Cornerback Robert McClain tweeted out the news Wednesday afternoon that he had apparently agreed to a deal with the Patriots.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound McClain, a seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2010, has spent four seasons in the league, and has three picks and 158 tackles in his professional career. The former UConn standout had his best season last year with the Falcons, where he started six games, had one sack, two interceptions and added 49 tackles.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Brandon Spikes, who played for the Patriots from 2010 through 2013 before he departed last offseason as a free agent, had some nice things to say about New England and Bill Belichick on Wednesday.

Brandon Spikes played for the Patriots for four seasons before moving on to Buffalo. (Getty Images)

Brandon Spikes played for the Patriots for four seasons before moving on to Buffalo. (Getty Images)

Brandon Spikes, who played for the Patriots from 2010 through 2013 before he departed last offseason as a free agent, had some nice things to say about New England and Bill Belichick on Wednesday.

The occasionally combustible linebacker, who took a few shots at the Patriots on his way out the door last year, is currently a free agent, as it appears he won’t return to Buffalo. Talking with the NFL Network on Wednesday, he sounded like a man ready to make amends.

“I’ll play anywhere,” said Spikes when asked about a return to New England. “Given the opportunity, I’ll play anywhere. I just want to go and play the game. I love it.”

Spikes was asked how the Patriots have been able to sustain a high level of success.

“It’s the Hoodie. It’s Bill Belichick. He’s a genius,” Spikes said. “He just plugs guys in and his system works. My time there, I just learned how to be a true professional. It’s a first-class organization. They drafted me and a lot of teams passed on me. They gave me the opportunity and I’ll always be forever grateful for that.”

For what it’s worth, Spikes has done his due diligence when it comes to selling himself as a free agent, saying he’d also “like to go back” to Buffalo, and adding “I love Rex (Ryan) and I love what he brings to the table.”

He added: “I think for the most part my agency has been doing a great job with that and I just let them know I’m ready to go. Whoever wants me, they’re going to get a great player, complete player, a leader, a guy that plays the game the right way with a lot of fire. Like I said, I’m ready to go. I’m all good.”

He also weighed in on the professional chances of his old college teammate Tim Tebow, who recently had a tryout with the Eagles

“This guy is a born winner,” Spikes said. “I know his measurements might not be there but the intangibles … at the end of the day, you want a winner and he’ll do whatever he has to — scratch, claw and I’ve seen him. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever been around. Great teammate, a great guy. I feel like if you just keep telling him he can’t, he’s just going to try to prove you wrong and he will prove people wrong.”

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The main developments to come out of the Aaron Hernandez trial on Tuesday were that the prosecution presented an acquaintance of Hernandez’s who said the former Patriot looked angry when he was with the victim, Odin Lloyd, at a club a few days before the killing, and a Nike specialist said Hernandez was wearing the same kind of shoes that left a footprint at the scene of the crime.

Hernandez’s defense lawyer, Michael Fee, questioned the credibility of the acquaintance, Kwami Nicholas, who the defense established had never met Hernandez before that night, and Fee found discrepancies between what Nicholas told police in 2013 and the testimony he gave on Tuesday. Fee also asked Nicholas if he had familiarity with Hernandez’s facial expressions or mannerisms since he had never met him before, and Nicholas said that he was ‘”familiar with human expression,” but not Hernandez’s specifically.

Herbert Hughes, a Nike consultant, said that Hernandez was wearing Nike Air Jordan 11 Lows in both the surveillance video in his home about 10 minutes after the killing and in the video of him at the gas station 90 minutes prior. Prosecutors said that the footprints at the scene were left by that type of shoe, but defense lawyer James Sultan said that there are more than 3 million shoes with that sole. Hedges noted that Hernandez’s size 13 was more uncommon and that the sole for that size of shoe would be different from smaller ones.

Video was shown of a set of headlights on its way to the industrial park where Lloyd was found, but the quality was so bad that the number of people in the car or its type could not be identified.

Prosecutors believe that Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, hid the shoes at some point.

On Wednesday morning the trial focused on a handful of witnesses, according to Bob McGovern of the Boston Herald, the first of which was Scott Bazinet, a surveillance camera installer. The following was Paul Belham, who owns a business near the industrial park and had some security footage of headlights passing by. Christopher Mitchell of the North Attleboro Electric Company, next on the stand, also had footage that was clearer than some others but still not definitive.

Steve Bennett of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Services Unit was next, and he had been involved with the investigation for a while. He described the crime scene for much of his testimony.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

The Patriots reportedly brought in a number of cornerbacks on Tuesday, and now we’ve learned they’ve signed at least one of them.

According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots have signed cornerback Bradley Fletcher. Multiple reports have said the deal is for one year.

The Patriots reportedly brought in a number of cornerbacks on Tuesday, and now we’ve learned they’ve signed at least one of them.

According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots have signed cornerback Bradley Fletcher. Multiple reports have said the deal is for one year.

Fletcher has played six seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the third round by the Rams in 2009. He’s played the last two seasons in Philadelphia with the Eagles, picking off three passes in his two seasons there. His best season came in 2010 when he had four interceptions in St. Louis.

His two years in Philadelphia were down years by his standards and is hoping for a bounce back year in New England.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 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.

