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.

Derron Smith (Harry How/Getty Images)

Derron Smith (top) is a little small for an NFL free safety, but his production can’t be questioned. (Harry How/Getty Images)

DERRON SMITH

Position: Free safety

School: Fresno State

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 197 pounds

Achievements: 2014 Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, 2013 All-Mountain West first team, watch lists for Bednarik and Thorpe Awards for best defensive back, 2012 All-Mountain West first team

What he brings: Smith is applauded by experts for his awareness and ability to read offenses. Scouts like his ability to match up with receivers on the line as well as in high coverage. The biggest concern for many is his size, which may create problems defending tight ends and tall receivers. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says Smith “lacks ideal size for the position but checks off just about every other box teams will be looking for.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: Smith suffered a season-ending broken arm in the third game of his 2011 sophomore season. ESPN.com ranks him as the second safety and 67th overall in the draft.

Related articles:

Record Gazette: Smith looking forward to NFL

NFL.com: Smith improving his game

Video: Here are Smith’s interceptions throughout his career at Fresno State.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Jets owner Woody Johnson now have something new to squabble about. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)Two decades ago, it was the Border War. Now?



The rivalry continues.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Jets have filed tampering charges against Robert Kraft and the Patriots based on the owner’s comments Monday about Darrelle Revis who is now a member of the Jets.

The rivalry continues.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Jets have filed tampering charges against Robert Kraft and the Patriots based on the owner’s comments Monday about Darrelle Revis who is now a member of the Jets.

“€œWe thought we made a very competitive offer,” Kraft told reporters while speaking at the NFL owners meetings. “I speak as a fan of the New England Patriots — we wanted to keep him. We wanted him in our system, and we have certain disciplines.

“We had hoped it worked out. It didn’€™t.”

The owner continued to say how he hated losing Revis, but trusts Bill Belichick to make the right decisions for the organization.

“As a fan, in March and April, I hate to lose [Revis],” Kraft told reporters Monday at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona. “But our real focus is what goes on in the fall and winter. I put my faith and respect with Bill [Belichick]. We have a lot of discussions, and he’€™s done pretty good the last 15 years. The fan in me argues all the time with him, but he has a pretty good record.”

Kraft was asked if he was talked out of matching the Jets offer by Belichick.

“No. I listen to what he says,” he said. “We discuss things thoroughly, but he has done a pretty good job. Once again, the emotion and fan in me, you want to keep all the good players and we have a salary cap. I know what it’€™s like when you lose a game in the fall and the winter, so the emotion of the spring has to have some discipline if you want to be good long-term. I think he’€™s proven to be a pretty good manager of our resources.”

This is likely in response to the Patriots filing tampering charges against the Jets for Woody Johnson‘s comments about Revis back in December.

Tampering rules prohibit: “€œ[a]ny public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’€™s player to that player’€™s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The NFL is continuing to take player safety seriously, and to further the trend the league passed five new rules directed to player safety on Tuesday at the league meetings in Arizona.

In the Super Bowl Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman took a huge shot over the middle of the field from Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Edelman appeared dazed, but stayed in the game, still appearing dazed a few plays after. With one of the rule changes, that may not have happened.

A rule passed Tuesday now says there will be an injury spotter, who can stop the game if he/she sees a player may have suffered a brain injury. The ATC spotter (athletic trainers) would be able to notify the side judge who can then call a medical timeout to remove the player from the game.

“You’€™d have to talk to the medical people about that. I was coaching the game,” Bill Belichick said of the play and if he thought Edelman should have came out of the game.

The other four changes are:

1. Defensive players can no longer push teammates at the line of scrimmage on punts.

2. Peel back blocks are banned.

3. Once a pass is intercepted, receivers now have defenseless receiver protection.

4. Running backs can no longer chop block a defensive player engaged by the waist outside the tackle box.

It’s worth noting Belichick’s proposal for fixed cameras on all boundary lines to aid in instant replay was tabled to allow for additional time for research and development.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Jabaal Sheard is one of players the Patriots signed via free agency recently. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jabaal Sheard is one of players the Patriots signed via free agency recently. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick was in midseason form Tuesday morning speaking for the first time since the Super Bowl, talking for over 40 minutes without saying much at all at the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL’s owners’ meetings in Arizona.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, Belichick answered “I don’t know” 23 times, and said “We’ll see” another 23 times.

Before getting on the coach for his lack of expansion, he really was just being honest when it comes to the new players the team has signed recently with their roles because with it being late March and the season not starting for another roughly six months, even Belichick doesn’t know how things will shake out for them in the Patriots’ system, especially since he hasn’t coached any of these newcomers before.

For example, Jabaal Sheard. The Patriots signed the former Browns outside linebacker/defensive end as their biggest signing of free agency so far. Sheard recorded 8.5 and seven sacks in the league before a slight dip the past two years. Even with his production in Cleveland, Belichick truly doesn’t know how things will work out once he puts on a Patriots uniform.

“We’€™ll see how it goes. He’€™s been a productive player,” Belichick told reporters.

Will he be more of a defensive end or an outside linebacker?

“We’€™ll see how it goes,” said Belichick.

