The Sports Centralby Cian Fahey
- New York Knicks and Boston Celtics Swap Standards for Second Playoff Series in Three Seasons
- New England Patriots NFL Draft: DeAndre Hopkins Scouting Report
- New England Patriots Draft: Justin Hunter Scouting Report
- New England Patriots Draft: Desmond Trufant Scouting Report
- Boston Celtics: Playoff Formula Mixes Flexible Roster With Veteran Leadership
The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks have come through the 2013 NBA Regular Season in different ways. The Celtics have endured injury after injury and problem after problem to secure the seventh overall seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Knicks have enjoyed their trip to the second seed behind only the Miami Heat.
This is very much the inverse of what recent history has told us about these franchises.
For only the third time during his tenure, Doc Rivers' Celtics didn't finish first in their division. In fact, this year's third place finish was the first below the top since the 2006-07 season. Conversely, the New York Knicks hadn't won the Atlantic Division since all the way back in the 1993-94 season.
After looking at Desmond Trufant and Justin Hunter, today's prospect in The Sports Central NFL Draft Series is Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is one of the most exciting prospects in the draft and some consider him to be the safest selection also.
Even with the re-signing of Julian Edelman and the continuing saga surrounding Emmanuel Sanders, the Patriots will still be in the market for an additional wide receiver presence on the outside. So there is no need to change approach at this point.
Name: DeAndre Hopkins
Date of Birth: June 6, 1992
Height: 6'1 Weight: 214
With the NFL draft just a matter of weeks away, coverage of the prospects and franchises is starting to crank up. Just like any of the other 31 franchises in the NFL, the New England Patriots' shortlist of targets will be coming into focus right about now.
For the first time in some time, the New England Patriots enter the NFL draft with a notably limited number of draft picks. Because of the Albert Haynesworth and Chad Johnson trades, the Patriots only have five choices this year in what is considered to be a relatively deep draft class.
That said, the Patriots, as they seem to always be, are in a strong position to trade up in the draft as part of an overall aggressive philosophy for the next two seasons. Picking at 29th overall in the first round should allow them to grab a talented player who can help them immediately, but if they fall for a specific talent they could look to move up or trade future picks to add a choice this year.
This is the first in a series of reports that will look at potential players the Patriots could be targeting in that scenario.
With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett ailing over the past few weeks, the Boston Celtics have endured a relatively rough patch. Their playoff spot is set, but the inconsistency that comes with broken continuity has given the franchise a 4-8 record in their last 12 games.
That is not the way the Celtics will want to enter the playoffs.
Regardless of who they will face in the first round. Regardless of their relative talent and experience. Regardless of Doc Rivers' coaching, no team in the league can comfortably flip a switch from losing basketball to win-worthy performances in the playoffs.
Although Miami and Boston are some distance apart, the New England Patriots are suffering a bit with noisy neighbors this off-season.
Just as Stephen Ross arrived to take him to the gallows, Jeff Ireland made one final grasp to try and pry away the lock that had kept his franchise from success during his tenure. While his attempts were made out of desperation, and they will likely hurt the franchise in the long-term, they have undoubtedly improved the Dolphins at this point in the off-season.
After Anquan Boldin led the Baltimore Ravens to a relatively easy victory in Foxboro to vault his team into the Super Bowl, it was clear that the New England Patriots had at least one fatal flaw on their defense. Not only was the Patriots' secondary lacking talent and depth, but most notably it had no toughness.
Without Aqib Talib, Boldin was able to overpower Devin McCourty, Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington in any kind of tight coverage, while Steve Gregory, McCourty or Tavon Austin lacked the physicality to intimidate him as he worked over the middle of the field. Patrick Chung had that physicality, but lacked the coverage ability or intelligence to be trusted in coverage.
Toughness and character are prerequisites for championship sides in every team sport, after that game, it became clear that the Patriots were lacking both on the backend of their defense.
The New England Patriots wrapped up a deal for former Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings' wide receiver Michael Jenkins just in time to conclude their business in March. Jenkins won't excite fans, even though he has that speed the Patriots' offense craves on the edges, but he is most likely one of the final moves to be made by the franchise ahead of the draft.
Free agency allowed the Patriots to re-sign their starting right tackle, Sebastian Vollmer, replace Wes Welker with Danny Amendola, add a swing tackle in Will Svitek, get a tough veteran presence in their secondary with Adrian Wilson and retain both Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib at the cornerback position.
In no small part because of Tom Brady's contract extension, the Patriots were able to address most of their primary needs. Outside of releasing Brandon Lloyd to create a void at wide receiver and the lack of a second pass rusher(not presuming that Armond Armstead will be that guy), the Patriots have very few concerns.
- Irish university suspends Legion of Mary...
- 4,000 Irish social welfare letters encourage...
- Pope Francis calls capitalism “new tyranny”...
- Nelson Mandela showed us all what could be...
- Married priests could well be Pope Francis'...
- Notre Dame sues federal government again...
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Unionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for...
- Top ten worst ever Irish Christmas gifts,...