Sports Centralby Cian Fahey
- We've moved to The Sports Central
- Avery Bradley's stuttering start to Boston Celtics career is no more
- New England Patriots - a case for keeping Brandon Lloyd
- Tom Brady's contract extension puts pressure on New England Patriots to perform in short-term
- Jeff Green's approach epitomizes Boston Celtics Post-Rajon Rondo
This is the last stand of the big three.
After this season, Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett may be back in Boston together, but there is no chance that they will be leading the team from the front. Pierce is the only one of the trio who is likely to return as a full-time starter as he is under contract while Allen or Garnett could return on lesser deals to be role players.
The Patriots gave up their 31st and 126th pick to the Denver Broncos to select the Alabama Linebacker. Hightower is one of the most versatile players to come out of the draft in recent years and led the Alabama defense to a National Championship last year. Hightower is the perfect fit in the Patriots' defense as he can play in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes.
The New England Patriots traded up to 21st with the Cincinnati Bengals to select Chandler Jones out of Syracuse in the first round of the NFL draft.
Bill Belichick gave up the 27th overall pick and a third round selection to move up six spots and take the defensive end. Jones has been described by some as the best pass rusher in this class. The Patriots were in desperate need of defensive reinforcement and could go defense again with their second first round pick.
“With the first selection, in the 2012 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford University.”
One day away from the 2012 NFL draft, that is the only statement which we are guaranteed to hear from commissioner Roger Goodell as he announces the draft picks.
As I wrote yesterday, the Patriots are expected to focus their efforts on defense this Thursday when the draft begins. The two primary needs for the team are pass rushers and coverage men and therefore Bill Belichick and his team of scouts will be focusing on those areas of this draft class.
Jenkins is potentially the most talented player in coverage that this draft has to offer. Yet while Morris Claiborne is seen as a guaranteed top 10 pick, Jenkins is expected by some to fall as far as the third round.
The Patriots fixed their greatest weakness on offense carrying over from last season when they made multiple additions to their wide receiving corp. The addition of Brandon Lloyd gives the team a viable number one receiver who can stretch the field while the return of Donte Stallworth adds another burner to their ranks.With We Welker, Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco also returning, with potential contributions from Anthony Gonzalez also, Tom Brady should have plenty of weapons to put points on the board with next year.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis may have been a casualty of free agency, but Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen will be expected to step up into the void at the position while Kevin Faulk could potentially return. The team also has some issues to deal with on the offensive line but carries the required depth to move forward without any further additions. Robert Gallery is expected to slot in for the injured Logan Mankins at left guard, while Matt Light's replacement, Nate Solder, proved his quality as a rookie last year.
In order to get a better idea of what to expect from the Patriots on Thursday night, here is a selection of picks from various experts' mock drafts:
Bill Belichick and company are well used to picking at the end of each round as they are consistently competing in the playoffs. While each year's draft is unique, there is a certain level of consistency that can generally be found if you trace the history of each draft pick from season to season.
As such, let's take a look at the last 10 27th overall picks in the NFL draft.
Whether Danny Ainge ever actually did or not, when the Celtics were reportedly shopping Rajon Rondo to other teams entering the season, I completely agreed that he wasn't worth keeping.
I entered this season with the Celtics not expecting them to be even close to competing late in the playoffs. I still don't expect them to be championship contenders, but no longer do I view their immediate future after the initial reign of the "Big Three" comes to an end with heightened pessimism.
The New England Patriots re-signed Dan Koppen today after he couldn't find a new home elsewhere in free agency.
Koppen is a nine year veteran who has played his whole career in New England snapping the ball to Tom Brady. The 32 year old started this past season for the Patriots but was lost after the opening game in Miami to a broken left fibula.
Green-Ellis' replacements were drafted last year while most of the other losses, such as Mark Anderson to the Buffalo Bills, have already been dealt with, to replace Anderson the team added Trevor Scott from Oakland.
What could ultimately prove to be more vital this year, at least prior to the draft, are the respective moves that the Patriots' divisional rivals made. Here is a look at each team and how they stack up to the reigning division champs.
The college season is well in tow, the combine is completed and all of the pro days are done, the draft is beginning to take shape. Even though the very nature of the draft makes you expect the unexpected, here is a mock draft looking forward to the big event in New York in a few weeks.
1. Indianapolis Colts Select Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford.
Luck is the consensus number one pick from mock drafters. He is seen as the cleanest prospect to come out of college in a very long time. As the son of a former professional quarterback, Oliver Luck, Andrew's adjustment to the NFL shouldn't be too taxing. The Colts will build their future around the young signal-caller.
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