

Now, The Herald has pulled the story altogether, Kevin Duggy of Masslive reports.

As explained on WEEI, Borges fell for a prank.

A caller who identified himself as “Nick from Boston” said Friday morning that Borges’ phone number was available on the internet, so he texted Borges pretending to be Don Yee, Tom Brady’s agent.

Belichick Taking McDaniels Even More Under His Wing Enough to Keep Him With Patriots

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels arrived at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday with the intention of cleaning out his office to become the Indianapolis Colts head coach, but Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s willingness to take his mentorship to a higher level played a significant part in McDaniels reversing course, sources told Mike Reiss of ESPN.

Belichick told McDaniels that he would spend more time with him on the inner workings of the Patriots, including roster construction and salary-cap management, which was viewed as “extremely valuable” to McDaniels. It is an arrangement that owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft endorsed because it could ultimately be part of a succession plan for Belichick, although no assurances were made to McDaniels.

Another part of the Patriots’ sales pitch that swayed McDaniels, per sources, was a long-term contractual commitment that would give McDaniels’ four children, who are ages 12, 10, 6 and 3, the chance to stay in the same school system for an extended period of time. McDaniels has told those close to him that such stability is rare in the coaching profession and is something he values.

As of Tuesday morning, McDaniels was still prepared to take the Colts’ job. Ultimately, the conversations with the Krafts and Belichick changed his mind, as it was new information for him to evaluate. If he had that information prior to the interview process, the way McDaniels approached interviews for head-coaching vacancies in January likely would have changed.