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.

Zack Martin (AP)

Offensive lineman Zack Martin joined a short list of players who captained Notre Dame for two seasons. (AP)

ZACK MARTIN

Position: Offensive tackle

School: Notre Dame

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 308 pounds

Achievements: One of 18 two-time captains in Notre Dame football history, started a team-record 52 straight games, 2013 Pinstripe Bowl MVP, 2013-14 ESPN.com All-Bowl Team, four-time Notre Dame Guardian Life Insurance Guardian of the Year, 2012 Walter Camp second-team All-American

What he brings: Some scouts and managers have argued that Martin should make a move from offensive tackle to guard because his arm length is not long enough for the NFL. While they question Martin’€™s size and foot speed, Martin’s knowledge of the game and power became a selling point especially after the Senior Bowl.

Where the Patriots could get him: Martin is expected to be a top-20 pick, so the Patriots likely would need to trade up to get him.

Notes: Martin, 23, redshirted his freshman year and finished out his fourth year of eligibility as a graduate student during the 2013 season even though he could have been drafted in Rounds 2-4 in 2013.

Related articles:

247Sports.com: Notre Dame‘s Zack Martin emphasizes ability at tackle

ESPN.com: Martin worth eyeing at Senior Bowl game

ESPN.com: Versatility should help Zack Martin

Video: Here is a video of Martin during Notre Dame‘s game against Alabama in the 2013 BCS championship game.

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Bill Parcells' Patriots Hall of Fame candidacy.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Christopher Price discuss Logan Mankins' breakdown of the offensive line and how it will look without Dante Scarnecchia. They also discussed Mankins' rebuttal to Brandon Spikes.

[0:00:09] ... expert reporter for WEEI dot com. Chris it was interesting hearing one Logan Mankins speak today. Up in the red suite level area of Gillette Stadium talking about his future with the patriots he has been here as people. I'm sure know by now since 2004. He has been an integral part of this franchise on the field and obviously one protecting. Tom Brady. What -- your takeaways from Logan Mankins today in and what he feels needs to be improved upon upon the offensive line now. That off longtime offensive line coach ...
[0:01:40] ... regular season. One interesting question I thought today that was asked of Logan Mankins what do you expect from the coaching staff. What do you think he expects I think he expects guidance I I I ...
[0:02:52] ... or broken down or both and that's obviously the one concern any patriot fan has. About protecting Tom Brady. Do you still think Logan Mankins. Represents. Solid offensive line that young and energetic and can still get the job is done day game inning game out protecting Tom -- I think -- care and editing is seven attempts at Logan Mankins is still better than under present -- most guards in the league -- yeah why is that because he's still one of ...
[0:04:09] ... I keep hearing over and over -- a guy was compared to Logan Mankins was -- -- -- feel when offensive linemen interior lemon at UCLA the guy we talked to a become mine who says ...






Logan Mankins will be without Dante Scarnecchia this season. (AP)

Logan Mankins will be without Dante Scarnecchia this season. (AP)

FOXBORO — In addition to his dismissal of Brandon Spikes, here are three things we gleaned from our Thursday morning chat with Logan Mankins.

1. He sounds optimistic about the upcoming transition period for the New England offensive line.

For the first time since shortly after the earth cooled, Dante Scarnecchia will not be coaching the Patriots offensive line. It’€™ll be an interesting stretch for Mankins, who will be losing the only position coach he’€™s known at the professional level. However, Mankins said new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo “seems like a great guy, and I look forward to working with him.”

“€œIt’€™s going to be a big change,”€ Mankins said when asked about moving on from Scarnecchia. “I was lucky enough to have him for nine seasons. I wish that could have continued. But he put in his time and he earned the right to retire. Last time I talked to him, he was enjoying life right now and he’€™s staying busy. But it will be a lot different. That’€™s the only o-line coach I’€™ve known for quite a while now, so, it’€™ll be a bit of a change.”

What does Mankins want out of a new coach?

“€œPersonally, I just want a coach that’€™s fair, he’€™s going to treat everyone the same — there’€™s no one on a pedestal,”€ he said. “I think I learned to appreciate that from Dante. He was a hard coach, but he was a fair coach. We always knew he had our backs. He demanded a lot of us, but I think that’€™s what made a lot of us good players. That’€™s why he was such a successful coach and lasted so long.”

2. He’€™s been working a lot with fellow guard Dan Connolly this offseason.

According to Mankins, for the first time in several years, both Mankins and Connolly aren’€™t dealing with any sort of offseason rehab for surgery. As a result, the two have been working together in the area to ‘€œget after it’€ for a few hours every morning. He said

“€œIt’€™s been a good partnership right now,”€ Mankins said. “In years past, I had surgeries, he had surgeries, we had the whole lockout thing. We used to (train) a long time ago until certain things changed that, so this year was nice to get back together.

“€œWe meet every morning at a certain time and get after it for a few hours then go home. It’€™s always nice to have someone to work out with, especially at your own position, that you are working on the same things,” Mankins said. “We’€™ve been pushing each other and it’€™s been working out well.”

