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 in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’€™s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

T.J. Yeldon (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

T.J. Yeldon set an Alabama freshman record with 1,108 rushing yards in 2012. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


Position: Running back

School: Alabama

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 221 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-SEC coaches second team, 2013 All-SEC first team, 2013 BCS National Champion

What he brings: Yeldon is tall and lean, which makes for deceptive agility and speed, according to CBS Sports. This contributes to his impressive body control, which helps him make “effortless lateral cuts and leave defenders whiffing at air.” NFL.com praises him for his hips, foot quickness and creativity in in running lanes. He has some issues with ball security and runs a bit too high for some, subjecting himself to big hits.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 3

Notes: Yeldon had an ankle injury for much of the 2014 season. His role in the NFL is not considered to be clear yet, and one scout thinks he’s “overrated because he went to Alabama.” At Alabama, he produced the best season by a freshman running back for the Crimson Tide in 2012 (1,108 yards) and then posted better numbers the next year (1,235) after stepping into the role of the team’s No. 1 RB. He dipped to 979 yards as a junior last season.

Related articles:

Alabama.com: Who is T.J. Yeldon? A look inside Alabama’s quiet star who’s not big on fame 

ESPN: Nuance drives T.J. Yeldon to greatness, but leads to underestimation

Video: Yeldon helps Alabama set a school record for most points in a quarter during last October’s victory over Texas A&M.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

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 in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Trey Flowers (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers (right) helped his cause by posting impressive numbers at the scouting combine. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)


Position: Defensive end

School: Arkansas

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 266 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-SEC second team, 2013 All-SEC second team (coaches), 2011 Freshman All-SEC team

What he brings: Flowers led his team in tackles for loss (15.5 for 95 yards), sacks (six for 71 yards) and quarterback hurries (nine) last season. He was third on the team in total tackles with 68. According to CBS Sports, he doesn’t have exceptional initial quickness, but he can generate good speed off the corner “because of his long gait.” NFL.com praises him as a “high-motor power end,” and says that he is technically sound, also noting that he “doesn’t look like much athletically, but finds his way to the ball against the run.” He registered a 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump, 36.5-inch vertical jump and 12.03-second 60-yard shuttle at the combine, all of which ranked him at or near the top of those categories.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Flowers, who grew up with nine brothers and sisters, is a good student. He considered entering the 2014 NFL draft after posting a season with 50 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks, and received a third-round grade, but he ultimately decided to return to Arkansas for his senior season. According to NFL.com, Flowers might not have enough to play every down, saying that “his aggressiveness at the point of attack is a plus, but he might have to come off the field on third downs.”

Related articles:

NFLmocks.com: Trey Flowers: Meet the Humble, Hard-Working Arkansas Draft Prospect

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Being a ‘tweener’ is OK with NFL prospect Flowers

Video: Here is a video of all of Flowers’ plays against Texas in the Advocate Texas Bowl. Flowers finished the game with five tackles and a sack.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen
When it comes to evaluating college prospects, Bill Belichick and the Patriots go about scouting in a little different fashion. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When it comes to evaluating college prospects, Bill Belichick and the Patriots go about scouting in a little different fashion than most. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When it comes to the pre-draft scouting process, each one of the 32 NFL teams handles its business differently. Different metrics are used for evaluating prospects, certain qualities are sought out and particular playing styles are assessed as each team tries to find the right formula for success.

In Foxboro, the Patriots have distinguished themselves by ranking prospects in a relatively non-traditional fashion. Instead of putting a grade on a player by round — as most teams do at this time of the year — more of a priority is placed on how that prospect might fit into the New England system.

“They give their scouts a clear set of guidelines in what they are looking for,” according to Dan Hatman, who has worked as a scout for the Giants, Jets and Eagles and now is the Chairman of Scouting Development at The Scouting Academy. “In talking to scouts from New England, it might be the only team that I’m aware of with an internal scout school, for lack of a better term.

“When they go out on the road for evaluations, they are given a very specific set of player profiles. They are not giving players grades by rounds like other teams. Instead, they look at how guys fit into their roster.”

That would support the statements from Phil Savage last spring, when the former college and national scout under Bill Belichick in Cleveland said on Twitter that when he worked with Belichick, he didn’t feel an area scout could know the entire country enough to say “He’s a (second) rounder.” Savage added that Belichick didn’t want round grades, but instead to have the scout categorize a player as a starter, potential starter, backup or camp body.

