For what it’s worth, the Patriots aren’t the only team that had to forfeit a pick this spring. Here’s a look at the other teams that had to yield some of their draft capital.

Chiefs, third round — Kansas City was stripped of a third-round pick this year (No. 91 overall) and a sixth-rounder next year because of a tampering charge involving wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

Falcons, fifth round — Atlanta was docked a fifth-round pick this spring because it was found guilty of piping in artificial crowd noise in 2013 and 2014.

Rams, fifth round — Los Angeles spent a supplemental draft pick last year to select offensive tackle Isaiah Battle. The Rams took Battle in the fifth round, which means they had to forfeit this year’s fifth-rounder.

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 2016 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. Although the Patriots do not own a first-round pick due to their punishment for Deflategate — and there are restrictions on their ability to trade up — we will include likely first-round picks in case someone slips or the Pats are able to swing a deal.

VERNON BUTLER

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Louisiana Tech

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 323 pounds

Achievements: 2015 All-Conference USA first team, 2015 All-Louisiana first team

What he brings: Butler is a great athlete who is extremely disruptive while penetrating the offensive backfield. He is a relentless bull rusher who never quits on plays, even when knocked down. NFL.com writes that he is “able to eat up double teams and keep his linebackers clean when asked to,” while adding that he will “work himself back into the play” if a blocker does not finish the job against him. He finished 2015 with 50 tackles (10 for loss) including three sacks. In his 49-game career with Louisiana Tech he racked up 170 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. Butler is athletic enough to chase down ball carriers anywhere on the line of scrimmage, and is not satisfied until he does so. He has long arms, strong hands and quick feet, which in addition to his massive frame gives him the physical characteristics NFL teams will be looking for at defensive tackle.

Where the Patriots could get him: Butler is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second, so the Patriots likely would need to trade up if they want to select him.

Notes: At the NFL combine Butler ran his 40-yard dash in 5.33 seconds, completed 26 reps at the bench press, had a 29.5-inch vertical jump and recorded a 104-inch broad jump. He also complete his three-cone drill in 7.82 seconds and ran his 20-yard shuttle in 4.76 seconds.

Related articles: Sporting News’ NFL Draft Diary: Vernon Butler knows where he belongs in the NFL

Washington Post: A closer look at Vernon Butler, NFL draft prospect

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

In the latest edition of the “It Is What It Is” podcast, Chris Price talks with ESPN’s Field Yates about the Patriots and what they’ll do at quarterback in the wake of the latest Deflategate ruling. Chris and Field also discuss how New England is going to approach this year’s draft, as well as how the Pats stack up against the rest of the AFC East at this point of the offseason.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Tom Brady has another quarterback in his corner — Drew Brees.

Brees spoke to a number of different media outlets on Tuesday for a promotion and naturally Deflategate and Brady’s suspension came up.

Drew Brees appears to be in Tom Brady's corner. (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

Drew Brees appears to be in Tom Brady’s corner. (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady has another quarterback in his corner — Drew Brees.

Brees spoke to a number of different media outlets on Tuesday for a promotion and naturally Deflategate and Brady’s suspension came up.

“I think we would all agree that he definitely has too much power,” Brees said of Goodell via SI.com. “He is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to all the discipline. I’m not going to trust any league-led investigation, when it comes to anything. It’s not transparent.

“At times, I feel like there is a desired conclusion or agenda that they have in mind and that may prevent the absolute truth from being told or the absolute facts from being presented. At the end of the day, we as the public. We as players don’t ever get to really see that. We don’t get to see those facts, those truths and those things. That’s the unfortunate part of this whole thing.”

Brees, a former member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee, has been passionate about questioning Goodell ever since the Saints were punished in 2012 for Bountygate.

“Forget the issues at hand here with Deflategate or whatever you want to call it,” Brees told The Dan Patrick Show. “I think this was an issue again where the commissioner’s authority was challenged and the league is gonna do whatever they can to make sure they know that he is in position to make these types of unilateral decisions, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.”

