Deone Bucannon (AP)

Deone Bucannon (AP)

The Patriots have pre-draft meetings set up with Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and University of Washington safety Deone Bucannon on Wednesday, according to reports.

Fiedorowicz is a 6-foot-5, 265 pounder who is considered to be a second-round pick. He has a couple of New England connections already: one, Iowa’€™€™s offensive line coach the past two seasons was Brian Ferentz, who spent the previous season as the Patriots tight end coach, working with both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. And two, D.J. Hernandez ‘€“€” the brother of ex-Patriots tight end Aaron — was a graduate assistant with the Hawkeyes last year.

Fiedorowicz had 75 catches the last two seasons at Iowa, including 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. He said he spent plenty of time watching Gronkowski while in college.

‘€œ€œI was watching him on film. I always used to watch him in games, but when you see it break down as film it’€™€™s even more impressive,’€€ Fiedorowicz said at the combine. ‘€œHe plays hard every down, every play. He finishes guys. He uses his body in the passing game. He’€™€™s just an impressive guy. It’€™€™s the way he plays the game.’€

News of his visit was first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

As for Bucannon, he’s a relatively oversized safety in the mold of the Seahawks‘ secondary. Considered a Day 2 pick, the 6-foot-1, 211-pounder is a three-time captain who led the Pac-12 with 109 tackles during the 2013 season, to go along with six interceptions.

For more on Bucannon, our pre-draft capsule on him can be read here. Aaron Wilson of National Football Post first reported the Bucannon news.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots are one of six teams that have shown the most interest in linebacker Michael Sam throughout the pre-draft process, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Sam, the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced he was gay in February. As a senior at Mizzou in 2013, Sam had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss while being named a first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection. He is expected to be a mid- to late-round selection in next month’s draft.

Michael Sam has reportedly drawn the interest of the Patriots. AP)

Michael Sam has reportedly drawn the interest of the Patriots. AP)

The Patriots are one of six teams that have shown the most interest in linebacker Michael Sam throughout the pre-draft process, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Sam, the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced he was gay in February. As a senior at Mizzou in 2013, Sam had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss while being named a first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection. He is expected to be a mid- to late-round selection in next month’s draft.

Sam has apparently also drawn the interest of the Ravens, Falcons, Colts, Browns and Jets, according to Wilson, quoting a league source.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick issued a statement when Sam made his announcement in February, saying that Sam will be evaluated like any other potential draft prospect.

“We evaluate all the players, including Michael Sam, based on the totality of who they are and who can best contribute to our team and organization, regardless of the matters being discussed today. They all have strengths, they all have weaknesses and no two human beings are identical. Our scouting staff has performed extensive work on Michael, both this season and going back throughout his career. That work will continue through the draft process this spring.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Bryan Stork protected Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston at Florida State and helped the Seminoles win a national title. (AP)

Bryan Stork won the Rimington Trophy as top center in the nation for protecting Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and helping Florida State win a national title. (AP)

BRYAN STORK

Position: Center

School: Florida State

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 315 pounds

Achievements: 2013 Rimington Trophy (top center in the nation), 2013 consensus All-American, 2013 first-team All-ACC (media, coaches)

What he brings: Stork has ideal size, and, according to analysts, he is a technically sound athlete with good quickness and positioning. Analysts also say, though, that he has difficulty with his body control and can be bulled when he plays tall.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 4-6

Notes: Stork missed a game against Wake Forest during the 2013 season after he suffered an ankle injury and missed a game against Savannah State in 2012 because of an undisclosed injury. … He played in every offensive snap in Florida State’s comeback win over Auburn during the BCS national championship. … Stork was a tight end in high school and had 43 pancake blocks before he redshirted during his first year at Florida State. … The Vero Beach, Fla., native said in January that if he wasn’t playing football he would want to become a pilot like his father.

Related articles:

AL.com: Florida State’s Bryan Stork ready to take flight into NFL

Miami Herald: Bryan Stork wins the Rimington Trophy

Video: Here is a video highlighting Stork’s career at Florida State.