Per Hatman, that directive can often make a scouts job easier.

“You’re using a defined system,” he said, “as opposed to trying to recreate the wheel every time in trying to figure out where a player could or should be selected.”

It’s just one part of the New England system stands apart from sizable portions of the league, according to Hatman.

“My understanding is that the expose their football personnel people to both coaching and scouting elements, with the idea that coaches are better coaches when they understand the scouting process, and scouts are better scouts when they they understand the coaching process,” Hatman said.

At this point in the pre-draft process, it is absolutely vital that all of the key elements of the franchise are in “lockstep,” to use Hatman’s phraseology. In the last year, there have been notable breakdowns between the front office, scouting department and coaching staffs with three franchises, Philly, San Francisco and Denver, leading ownership to make changes at one level or another.

Hatman said that one of the advantages to the setup like they have in New England — as well as a handful of other places where coaches have say over personnel decisions — is that you have “one voice” crafting your organizational philosophy.

“I don’t want to call it a dictatorship, but when you have one voice guiding the program, it can definitely help,” he said. “Everybody learns from that one voice. If he says, ‘Do you job,’ you know that he’s the man at the top, and you can do your one job and let him take care of the rest. There’s no jockeying for internal position, with the front office politics and such. There can be an advantage to that.

“In that environment, though, you still need a sounding board, a devils’ advocate. A guy who can question from time to time,” he added. “If you only have one voice, you can occasionally get into groupthink, and that can be a negative.”

Regardless, for all 32 teams, this stretch represents the culmination of a long road, one that began in earnest during the college football season, continued through the postseason all-star games and evaluation events like the Senior Bowl and the combine. Now, coaches and ownership take more of a role in the process.

“The role of the scouting staff really shifts based on the time of year and who is involved,” Hatman said. “In my experience, you get ownership much more involved and paying attention. You’re shifting from the evaluation stage to the valuation stage when you are looking at what you can get from a pick as a player. You’re integrating the coaching staff. There are more people involved in the process.”

Teams will hold private workouts, and each franchise is allowed 30 on-site visits. The workouts and the visits could be held for a multitude of reasons.

“You’re really trying to pin down how these guys might factor in your system,” Hatman said of the private workouts and on-site visits. “Take a guy like Bryce Petty at Baylor — this is a guy who is playing in a system that makes a lot of things easier on him. If I’m a quarterbacks coach, a head coach or a GM, I want to better understand how Petty will function in my environment. I have to go and work him out because I have no idea how he’ll fit in this system. You get him in your building and you get him on the board and see what he can do.

“When it comes to the on-site visits, there are a lot of different ways you can go. You can bring guys in you are truly interested in and work them out. You can bring guys in you want to smokescreen. And you can bring guys in you really want to vet physically, or if they’re special character guys where you need more than just the 15 minutes you get at the combine. The owners want to meet them, whatever. There are so many different possibilities.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Now that the compensatory picks have been assigned and the draft is looming larger, here’s a quick rundown of where the Patriots stand when it comes to draft value at this point on the calendar:

1st round (32nd overall)
2nd round (64th overall)
3rd round (96th overall)
3rd round (97th overall — compensatory)
4th round (101st overall — part of 2014 trade with Tampa Bay for Logan Mankins)
4th round (131st overall)
6th round (178th overall — part of 2014 trade with Tampa Bay for Jonathan Casillas)
7th round (219th overall — compensatory)
7th round (253rd overall — part of 2014 trade with Tennessee for Akeem Ayers)

The Patriots have dealt away three of their picks to this point: a fifth-rounder to the Bucs as part of the Casillas deal, a sixth-rounder to the Titans in the Ayers deal, and a seventh-rounder to the Rams as part of a 2012 deal for wide receiver Greg Salas.

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 2015 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.

Benardrick McKinney (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Benardrick McKinney has the size NFL scouts love, but there are some concerns about his game. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


Position: Inside linebacker

School: Mississippi State

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 249 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America second team, 2014 All-SEC, 2014 Bednarik Award semifinalist for best defensive player, 2014 Butkus Award semifinalist for best linebacker, 2014 Lombardi award semifinalist for best linebacker/lineman, 2013 College Football News All-Sophomore, 2012 Freshman All-SEC team

What he brings: McKinney’s most striking characteristic is how he is able to use his size to his advantage. He is one of the taller and larger linebackers in the draft, and he is applauded for using that size to deliver big hits, finish his tackles, and be a presence on run defense. There is, however, some concern that he needs work in pass protection and recovering from misreads. He has the ability to play both inside and outside linebacker.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-3

Notes: ESPN.com ranks McKinney as the third linebacker and 50th overall in the draft. In the 2014 season he notched 56 tackles and three sacks. He did not miss a game in his three years at Mississippi State.

