Feeling a Draft

The NFL draft is this weekend, and it is a highly anticipated one for Patriots fans. With personnel losses to free agency this spring as well as other holes to fill, it appears that New England will be looking to add players who can step in and begin to play right away. Michael Felger looks at four Patriots on the current roster who might have cause to be watching this weekend’s selections very closely. Eric McHugh goes position-by-position through the Patriots defense and looks for prospects who might be able to fill holes on that side of the ball. Jerome Solomon has the Patriots attempting to fill some needs at certain positions this weekend, and takes a look around the roster for those holes. Chris Kennedy also examines what the Patriots thinking might be when it comes to the draft this weekend.

Felger also says that the Patriots shouldn’t trade away picks to make a giant leap up in the draft. He feels it isn’t worth it, and that there is enough talent in this draft to help the team, so they should make as many picks as they can. Rich Garvin says that the Patriots are likely to make trades in order to move up and get the players they want. Tom E Curran gathers together a few mock drafts and tries to see if there is any agreement on who will be available when the Patriots go to pick at #21. Dan Pires asserts that the Patriots should be in the market for a shutdown corner, and lists out some potential candidates for that role. Hector Longo says that the Patriots need to draft offensive weapons to surround Tom Brady. Jim Donaldson laughs at NFL draft “experts”.

Jerome Solomon talks to various NFL types about the proper mix of brains and brawn to make a successful NFL quarterback. Then he goes and looks at the top quarterbacks available in this draft. John Tomase looks at some of the kickers who are out there and might be considered a candidate to be the long-term replacement for Adam Vinatieri here with the Patriots. Michael Parente also looks at possible replacements for Vinatieri. Albert Breer has a look at Oregon State receiver Mike Hass, who fits the Patriots no-respect mantra. Breer also has a look at Tennessee safety Jason Allen, who is on the Patriots radar as well. Kevin McNamara looks at Providence native and Boston College receiver Will Blackmon, who is something of a mystery man in this draft. Steve Conroy says up to five BC players could get selected in this draft.

The CBS4Boston website will have a special NFL draft webcast at 12:45 today.

Josh Beckett and the Red Sox got walloped 15-3 by the Indians last night in Cleveland. Chris Snow has the gruesome details from Jacobs Field. Jeff Horrigan has more on the worst start of Josh Beckett’s career. Joe McDonald also examines the start from Beckett, before which he seemed loose and raring to go, but couldn’t locate anything where he wanted to once the game got underway. David Heuschkel says things started bad for Beckett and only got worse as the night went on. Phill O’Neill looks at Beckett appearing like a batting practice pitcher last night against the Indians. David Borges has Terry Francona noting that Cleveland is a good fastball hitting team and Beckett couldn’t do anything with his off-speed pitches last night.

Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox need to get this game out of their minds and focus on reviving their offense, which currently sits 23rd in the majors. He concludes his piece by looking at an apparently content Manny Ramirez. Steve Buckley (subscription only) has Curt Schilling holding court on retirement, the Yankees and Roger Clemens. McDonald has more from Schilling, as he recalled his greatest baseball moment – pitching Yavapai Junior College to the Junior College World Series in 1986.

Steve Buckley has Geno Petralli offering to assist Josh Bard with learning how to catch the knuckleball. Buckley also talks to Alex Cora about pitching, the backup infielder nearly got called into the game to throw an inning last night.

Snow’s notebook looks at Craig Hansen getting promoted to Pawtucket for the next phase of his development. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Hansen moving up the chain. McDonald’s notebook has Matt Clement remembering the scary incident in Tampa last summer which could’ve gone much worse for him. Heuschkel’s notebook has Terry Francona expressing confidence in Josh Bard. He also clarifies an incident mentioned in Horrigan’s notebook where it appeared that Julian Tav