Right now, Mankins said it’€™s just “€œthe big boys throwing around weights.”€ That will transition to the start of the offseason program on Monday, where coaches can get involved. At that point, it’€™s expected that more cardio will be worked into the mix. Mankins said center Ryan Wendell has also been present since re-signing about three weeks ago, while youngsters Jordan Devey and Chris Barker have also been present.

(For what it’€™s worth, Mankins also sounded an optimistic note on the state of right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who went down in October with a season ending leg injury. “€œHe looks good right now, too. I don’€™t know his whole update right now, but he looks good and I know he’€™s working hard,”€ Mankins said of Vollmer. “There’€™s good promise there.”€)

3. There’€™s something to be said for continuity.

If everyone returns healthy, the Patriots will have a chance to utilize the same five starting offensive linemen they had at the beginning of the 2013 season — Vollmer (right tackle), Connolly (right guard), Wendell (center), Mankins, (left guard) and Nate Solder (left tackle).

“œIt’€™s always good,”€ said Mankins when asked about continuity. “We know what were doing, (but) it always comes down to making the right blocks and doing a good job. We like the group we have. We like the guys in that room. They’€™re all hard working guys and they try very hard and they work hard. I think we could have a good season together.

“€œI look forward to seeing everyone get back and everyone getting to work together finally,”€ he added. “€œIt’€™s always exciting, kind of like your first day back at school, I guess. You get to see everyone after the break, get to catch up with some friends you haven’€™t seen too much of lately, and get to work together, push each other, and see if other guys have been working as hard as you have.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Official dates and times have been added to the Patriots 2014 preseason schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.: at Redskins Friday, Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m.: vs. Eagles Friday, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.: vs. Panthers Thursday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.: at Giants

Official dates and times have been added to the Patriots 2014 preseason schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.: at Redskins
Friday, Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m.: vs. Eagles
Friday, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.: vs. Panthers
Thursday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.: at Giants

With the understanding that teams are allowed to open training camp 15 days before the first preseason game, that could set the Patriots up for camp to begin as early as July 23.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Logan Mankins hasn’t spent much of his offseason worrying about Brandon Spikes.

FOXBORO — Logan Mankins hasn’t spent much of his offseason worrying about Brandon Spikes.

Spikes, who signed with the Bills as a free agent after four seasons in New England, recently predicted a pair of Buffalo wins over the Patriots this season. He also took a shot at New England’s approach to the injury report, hinting that the Patriots aren’t completely truthful when it comes to reporting injuries.

But on Thursday morning, Mankins wasn’t interested in retaliating.

“Everyone has their own opinions and everyone likes to think they know it all,” said Mankins during a break in his offseason workout program while at Gillette Stadium. “It really doesn’t bother me too much. I know what we have here. I know the owner pretty well now over the years and the head coach and those guys care about the team. They care about winning football games. Whatever anyone says, it kind of rolls off our backs. We know what we have here.

“I don’t pay too much attention to the media that much anyways — I’ve only heard guys joking around about what he said. But I think it’s just Brandon being Brandon. He has a pretty good sense of humor, I think — well, I don’t know if it’s good. But he likes to make jokes. I don’t know if he was joking here or being serious. But I think that’s just Spikes being Spikes.”

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.

Allen Robinson (AP)

Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson set the school record for receptions in a season with 97 in 2013. (AP)

ALLEN ROBINSON

Position: Wide receiver

School: Penn State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: 2013 first-team All-American, 2013, 2012 Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year, 2013, 2012 first-team All-Big Ten (coaches, media), 2013 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist

What he brings: Scouts say that Robinson is faster than people would expect for his size and they also stress that he is a productive player. Robinson is second in Penn State history with 177 career receptions even though he only caught three during his freshman season. Scouts note that he occasionally loses focus, causing him to drop passes.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Robinson had a breakout year in 2012 when he broke the school record for catches with 77 and was named first team All-Big Ten. He then went on to improve on that record by finishing 97 catches for 1,432 yards as a junior in 2013. … The 20-year-old announced that he would leave for the draft the same day as Penn State coach Bill O’€™Brien said he was leaving for the NFL.

Related articles:

PennLive: NFL draft combine 2014: What’s left to prove for Penn State’s Allen Robinson

NFL.com: Penn State WR Allen Robinson declares for 2014 NFL Draft

ESPN: Big Ten postseason player rankings: No. 7

Video: Here is a highlight reel from Robinson’s 2013 season

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri
Raymond Clayborn was a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Patriots. (Photo courtesy New England Patriots)

Raymond Clayborn was a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Patriots. (Photo courtesy New England Patriots)

Raymond Clayborn isn’t much for small talk.

Asked on Wednesday for his reaction to the news that he had been nominated as a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, the former New England cornerback didn’t mince words.

“Why did it take so long?” he replied.