Related articles:

Clarion-Ledger: Assessing McKinney’s combine performance

Video: McKinney records seven tackles against LSU in September 2014.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

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 in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Jalen Collins (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Jalen Collins reportedly had surgery on his foot in mid-March but should be ready for minicamp in May. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)


Position: Cornerback

School: LSU

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 198 pounds

Achievements: 2012 freshman All-SEC

What he brings: Collins has above-average size for a corner and is praised for using his frame to his advantage in press coverage. He is considered to be a consistent tackler who is not afraid to get physical, which helps him in run defense. There are concerns surrounding his ball skills, with experts worried that he may leave some interceptions on the field and that he may not break up as many passes as possible. However, with improved technique, Collins is believed to possess the physical traits necessary to be a very effective cover corner in the NFL.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: ESPN.com ranks Collins as the fourth corner and 28th overall in the draft. In 2014 he recorded 33 tackles and one interception. He did not miss any games due to injury throughout his time at LSU. At the combine, Collins finished second among corners in the three-cone drill (6.77 seconds) and ninth in the 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds). Collins reportedly underwent foot surgery on March 19 but is expected to be ready for minicamp in May.

Related articles:

Bleacher Report: Collins could be star press corner

Times-Picayune: Collins’ draft stock on the rise

Video: Collins recorded six tackles and a pass defensed against Wisconsin in LSU’s first game of the 2014 season.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

It’s been known for years Bill Belichick has been in favor of having fixed cameras on all boundary lines on the playing field to help with instant replay reviews.

Bill Belichick apparently got upset at a league meeting in Arizona earlier this week. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick apparently got upset at a league meeting in Arizona earlier this week. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s been known for years Bill Belichick has been in favor of having fixed cameras on all boundary lines on the playing field to help with instant replay reviews.

His proposal was tabled this year for more review and research. In the past it has been turned down reportedly because of the costs of the cameras being put in place.

Belichick reportedly became upset over this at this weeks NFL annual meetings, with varying accounts of exactly took place at the meeting.

Appearing on “Olbermann” on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter described Belichick as using “profane” language and other NFL officials “laughing” at him.

“They were in a meeting the other day with Dean Blandino, the head of the officials, and Bill Belichick got up there, and in profane language, told the NFL: ‘€˜We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can’€™t spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?” Schefter said on the program (via Pro Football Talk). “He went off, and the way it was explained to me, from people in the room at the time, they were laughing at it because his language was so profane and because he was so incensed about it, and the NFL didn’€™t know how to handle it.

“But the bottom line is, they did not introduce the four cameras in the end zone, they thought right now it’€™s too cost-prohibitive for the NFL even, and they don’€™t know how to do it. They’€™ll probably continue to look at this, but Bill Belichick left these owners’€™ meetings not particularly happy.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio heard differently. He says three different sources who were in the room said Belichick did not engage in a profane tirade. One said there may have been a single F-bomb used by Belichick and the source said, “I’€™ve heard much worse in that room during discussions.”

Another source told Florio: “The quote was something like, ‘€˜Let me get this straight, we can bring this game to Brazil and effing China but we can’€™t afford to put a camera in a pylon?'”

Regardless of what Belichick exactly was like in the meeting, it’s clear he is upset with the cameras not already being in place.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Here’s the second edition of our mock draft roundup, taking a look at some of the opinions the national pundits have when it comes to whom the Patriots will target with the 32nd overall pick. When stacked against our first one (where no one really stood out), now, there seems to be a belief among some that Iowa defensive lineman Carl Davis could be a potential focus for the Patriots.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiahnose tackle Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
NFL Network’s Charley Casserlyrunning back T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
NFL Network’s Brian Baldingerwide receiver Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
NFL Network’s Charles Daviswide receiver Breshad Perriman, Central Florida
NFL.com’s Lance Zierleinwide receiver Breshad Perriman, Central Florida
NFL.com’s Bucky Brookscornerback Byron Jones, Connecticut
ESPN’s Mel Kiper — defensive tackle Carl Davis, Iowa (subscription only)
ESPN’s Todd McShay — defensive tackle Carl Davis, Iowa (subscription only)
CBS Sports’ Rob Rangdefensive tackle Eddie Goldman, Florida State
CBS Sports’ Dane Bruglercornerback Ronald Darby, Florida State
CBS Sports’ Pete Priscodefensive tackle Carl Davis, Iowa
SB Nation’s Dan Kadarguard A.J. Cann, South Carolina

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Florida State's Jameis Winston will go first overall. How will the rest of the draft shake out? (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Florida State’s Jameis Winston will go first overall. How will the rest of the draft shake out? (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

With the first wave of free agency complete and the team-building process well underway, here’s our first mock of the season. As always, mock drafts are a bit of a crapshoot, and this one is no exception. That being said, we’ve done our due diligence when it comes to trying to match post-free agency needs with suitable prospects.

1, Tampa Bay — Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State:
Makes too much sense for the Bucs not to go with Winston here. A wildly talented player who has more than his share of off-field issues. Tampa Bay will tie its fortunes to the former Heisman winner.

2. Tennessee — Leonard Williams, DT, USC:
The best size/speed combo in this year’s class when you’re talking about defenders, he’s a potential game-changer for the Titans’ defensive front. (For what it’s worth, we’€™re not buying the hints that they might be interested in Marcus Mariota at No. 2. Not yet, anyway.)

3. Jacksonvillle — Dante Fowler, Jr., OLB, Florida:
The Jags have done a nice steady job adding pieces over the last year. If Fowler is what people think — the best pure pass rusher in the draft — it would represent a good offseason for Jacksonville, and another step in the right direction.

4. Oakland — Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama:
The measurable are all there for the Raiders, who don’t hesitate to jump at the chance to add the Alabama wideout and give Derek Carr another option in the passing game. (It’s either him or Kevin White from West Virginia.)

5. Washington — Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska:
The Redskins go for what is likely the best available pass rusher. The long Gregory (6-foot-5, 235 pounds) might need to add some weight at the next level, but there’s no question about his athleticism. Shane Ray is also a possibility here.

6. New York Jets — Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon:
The Jets have added some very nice pieces on both sides of the ball this offseason, but the quarterback situation remains muddled. Ryan Fitzpatrick could be a placeholder for Mariota, who could sit for a season and then conceivably take over in 2016. (For what it’s worth, if Mariota doesn’t go here and the rest of the first round plays out without a trade by a quarterback-needy team, there’s the possibility he suffers a bit of a draft day tumble. Not Aaron Rodgers-esque, but he could still tumble.)

7. Chicago — Kevin White, WR, West Virginia: Best available receiver after the Brandon Marshall trade, although it’s tough to pass on the likes of potential game-changers like Vic Beasley and Danny Shelton for a team that still has some question marks on defense.

8. Atlanta — Vic Beasley, LB, Clemson:
Considered one of the most complete defensive players in the draft, Beasley is an excellent first step in Dan Quinn’s goal of creating a Seahawks-like defense with the Falcons.

9. New York Giants — Shane Ray, DE, Missouri: Ray has slipped as of late because of a bad pro day, but New York grabs the best available pass rusher on the board. Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff is also a possibility here.

10. St. Louis — La’el Collins, OL, LSU:
The Rams went offensive line early last year, and appear poised to go there again. They could take Collins (who can play with guard and tackle) or Scherff. There’s also the possibility they could pluck a receiver to give new QB Nick Foles another option in the passing game. (That might be the move here if Kevin White is still on the board.)

11. Minnesota — DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville:
This feels like it’s a little early, but the chance to reunite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with one of his favorite targets in college proves too irresistible for the Vikings.

12. Cleveland — Danny Shelton, DT, Washington:
A pure 3-4 nose tackle for Mike Pettine helps shore up a sluggish run defense.13. New Orleans — Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State: The 6-foot, 186-pounder who turned in an impressive performance at the combine should give a boost to the New Orleans secondary.

14. Miami — Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri:
With the addition of Ndamukong Suh and departure of Mike Wallace, the focus turns to offense. While Green-Beckham reportedly has some off-field question marks, the 6-foot-6, 225-pounder has the size and speed to give Ryan Tannehill a major target in the passing game.

15. San Francisco — Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon:
It would have made more sense for Armstead to fall to Chip Kelly at No. 20 so he could take the best available Duck, but he probably won’t last that long. The Niners are also likely in the market to rebuild depth at linebacker.

