New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Patriots Earn an ‘B+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Pats, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

The last time I saw Tom Brady on a football field, he threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns against a good defense. If the draft told us anything, it’s that the decision-makers in New England think No. 12 can continue to defy age for at least another year, because unless you think seventh-rounder Danny Etling is a great developmental prospect (I don’t), Brady has no Jimmy Garoppolo pushing him. In fact, the Patriots had a focus on helping Brady out. Isaiah Wynn (pick 23) has traits that say he might be better at guard, but he can play tackle. And if it wasn’t such a crowded backfield, I’d peg Sony Michel as a Rookie of the Year candidate — he’s an explosive SEC-tested running back who is scary in space. I’m typically down on first-round RBs, but he was No. 28 on my board, and the Patriots nabbed him at 31.

The Patriots’ defense — the secondary in particular — was thrashed too often last year, certainly in February, and Duke Dawson (56) could help. He’s best when he can play press-man, and seems like an immediate help in the slot. Linebacker would be a major concern if I were a Patriots fan, and Ja’Whaun Bentley (143) at least has a chance to stick. Braxton Berrios (210) seems cut from New England wide receiver central casting. No surprise if he sticks and finds a way to help — though don’t expect early returns.

Every year we ask if the Patriots could have done more, but this team annually picks at the end of Round 1. You have to develop when you pick where they do, and to their credit, they do. The big question will be whether they could have used the Michel pick for needed defensive help.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/23 Isaiah Wynn OT GEORGIA
1/31 Sony Michel RB GEORGIA
2/56 Duke Dawson CB FLORIDA
5/143 Ja’Whaun Bentley ILB PURDUE
6/178 Christian Sam OLB ARIZONA STATE
6/210 Braxton Berrios WR MIAMI
7/219 Danny Etling QB LSU
7/243 Keion Crossen CB WESTERN CAROLINA
7/250 Ryan Izzo TE FLORIDA STATE

Patriots Pick Georgia OL Isaiah Wynn and RB Sony Michel in Round One of the NFL Draft

The Patriots took a pair of teammates from Georgia on Thursday night in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, taking OL Isaiah Wynn with the 23rd overall pick, and then later in the round they took running back Sony Michel with the 31st pick.

Video: The Latest on What the Patriots Might Do with Pick 23

The NFL Draft is less than 2 hours away, and while the Pats have awhile on Thursday before they make a pick at 23, here’s the latest on what direction the team might go.

Is Tom Brady NOT Coming Back to Play for the Patriots in 2018?

It’s crazy to think about, but there’s still no OFFICIAL word from Tom Brady or his camp about him playing this season, and with all the issues from the end of last season between he and Bill Belichick, is there a legit shot he might walk away?

Unlikely, but as Adam Schefter says it on Twitter today, it’s odd that he’s not put out a statement or made an announcement that he’s returning to play this upcoming season.

Report: Patriots Coach Bill Belichick “Chastised” TE Rob Gronkowski for Being a TB12 Client

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reportedly “chastised” tight end Rob Gronkowski in front of his other players for being a TB12 client” early last season according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran added the incident was a “big part” of Gronkowski’s “irritation” with the organization last season. Back in March, Curran’s colleague Mike Giardi reported Gronk and Tom Brady were “miserable” playing under Belichick last season with much of the disconnect tying back to Alex Guerrero, Brady’s and now Gronk’s trainer. At this point, Gronkowski is expected to return to the Patriots, but it is clear there is real friction between the tight end and his head coach.

Recent sighting of Gronkowski indicate an even leaner version of the tight end than what was seen in 2017 as he continues to train with Guerrero. After the 28-year-old’s multitude of injuries, including a third back surgery, he last year decided he would put his faith in Tom Brady’s body coach, who focused on getting the tight end more pliable. There is some concern that Gronk may be getting too lean to play his position, although reportedly he is only five pounds lighter than the weight he played last season and he plans to get back to that weight by training camp. Last season, which was his first on the program, Gronkowski put together one of his finest years, amassing 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. He earned All-Pro status for the fifth time while also making his fifth Pro Bowl. He missed one game due to injury, and one due to suspension.

Belichick, on the other hand, does not want the entire team to ditch the official trainers or to have too many different voices in the training room. At this point, it seems he is being tuned out by his two best and most famous players.

Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph Has a Private Workout for the Patriots

The Patriots have conducted a private workout with former Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph, and the Buffalo Bills will bring him in for a visit this weekend to continue what has been a busy visit schedule, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports via Chase Goodbread of NFL.com.

Rudolph’s contact with NFL teams to this point also has included visits or workouts with the Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Patriots Ink WR Jordan Matthews to One-Year Deal

The Pats have been in the market for a wide out since the moment the team dealt Brandin Cooks to the Rams, and now it appears they have found a receiver to take his place.

The team has come to terms with Jordan Matthews to a one-year deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports.

Matthews entered the league with the Philadelphia Eagles as a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2014, and looked to have the potential to become a No. 1 receiver. He saw less playing time in his final season in Philadelphia, and Eagles GM Howie Roseman gave up on those hopes entirely in 2017 when he dealt Matthews to Buffalo. The receiver struggled to stay healthy and caught just 25 passes for 282 yards and one touchdown in his lone season with the Bills.

Bill Belichick has quite a history of taking chances on castoff receivers. He’s had mixed results, with Randy Moss serving as the best payoff and Chad Johnson being the worst.

Prior to 2017, Matthews averaged 75 receptions for 891 yards receiving and just over six touchdowns per season. He’s demonstrated he has the physical tools to be an effective receiver. Should the 6-foot-3, 212-pound wideout return to that level, New England will have found itself a bargain.

Patriots Deal WR Brandin Cooks to the Rams for the 23rd Pick in the Draft

The Patriots pulled off a stunner with the NFL Draft closing in less than a month away, as the team on Tuesday evening dealt receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams for the 23rd pick in this month’s draft.

The Pats also sent a fourth-round pick (No. 136 overall) to Los Angeles and received a sixth-round pick (No. 198 overall) from the Rams.

The Rams — who had explored a trade for Odell Beckham Jr. but liked the Cooks option better — were seeking a vertical threat for second-year coach Sean McVay’s dynamic offense after Sammy Watkins joined the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
Patriots Trade Brandin Cooks to Rams

Brandin Cooks New England is sending receiver Brandin Cooks and a 2018 fourth-round pick to Los Angeles for the 23rd overall pick in the draft and a sixth-rounder. Read more

The speedy Cooks, who totaled 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns for the Patriots last season, fills that void alongside Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Cooks had 16 receptions on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield last season, tied with DeAndre Hopkins for most in the NFL.

The move likely means that the Pats will be looking at offense early in the draft, and also looking hard at a wide out, as the teams’ offense continues in transition following the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.