The same goes for veteran tight end Scott Chandler, who should serve as a nice complement to Rob Gronkowski, but like with Sheard, Belichick didn’t commit to anything.

“€œHe’€™s been a productive player. We certainly had a lot of trouble with him. We’€™ll see,” Belichick said.

When it comes to replacing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at cornerback, the Patriots have signed two veterans in Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain. Given it was Belichick’s first time speaking following any of the offseason acquisitions, he was asked about Fletcher and McClain.

With how deep the Patriots are at corner, no job is safe, and Belichick certainly didn’t speak like either were even guaranteed a spot on the team.

“We’€™ll see how it goes,” said Belichick. “Competition, and see how the competition turns out. I don’€™t know.”

“There is competition at every position every year. It’€™s no different than any other year,” he added.

A reporter tried to get more in-depth on how Fletcher, the former Eagles corner, could fit in with the Patriots. Belichick continued to give the same answer, as he doesn’t really know what he is going to get from Fletcher since he hasn’t coached him yet, nor has be been in the Patriots’ system.

“We’€™ll see. He hasn’€™t played in our system, so we’€™ll see how it goes. I don’€™t know,” said Belichick.

How has he been used before?

“I don’€™t know,” Belichick said. “We haven’€™t had him in our system. We’€™ll see how it goes.”

The Patriots lost running back Shane Vereen to the Giants via free agency. When asked how the team would try and fill his void, Belichick once again stressed competition.

“I don’€™t know. We’€™ll see how it goes,” Belichick said. “We have a number of players at that position. We’€™ll let them compete and see how it turns out.”

While some would like to get more from the coach, he’s never been a guy to fill reporters’ notebooks with loads of information. He only speaks in absolute truths and with it being March 24, nothing is set-and-stone yet, especially when it comes to new players on the roster.

There’s still a ways to go until the season-opener and Belichick has a long time to get to know his new players and find roles for them within the system.

“€œWe added players to our roster last year in the middle of the season,” said Belichick. “I don’€™t think there are any games scheduled anytime soon.”

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

Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa missed all of 2013 following two hip surgeries but came back with a strong 2014 season. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

OWAMAGBE ODIGHIZUWA

Position: Defensive end

School: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 267 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-Pac-12 second team

What he brings: Odighizuwa’s body is built like a Greek god, according to NFL.com. He is relentless and competitive, never abandoning a pass rush, though he isn’t tremendously skilled in that area. For CBS Sports, his burst and power helps him beat tackles to the outside and can beat tackles inside with “good initial quickness and a powerful bull rush.” He is very tough to block.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-2

Notes: Odighizuwa missed all of the 2013 season after having two hip surgeries but came back in 2014, was named team co-captain and performed well enough to be named All-Pac-12 second team. In the combine, he posted an impressive 4.62 second 40-yard dash, a 39-inch vertical jump, a 127-inch broad jump, a 4.19-second 20-yard shuttle and an 11.75 second 60-yard shuttle, all of which were among the combine’s best. He and his three younger brothers were raised by their mother, Abieyuwa, who left their father when Owamagbe was 10. His name is pronounced oh-wah-MAH-bay oh-DIGGY-zoo-wah.

Related articles:

Oregonlive.com: UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a Portland native, searches for his career’s happy ending

Los Angeles Daily News: UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa spells trouble for opposing offenses 

Los Angeles Times: UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa continues to climb NFL draft charts 

Video: NFL analysts discuss Odighizuwa as he runs the 40-yard dash.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

Bill Belichick spoke for the first time to the media since the Super Bowl Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Bill Belichick spoke for the first time to the media since the Super Bowl Tuesday morning at the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona.

The coach was in midseason form, not offering much to the media on hand in the nearly 40 minutes he spoke at a roundtable.

Belichick commented for the first time on losing Darrelle Revis to the Jets, but the coach offered very little.

‘€œIt’€™s NFL free agency. It’€™s like that in the NFL,’€ Belichick told reporters. ‘€œPlayers leave teams and go to teams in free agency every year. That’€™s not a big story.’€

The Patriots could have picked up the $20 million option on Revis’ contract to keep him in New England for 2015, but the Patriots declined without really expanding on the answer.

‘€œIt’€™s NFL free agency,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œWe do what’€™s best for our football team.’€

As for how the Patriots defense will look without Revis at corner, Belichick muttered, “I don’t know.”

Belichick was also asked about losing cornerback Brandon Browner, as the Patriots also declined to pick up his option for 2015 and Browner signed with the Saints.

“You should ask Sean [Payton] and the Saints,” Belichick said, saying Browner is no longer on the Patriots’ roster.

He was also asked to expand on losing Vince Wilfork, as the defensive tackle signed with the Texans last week. Belichick didn’t even answer that question.

“I released a pretty comprehensive statement on that, he said. “I think that about covers it.”

The owners’ meetings wrap up on Wednesday, with the NFL draft scheduled for April 30-May 2.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

ESPN NFL analyst Sal Paolantonio joined Middays with MFB Tuesday morning to discuss the latest from the NFL owners’ meetings, including the latest on the tampering charge against the Jets and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.