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Tebowmania makes a stop in Foxboro

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Tebow during his short stint with the NY Jets. Tebow spent most of him time in the big apple on the bench

In the biggest piece of unsurprising news in recent memory, Bill Belichick finally pulled the trigger on his boy, Tim Tebow. Tebow comes in to a situation that is best suited for him, as there are zero expectations for him to be a starter at quarterback in New England. In reality, he probably won’t be playing much QB at all while in a Patriots’ uniform.

ESPN and all of social networking exploded when the news broke (first from Ed Werder of ESPN) that the Patriot’s would be signing the former Jets’ benchwarmer. With that being said, the writing has been on the wall for this move for some time now.

Tebow visited Foxboro as part of his pre-draft tour in 2010 prior to being picked by the Broncos in the first round. The man who had the final decision in picking Tebow in Denver was Josh McDaniels, the then head coach of the team. McDaniels has since re-joined the Patriots as their offensive coordinator. The connections were all there for Tebow to be heading to New England; the question now becomes what to do with him.

Tim Tebow is not a good quarterback; however, he is an outstanding football player. You can say whatever you want about his throwing mechanics and how awful they are (they are awful) but the man can flat-out win football games. Bill Belichick likes to have smart, tough players in his locker room who know how to win, and Tebow certainly fills that bill. Can Tebow play a different postion? Can he play a little tight end, maybe a little full back? He has the size and running ability, the question becomes if he is willing to do so. If he wants to have success in the NFL, he is going to have to. Another key attribute that coach Bellichick always looks for in his players is versatility, and an athlete like Tebow might be one of the most versatile players in recent memory.

 

Big Top Tim is heading to Foxboro, but the circus won't last long

Big Top Tim is heading to Foxboro, but the circus won’t last long

Everywhere Tebow has gone, the circus has seemed to follow him. ESPN has had a fascination with the man ever since he first started having some success in Denver. Tebow will be in Foxboro tomorrow for mandatory mini-camp, and you can be sure that the circus will be there as well. Here’s the thing though, it won’t be nearly as big as in the past. The first day Tebow landed in New York, the Jets called a press conference for him, feeding the monster that is the media circus. You can be sure that won’t be happening in New England. You won’t be hearing from Tebow much if at all for the next few months, Tebowmania will not be an issue in Foxboro as it was in New York and Denver.

At the end of the day, the question becomes “why not?”. Tebow is one hell of an athlete and a good person to have in the locker room as long as the media isn’t hounding him. He can play some snaps at quarterback on the third team in practice and try out some new spots. The Patriots are taking zero by picking Tebow up. He isn’t going to be fighting for a starting job, as that is held firmly by the greatest living American. So, as a Patriot fan who has talked some trash about Tim Tebow in the past, I say “why not?”

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Patriots add 4 more on last day of draft

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On the third and final day of the NFL draft the New England Patriots held 4 draft picks, one at the top of the 4th round and three in the 7th. While the Patriots did not pick 4 players on day 3, they did add 4 players that will be able to compete for a spot on the roster come training camp.

After a few trades to start of the 4th round, the Patriots came on the clock with the 5th pick (102nd overall). A lot of people speculated prior to the pick that the Patriots were planning on double-dipping into the wide receiver pool after picking Aaron Dobson in round 1. There were some great names still on the board at the time, Quinton Patton being one of them who I absolutely loved. Instead, however, the Patriots went with Josh Boyce out of Texas Christian.

Boyce is a 5’11’ receiver who has some good size but some elite speed. At the combine, Boyce ran a sub-4.4 in the forty, and that was on an injured foot. That injured foot is somewhat of a concern, but most accounts say that he should be ready to go by training camp. That is big, because the Patriots have had problems developing receivers when they have a late start acclimating to their system (see Price, Taylor).

Boyce described the injury as “day-to-day” in his conference call and says that he will “be ready to go.”

The Patriots did not have another pick for about 6 hours but the war room stayed busy during the lull. Just before 3 o’clock Eastern Time, Jeff Howe of the Boston Globe reported that a trade of RB Jeff Demps was “imminent.” Demps of course was the Olympic sprinter that the Patriots signed to a 3-year deal during last training camp before he injured himself in a pre-season game against the Buccaneers. A couple of months ago reports started coming to light that Demps was trying to split his time between football and sprinting, which obviously did not go over well with the coaching staff in Foxboro. Rumors soon started swirling that the Patriots had put him on the trading block.

Some time after the original report from Howe, it was announced that a trade including Demps did indeed happen. It was reported that the Patriots would ship Demps along with the second of their 7th round picks (229 overall) to Tampa Bay in exchange for RB LaGarrette Blount. Tampa is a logical spot for Demps as they were the only other team to see Demps during the their joint-practice with the Patriots after Demps signed with the team.

Blount lost a lot of playing time this past year after the meteoric rise of rookie sensation Doug Martin. Blount was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010 after falling out of the draft due to behavior issues at Oregon. He had a phenomenal rookie year, totaling over 1,000 yards, and a solid year in 2011.

Blount joins a running back room led by Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Bolden. He will probably compete with Bolden for snaps behind Ridley and for a spot in some goalline situations. This may be my favorite move of the entire draft; the Patriots get rid of a player they didn’t want, and get someone that can bring a different edge to their running game.

“Excited to have him here, think he’s a good football player,” coach Bill Belichick said during his post-draft press conference of Blount, “He’s had a lot of production and I think he got in a situation last year where they obviously went with [Doug] Martin, but I think he’s a good football player and happy to add him to our team.”

When the 7th and final round came around, the Patriots were left with 2 selections. With the first, they opted to add a little more to the pass rush with Michael Buchanan, a DE out of Illinois. Buchanan was on some pre-season watchlists but had somewhat of a disappointing senior season for the Illini, totaling just 4.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. Buchanan is an impressive-looking human being at 6’6” and about 240 pounds. He has long arms as well, which I really like in my pass rushers.

Buchanan is a very interesting prospect who I can absolutely see competing for playing time as an edge rusher on passing downs. Buchanan seems like, at least right now, he is just happy to be in New England.

“This was a childhood dream of mine with an organization I always wanted to be with, so it’s definitely a great feeling. It’s truly a blessing,” Buchanan said during his conference call.

With the Patriots’ final pick, Belichick again used his pipeline in New Jersey and selected Steve Beauharnais, an inside linebacker from Rutgers. It was mostly agreed that this was a good value spot for Beauharnais as he was slated to go in the 6th round. Beauharnais was the team captain for the Scarlet Knights this past year and a finalist for the Butkus award, he also had a career high 83 tackles in 2012.

Most scouting reports praised him for his football smarts, saying his called all the signals for the Rutgers’ defensive unit. Aside from even the Rutgers connection, this screams a Belichick pick. He’s a team captain and a smart player that can line up a defense, everything Bill loves in his linebackers.

This marks the 2nd time since 2010 that the Patriots picked 3 players from the same school. That year the team picked Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham, and Aaron Hernandez from the University of Florida.

At the end of the day, this was a solid weekend for the Patriots. The team added some great players in the draft that can help this team immediately and got a player in a trade that adds some edge to their offense. The only question I still have is the Duron Harmon pick. That pick is just such a blatantly terrible value pick; it really does hurt the rest of the class. Final grade: C+