Clayborn could very well have a point. The three-time Pro Bowler played with the Patriots from 1977 through 1989. The first-round pick out of Texas finished his career with a franchise-leading 36 interceptions (tied with Ty Law) for 555 yards for a 15.4 yard per interception average. Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns — as a rookie in 1977, Clayborn returned 28 kickoffs for 869 yards and led the NFL with a 31.0-yard return average and returned three kicks for touchdowns, both of which remain franchise records.

Clayborn, Law and Bill Parcells are this year’s three finalists for the Hall of Fame. (Fans can vote on the finalists for the next month at Patriots.com.)

“I’€™m really honored with the people that I’€™m a finalist with, the two other gentlemen — Bill Parcells and Ty Law,” Clayborn said. “Bill’€™s already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I believe Ty will definitely get there one day himself.”

Clayborn and Law are often linked as the two best corners in franchise history, and are tied atop the franchise list for most career interceptions. While he remains competitive, Clayborn acknowledges Law would likely sit in first place alone if he hadn’t missed the bulk of the 2004 season because of injury.

“Realistically looking at it, Ty got hurt and he did it. I think it was the (fifth) game of the season or something and the next year, he wasn’€™t with the team,” Clayborn said. “So quite frankly speaking, Ty would have broken the record if he hadn’€™t been injured and to hold the record with him is an honor. I really truly believe he’€™s one of the better cornerbacks to play during his time.”

Here are some highlights from the rest of his Q&A with the media:

Can you take us back to the 1985 AFC Championship Game against the Dolphins and what that game meant to you guys in the locker room?

Well, having done it in Miami, a place that I believe most of us, I believe all of us on the team had never won there before, a regular season game, let alone a playoff game. So having to go down there and we won the AFC Championship down there, it was really special. I think we enjoyed it so much, we forgot about the next game, the Super Bowl. We had a great, great team that season.

For those who didn’€™t get a chance to watch you play, how would you describe your style of play?

I definitely preferred man-to-man (coverage). I wanted to challenge them on every play whether it be a run or pass, because most of the time when it was a run play and you’€™re right up on them, they’€™re going to block you, so I had to get aggressive with them and I tried to do the same in pass coverage, try to force them off what they wanted to do and try to guide them into what I wanted them to do, speaking of wide receivers.

Do you see similarities between the way you played the game and the way Ty played it?

Yeah, a lot of them. Ty was aggressive at times, but just being able to lock down a particular guy and cover your side of the field, I think Ty was very capable of doing that.

You played on some really good teams and some inconsistent teams. When you look at the franchise with its consistency now and the new stadium, can you believe these are the same Patriots you played for?

Yeah, we had good teams, we just couldn’€™t get in that category of perennial playoff teams, but it was always something that happened and I think one of the major things was when Daryl Stingley was injured in 1978. We were coming off missing the playoffs by one game in ‘€™77 and we came back and we were just loaded. Everybody was just focused and to have Daryl get hurt that second preseason game out there at Alameda County [Stadium] in Oakland back there in ‘€™78 was really something that just hit us really hard. I think that kind of lingered on for a couple years because we had the talent to go and win a Super Bowl at that particular time ‘€“ the ‘€™77, ‘€™78, ‘€™79 teams. But I think that was something that really kind of hit us right in our heart, to see him like that. He was such a leader of our team, someone you looked up to that worked hard every day. He was even a coach on the field, like he was beating me on a pass pattern and he was telling me, ‘€˜Hey, that’€™s the second time I beat you on that. You can’€™t let that happen again.’€™ That’€™s the type of person Daryl Stingley was and it really hurt us tremendously and I think everyone on the team still feels like this.

Going back to 1976 and ‘€™77. First Mike Haynes and Tim Fox come into the league in ‘€™76 as first-round picks. The following year you come into the league for the Patriots. Can you share your thoughts about that secondary nucleus coming into the league at the same time and how talented the group was and how special was that?

You have to remember that when I came out of Texas I really wasn’€™t versed in playing man-to man, even zone for that matter. We played an old, traditional Cover 3. It was a running-type conference, the style for this conference. They didn’€™t have the intricate passing games that they had in the pros. So, I actually didn’€™t start my first year. I played behind Bobby Howard, who was an 11-year veteran in 1977 when I came up here with the Patriots. He was a technician. He was a guy that was a teacher and they told me to follow him, to watch him and the things that he did. I think Mike would feel the same way too. Bobby Howard was a guy that you could look back on and say he helped us out tremendously with confidence, technique and fundamentals of the game.

For those who followed you closely as a player, what would you tell them you’€™re up to now? Where are you living? What are you up to?

Well, I lived the last 13 years or so in a suburb outside of Houston, Texas, then Katy, Texas. Right now, I am recovering from prostate surgery. I had prostate cancer that I had surgery on November 24. So right now being retired, I’€™m basically recovering from this surgery. At this particular time, I have a daughter who is a freshman at Howard University up in Washington, D.C. I have a 15-year-old freshman at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. And I have an older daughter, 28, and a 3-year-old grandson. Plus my wife [laughs].

I hope everything is going well with your recovery.

Yeah, it’€™s a process. It will be six months in on May 24. It will be a milestone and I hope things start to get better, but I’€™m hanging in there.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price