Clive Walford (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Clive Walford’s strengths include his versatility and blocking ability. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

CLIVE WALFORD

Position: Tight end

School: Miami

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 258 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-American, Mackey Award finalist for best tight end

What he brings: Walford is praised for being a very effective all-around tight end, as he possesses big-play ability and is an above-average blocker for his position. Scouts like his ability to use his athleticism to create space and bring down contested balls. He was very versatile at Miami, lining up in several positions, including the slot and in the backfield. He is not expected to be an elite big-play threat in the passing game, but his ability to contribute in many different situations could be very valuable to many teams. NFL.com’s Mike Mayock said that Walford is “the most explosive tight end in this year’s draft.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: ESPN.com ranks Walford as the second tight end and 62nd overall in the draft. He recorded 44 receptions for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014. He has stayed mostly injury-free throughout his time for the Hurricanes but required knee surgery following an injury in the final game of the 2014 regular season and missed his team’s bowl game. Walford recorded the fourth-best time among tight ends at the combine for the 40-yard dash (4.79 seconds) to go along with the fourth-best vertical jump (35 inches), and the second-best broad jump (10 feet).

Related articles:

NFL.com: Walford on combine experience

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Walford impresses at Senior Bowl

Video: ESPNU breaks down Walford’s draft stock.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler
History -- and recent personnel losses -- would seem to point to the idea of Bill Belichick drafting a defensive tackle or defensive back this spring in the first round. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

History — and recent personnel losses — would seem to point to the idea of Bill Belichick drafting a defensive tackle or defensive back this spring in the first round. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Predicting how the Patriots will approach the draft can be a fool’s errand. But history tells us that when it comes to their approach with high-value picks — combined with the recent personnel losses of Darrelle Revis or Vince Wilfork — if they end up sticking with just one selection in the top 50, they’ll try and find a defensive back or defensive lineman.

Since Bill Belichick took over just prior to the 2000 draft, the Patriots have had 24 picks in the top 50, and they have spent half of those on defensive linemen or defensive backs — six each. (In addition, they’ve taken four offensive linemen, three tight ends, two wide receivers, two linebackers and one running back with those selections.)

Of that group of 24, you can easily count 10 players as being long-term starters: Wilfork, Devin McCourty, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Richard Seymour, Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski, Chandler Jones and Nate Solder. You could also make an argument that three others (Benjamin Watson, Ty Warren and Patrick Chung) were in the league long enough to qualify as contributors.

While it’s unclear how that stacks up against the rest of the league — that’s a more in-depth blog post for another day — the fact that the Patriots have been able to hit on 42 percent of those picks is a good number. That stat is made all the more impressive considering the fact that New England has had just two picks in the top 10 in that span (Seymour at No. 6 in 2001 and Mayo at No. 10 in 2008). That’s second on the list of fewest top 10 picks in that span. By way of comparison, since 2000, the Lions and Jaguars have had the most top 10 picks (10 each), while the Colts, Steelers, Broncos and Giants have had the fewest (one each).

How does all this figure into this year? Ultimately, no one throws more curveballs on draft weekend than the Patriots, and the same should be true this time around. (It’s no surprise that no draft expert can seem to agree on what direction New England will go this time around.) But if you’re looking for the Patriots to utilize their 32nd pick on a defensive lineman, history tells us that’s usually a good thing: Of the six defensive linemen they have taken in the top 50, they’ve hit on four of them: Wilfork, Seymour, Warren and Chandler Jones. One was an undisputed miss (Ron Brace) and the sixth (Dominique Easley) gets an incomplete for playing roughly half of his rookie season before going on injured reserve.

However, as successful as they’ve been at targeting defensive linemen and plugging them immediately into the system following those high value picks, they’ve struggled when it comes to identifying and drafting defensive back, at least when it comes to those same high-value picks. McCourty and Chung are the only two defensive backs taken in the top 50 who have enjoyed successful careers — Eugene Wilson had one very good year before a slide in semi-obscurity, but Brandon Meriweather, Darius Butler and Ras-I Dowling have all made little to no impact at the NFL level, at least when they were in Foxboro.

Of course, when it comes to drafting and developing defensive backs, maybe the organizational philosophy is more about quantity than quality: Since 2000, the Patriots have used most of their picks at defensive back (26), while defensive line (22) and offensive line (22) round out the top three. They’ve drafted 17 linebackers, 13 wide receivers, 10 tight ends, eight running backs, eight quarterbacks, three fullbacks, two kickers (one, Owen Pochman, also worked sparingly as a punter), one punter and one long snapper.

In the end, no one is suggesting that the Patriots will be able to replace Revis or Wilfork with a rookie. There’s always a ton to consider when the pick is submitted — scheme fit, approach, playing style. And simply put, there’s no one in this draft class at either cornerback or defensive line who can have the impact on the 2015 Patriots that Revis or Wilfork would have had if he was still a part of the franchise. (That’s not to say that a player taken at that spot couldn’t eventually grow into that role — it’s important to note that Revis was taken 14th overall by the Jets in 2007, while Wilfork was selected 21st overall by New England in 2004.)

But when you consider their historical approach, combined with their recent personnel losses, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see New England lean on a semi-familiar formula when they’re on the clock this spring.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots have signed free agent running back Travaris Cadet.

Travaris Cadet was reportedly signed by the Patriots on Tuesday. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Travaris Cadet was reportedly signed by the Patriots on Tuesday. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Patriots have signed free agent running back Travaris Cadet, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

The 26-year-old Cadet, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder out of Appalachian State, has been in the league for three seasons, all of them with the Saints. A changeup option out of the backfield, he has 45 catches over the course of his professional career ‘€” including 38 last season ‘€” to go along with 11 rushes for 37 yards.

On the surface, Cadet appears to be a candidate to fill the role of third-down back, which was vacated when Shane Vereen left for the Giants earlier this offseason as a free agent.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price