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri

Former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, who helped injured bystanders at the finish line after last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the attacks. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, who helped injured bystanders at the finish line after last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the attacks. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Andruzzi was at the finish line to support individuals running on behalf of his charity, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, when the bombs hit. He had been at Forum restaurant but moved shortly before one of the bombs exploded in front of the establishment.

“A lot of emotions, especially driving in today and being here today for the tribute,” he said. “Just when those memories kind of trigger in your brain and things comes to mind and you start thinking of what-ifs and things like that. You’ve got to push that aside and try and make it all positive. Seeing the faces here today and seeing the survivors and hearing some of their stories, it’s truly amazing what they’ve done in a year.

“For us as a group, an organization, how we’re moving forward. We’re going right back to Forum this year. We’re going to finish what we started and we’re going to stay strong and get out and cheer all of Boston Strong.”

Andruzzi said he thinks about last April 15 frequently, especially considering he and his wife could have been in the direct line of fire had he not decided to move closer to the finish line.

“Many times,” Andruzzi said. “The times of my wife standing right on the fence line looking for our runners, looking past the Forum restaurant, making sure they’re all right, cheering them on, taking a photo. Finally one of our youngest runners was coming through, and probably a half-hour before the bombs went off we chose to go down to the finish line. We were standing about 20 yards from the first bomb site.

“Seeing everything go down and go through and making our way back to Forum when my wife pointed out the three young girls trying to carry a woman on their back. That’s the infamous picture you guys all have seen. I ran over and said, ‘Let me help.’ The faces of the young girls in those pictures probably explains more of the story than anything — just the scariness, everything that was going on at that moment. And then finally walking her to the ambulance, making it back down to the Forum and finding out that the bomb was right in front of Forum was pretty heart-wrenching for me. Knowing that my whole staff, board members, we invited cancer patients, and all our runners’ families were there. Not knowing if everybody was OK, it was pretty scary.”

Andruzzi said he’s looking forward to being at Forum next Monday and taking a big step in the healing process.

“I think I’m more or less getting through today and putting those memories behind and making new memories now and moving forward, because once again, we can’t live in that fear,” he said. “We’ve got to move forward and prove people wrong, that we are coming back there as a community stronger than ever. And hence the two words: Boston Strong.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Anthony Johnson (AP)

Anthony Johnson lost more than 30 pounds while at LSU in an effort to increase his quickness. (AP)

ANTHONY JOHNSON

Position: Defensive tackle

School: LSU

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 308 pounds

Achievements: 2013 second-team All-SEC (Associated Press, coaches), 2011 freshman All American (CBSSports.com, Sporting News).

What he brings: Scouts say that Johnson has ideal initial quickness, and that he will frequently be the first LSU defensive lineman off the ball. They also say, though, that he needs more polishing and has a tendency to play tall.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 4

Notes: In his three years with LSU, Johnson, who goes by the nickname “The Freak,” has dropped more than 30 pounds in an effort to increase his speed. He led the team with nine tackles for loss in 13 starts during the 2013 season. … During his senior year of high school, Johnson was named the first lineman, and just the third defender, to receive the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year award. All major recruiting services ranked Johnson the top defensive tackle prospect in the nation in 2010. … Johnson and his family were displaced after Hurricane Katrina and moved to Alabama for a period of time before he returned to Louisiana.

Related articles:

The Times-Picayune: Lack of production not bothering former LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson in draft prep

CBSSports.com: LSU DT Anthony Johnson declares for draft

Video: Here is a video highlighting Johnson’s career at LSU

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Jordan Matthews

Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews is the SEC’s all-time career leader in receptions (262) and receiving yards (3,759). (AP)

JORDAN MATTHEWS

Position: Wide receiver

School: Vanderbilt

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 212 pounds

Achievements: 2013 first-team All-American (USA Today, Athlon), 2013 consensus first-team All-SEC wide receiver, 2013 Biletnikoff award semifinalist, 2012 first-team All-SEC (Associated Press, coaches)

What he brings: Matthews is known as a solid route-runner with good hand-eye coordination. While he has a good frame, it’s believed that he needs to bulk up more and improve in contested situations.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Matthews, 21, is a cousin of Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. … He is the SEC’€™s all-time leader in career receptions with 262 and receiving yards with 3,759. He also holds the Vanderbilt records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions with 24. … As a senior in 2013 he had 112 catches for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns.