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

NFLPA executive director of external affairs George Atallah checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to discuss the latest with Tom Brady and Deflategate, specifically what is next. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah said the Deflategate case is far from over. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

NFLPA executive director of external affairs George Atallah said the Deflategate case is far from over. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

NFLPA executive director of external affairs George Atallah checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to discuss the latest with Tom Brady and Deflategate, specifically what is next. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Brady’s four-game suspension was reinstated Monday and it seems likely Brady will fight it until the end. Atallah said although the NFLPA advises Brady on what to do, in the end it is Brady’s decision.

“It’s always Tom’s call,” Atallah said. “Our job as a union is to provide him with his best possible options and it’s always been Tom’s call as to how he wants to proceed with this. It has always been Tom’s call to how far he wants to take this. We stand by him and we’ve stood by him since the first second this crazy thing came down. We’ll see what he wants to do. I think we will use every bit of the 14 days to make the best and smartest decision to how we want to proceed. Tom is going to take a look at those options as well and we’ll make a decision together and move forward.

“Look, Boston fans, I don’t think this thing is over. I really don’t. We have a long way to go to fight this. Worst case scenario is we’ve exposed a really, really screwed up process for the most popular game in the world.”

Atallah said Monday’s ruling wasn’t a complete loss for Brady and the NFLPA.

“I wouldn’t call it a beating, per se,” he said. “I think if you read the dissent and Judge Berman’s decision, we clearly made some relevant arguments that were accepted by the court. We wouldn’t be here if the NFLPA didn’t have the strength to fight such a ridiculous suspension. Frankly, the people in Boston know just like many other football fans in America know that the evidence that the league relied on was circumstantial at best.

“It’s tough to stand here and say that we are pleased with the decision — obviously, we are not. We would have liked a different outcome, but I don’t think anyone can question the union’s resolve to fight for Tom’s rights, to fight for his innocence and frankly, despite the outcome we still exposed a tremendous amount of, let’s call it absurdity from the way the league office operates.”

Atallah was asked if Brady was upset by what came down Monday and while he wouldn’t answer directly, his answer made it clear the Patriots quarterback wasn’t too pleased.

“I think you guys have known Tom long enough and he has been a regular on the station to kind of know how he feels about this whole thing,” Atallah said. “I am going to keep our conversations with him at the moment between us until we decide he is ready to say something and we have a decision on how to move forward. I think while none of us are thrilled with the outcome, I think we can hold our heads up high and recognize we did fight pretty remarkably long here — longer than anyone expected us too. Who knows, the fight may go on.”

As for a potential settlement between Brady and the NFL, Atallah acknowledged there have been negotiations in the past, but nothing that was in Brady’s interest. He also didn’t rule it out this time around, but it comes down to the NFL and what they are willing to offer.

“It was reported that Judge Berman tried to get us there before we even got to this decision yesterday,” Atallah said. “If they wanted to provide and offer Tom a reasonable settlement, I believe that would have already happened. There is a lot of time between now and the start of the season and there’s still an opportunity or possibility simply by a function of time for somebody to step up and make some sort of rational decision here so that we don’t head into the season with a player of Tom Brady’s caliber sitting out for the first four games, especially when you consider this is now the third NFL season. This whole thing started in the playoffs in ’14, right? I don’t understand why it’s in the games best interest to keep a player out over some evidence that doesn’t make sense.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Justin Simmons is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Justin Simmons is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

The NFL draft will begin this Thursday night and similar to the lack of buzz with the Patriots, it’s the same deal with New England college prospects, as there aren’t many players from local schools drawing a ton of buzz. With that being said, that doesn’t mean some local players won’t hear their names called this weekend.