16. Houston — Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State:
Lots of directions possible for the Texans here — including an edge rusher — the pickup of Strong feels like a fit for Houston.

17. San Diego — Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia:
The first running back taken in the first round since 2012, Gurley gives the Chargers an immediate jolt in the backfield.

18. Kansas City — Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa:
Let me make this clear — I think this is too low for Scherff, who had a really good combine and pro day, and is fast becoming the best tackle on the market. Look for him to move up between now and the draft. (If Scherff is off the board, they might be inclined to go after tackle Andrus Peat out of Stanford or Ereck Flowers out of Miami.)

19. Cleveland (via Buffalo) — Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami:
After picking up Shelton to help with one of worst run defenses in the league in 2014, the Browns get another big body for the other side of the ball. Flowers can start at right tackle on Day One and eventually replace left tackle Joe Thomas when he moves on.

20. Philadelphia — Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia: Chip Kelly is going to be a real wild card in this year’s draft, and given the moves he’s already made this offseason, it’s anyone’s guess what he’s going to do. However, the super quick Harold can provide a boost for his defense. But really, just about anyone is in play here.

21. Cincinnati — Landon Collins, S, Alabama:
The Bengals have apparently been pretty hot for Collins this offseason — according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Cincy defensive backs coach Mark Carrier conducted his pro day workout. Makes sense for a team that could lose both starting safeties in free agency next year.

22. Pittsburgh — Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest: The Steelers were one of the worst teams in the league last year when it came to pass coverage, and as a result, they chase the best cover corner still on the board. (LSU’s Jalen Collins is also a possibility at this spot.)

23. Detroit — Malcom Brown, DT, Texas:
The losses of Suh and Nick Fairley force the Lions to try and rebuild their defensive front. There’s also a need at offensive tackle for Detroit, which could mean they’d prefer Miami’s D.J. Humphries if he’s available.

24. Arizona — Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE/OLB, UCLA:
A part-time sprinter with the Bruins, he has an intriguing size/speed mix that should attract the Cards, who occasionally struggled to get after the passer last season. “Bud” Dupree of Kentucky is a possibility here, as well as a running back.

25. Carolina — D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida:
The Panthers give some protection to Cam Newton with the best available tackle.

26. Baltimore — Eddie Goldman, DL, Florida State: The Ravens have suffered some serious losses along the defensive line as of late and need some reinforcements. The loss of Torrey Smith also makes you wonder about the chances of a wide receiver at this spot, with Ohio State’s Devin Smith or Central Florida’s Breshad Permian possibilities if the Ravens go in that direction.

27. Dallas — Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin:
The Cowboys want to start the post-DeMarco Murray era on a positive note, which means it’ll be either Gurley or Gordon at this spot. (That is, if they don’t go after Adrian Peterson this offseason.)

28. Denver — T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh:
Clemmings is still a bit of a project, but has nice versatility and can probably sit for a year before stepping into a full-time starters’ role.

29. Indianapolis — Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE, Kentucky:
Like Scherff, a riser who will likely end up at a better spot than No. 29 on draft weekend. The Colts would be lucky to get someone like that here.

30. Green Bay — Jalen Collins, CB, LSU: Green Bay lost Tramon Williams and Davon House in free agency and a replacement is needed. The Packers also struggled to stop the run, and so they could eye an inside linebacker.

31. New Orleans (from Seattle) — Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson: Anthony, who made his bones as a teammate of Vic Beasley at Clemson, has reportedly been a favorite of the New Orleans brass to this point in the pre-draft process, and an Anthony-Waynes first-round combo would be a nice haul for Rob Ryan‘s defense. Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith is also a possibility here.

32. New England — Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma: In theory, the Patriots will go in one of two directions if they stick at No. 32. A defensive linemen (specifically, a defensive tackle) or cornerback. Given their success when it comes to taking big bodies as opposed to defensive backs when they’ve had a pick in the top 50, we’ll go with Phillips here, a 6-foot-5, 329-pounder who has shown an ability to play defensive tackle in a 3-4 or 4-3. There’s also Iowa defensive lineman Carl Davis, as well as Florida State corner Ronald Darby to consider, with UConn defensive back Byron Jones (who lit up the combine) a potential wild card, although both Jones and Florida State offensive lineman Cameron Irving might be second-round possibilities, if they last that long.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price