Related articles:

The Tennessean: Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews flashes 40-yard speed at NFL combine

The Kansas City Star: Q&A with NFL Network’s Mike Mayock

Video: Here is a video highlighting Matthews’ career at Vanderbilt.

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri

1. Tom Brady is going back to the Kentucky Derby. According to this report, the quarterback is expected to make the trek to Churchill Downs this year, along with current teammate Vince Wilfork, ex-Patriot Wes Welker and a boatload of celebs. This year’s Derby takes place on May 2 and 3, so expect more of these pictures sooner rather than later.

2. According to our pal Dan Duggan, Devin McCourty was back in New Jersey over the weekend to watch the Rutgers spring game, and it’s clear that he continues to have a major impact on the Scarlet Knights. Some current Rutgers defensive backs talked about the impact that McCourty, as well as several other former Rutgers guys who play for the Patriots

“When I really started getting deep into my recruiting process and really starting to narrow down where I want to go, I started paying attention to what position I wanted to play and I started realizing Rutgers put a lot of defensive guys in the league, especially in the secondary,” current Rutgers DB Nadir Barnwell. “I definitely want to go to the next level, so this is definitely a good place to be. They’ll definitely take my game to the next level.”

“I still don’t get why they don’t get some of the best defensive backs every year, just if you watch what they’ve been able to do and what guys have done throughout the league,” McCourty said. “We definitely take pride in it. We have a lot of guys that play in the secondary in the NFL and hopefully it continues.”

3. More pre-draft receiver buzz around the Patriots: South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington has drawn interest from multiple teams around the league — according to Mike Garafalo of Fox Sports, that includes New England. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, he’s already had a workout with the Patriots. The 5-foot-9, 196-pounder had 49 catches for 775 yards and eight touchdowns last season with the Gamecocks. Ellington, who also started as a point guard with the USC basketball team, projects as a slot receiver with great speed at the next level. (He’s also the cousin of Cardinals running back Andre Ellington.) Here’s some video on him:

In addition, the Patriots have already had a follow-up visit with University of Washington wide receiver Kevin Smith. The 5-foot-11, 214-pound Smith, who suffered a torn ACL in December 2011, became a huge part of the UW offense last season,, finishing with 50 catches for 765 yards and four touchdowns. Known for his sure hands and positive locker room influence, Smith is a former high school basketball standout who also has special teams value as a kick returner.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2014 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Kyle Van Noy (AP)

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who had 70 tackles in 2013, never missed a game in his four seasons at BYU. (AP)

KYLE VAN NOY

Position: Outside linebacker

School: BYU

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 245 pounds

Achievements: 2013, 2012 third-team All-American, 2012, 2012, 2011 first-team All-Independent, 2012 Poinsettia Bowl Defensive MVP

What he brings: Scouts consider Van Noy one of the most pro-ready prospects in the NFL draft. A well-built frame, excellent instincts, consistency and a knack to make plays make Van Noy an exciting prospect and one of the top outside linebacker prospects. There are concerns about Van Noy’€™s average athleticism, and some scouts consider his coverage skills average to below average.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Van Noy, who never missed a game at BYU, had a career-high 70 tackles in 2013 but saw his sack numbers dip, recording four sacks in 2013 compared to 13 in 2012. … In his four seasons Van Noy played in four bowl games: the 2010 New Mexico Bowl, the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl, the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl and the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl. BYU went 3-1 in those games, losing the Fight Hunger Bowl. … In 2009 Van Noy was charged with a DUI. He sat out that year for violating BYU’€™s honor code.

Related articles:

Desert News: Dick Harmon: Kyle Van Noy becomes the latest superstar to join BYU’s club of legends

CBSSports: Living up to honor code as important as football to BYU’s Van Noy

Video: Here are Van Noy’€™s 2013 highlights against Utah State.

Blog Author: 
Arjuna Ramgopal