Here are five players to keep an eye on this weekend from a New England college perspective:

Justin Simmons, safety, Boston College — Simmons has done extremely well for himself since the Eagles season wrapped up last winter. He’s climbed up the mock drafts considerably as he was one viewed as a Day 3 selection and now he has a chance to be a Day 2 pick. He was able to show his athleticism at the NFL combine in February as he had the best short-shuttle time (3.85 seconds) and eighth-best vertical jump (40 inches). Simmons has also impressed many teams with his private workouts and visits. He projects to be a solid man-to-man NFL safety.

Ben Braunecker, tight end, Harvard — It is an underwhelming year for tight ends in the draft, which is a good thing for Braunecker, who is likely going to be a Day 3 selection. He leaves Harvard as a three-year starter and team captain. This past season he had 48 receptions for 850 yards and eight touchdowns, the most for the team and sixth-most in Harvard history. He too had a very good combine as he posted the fastest time among all tight ends in the 60-yard shuttle, ranked second in the vertical leap, the broad jump, the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle. He also had the third-most reps in the bench press.

Tajae Sharpe, wide receiver, UMass — Sharpe is the best wide receiver to come out of UMass since Victor Cruz. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder finished his senior season at UMass with 111 receptions for 1,319 yards and five touchdowns. He hasn’t received as much national attention as some other local players, but he’s a solid receiver who likely will get to hear his name called likely on Day 3.

Cole Toner, offensive line, Harvard — Toner was a solid right tackle for the Crimson and was invited to the Senior Bowl at the end of the season. At 6-foot-5, 308 pounds he has a good build, but playing in the Ivy League, some have questioned his toughness when it comes to playing in the NFL. Toner made headlines at the combine when he talked about running for office following his football career and likely will be a Day 3 selection.

Connor Wujciak, defensive tackle, Boston College — Defensive line is one of the deepest in this year’s draft, which may have hurt Wujciak, but he still likely will be drafted on Day 3. Standing 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, while still being athletic, he has a good build, which makes him attractive to some teams. His family has a long football background as his brother Alex was a three-time All-ACC linebacker at Maryland and his father Alan, played on the offensive line on Notre Dame’s 1973 national championship squad.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to discuss the latest with Tom Brady and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to discuss the latest with Tom Brady and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

Schefter reported Monday afternoon Brady and his camp are still mulling their options, but the case wasn’t over. Tuesday, Schefter expanded and said Brady plans to fight it, seeing what he can do to get the four-game suspension overturned.

“The one thing I have been told is they are definitely huddling,” Schefter said. “He wasn’t accepting it. He planned to fight it, come back at it, whatever that is. I think they were going over that as we speak, at least that was the sense I got yesterday. Again, they were huddling about it to figure out exactly what would happen. The way it was told to me is they would ask for a re-hearing, or a re-hearing on a new issue that wasn’t previously part of an argument that has arisen since the argument and the entire 21-judge panel on the Second Circuit would review it and make a decision. They would have to agree to do that, which is hard. Having a chief justice for them helps them.

“Again, these are issues that are beyond my scope of knowledge. Better to turn to someone with an extensive legal background, but that was what was told to me yesterday. The plan was to fight this and see what they could do to have it overturned.”

Schefter does not believe Brady would be willing to settle and take a lesser suspension.

“To me, settlement — Tom Brady was never going to settle and I know it is against him right now. I don’t think he is going to want to admit guilt,” he said. “… I think he would rather serve the four games than say I did anything wrong.”

A good portion of the ruling on Monday was centered around Brady destroying his cell phone. Schefter questioned why the league and the judges made a big deal over that, but wouldn’t release the data from the league’s PSI “spot checks” last season.

“What is interesting to me here, is I think you look at it and you say one of the league’s biggest objections was Tom Brady didn’t turn over his cell phone and the electronic evidence and yet the league conducted an investigation last year or measurements of balls for what was deemed to be a very serious issue,” Schefter said. “The league declined to turn over that information. I mean, if it is so important that the Patriots are going to lose draft picks and Tom Brady is going to be suspended four games, it would probably be helpful and informative for everybody to see what the measurements of the balls were last year.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable