First, eagle-eyed Tweeter @Rich_The_Hill made an excellent point as soon as the deal was announced — with Ducasse going at No. 61 overall and the Patriots taking linebacker Brandon Spikes one spot later, it looks like the market has been set for New England’s negotiations with the former Florida linebacker. "That sets [Brandon] Spikes’ contract (1 pick later) at $3.189M," he Tweeted. "Bank on it." Given the history and the way contracts are uniformly slotted, that feels about right. While the reports on the signing bonus vary (I’ve seen everything from $1.46 million to just over $1 million guaranteed reported), it’s a safe bet that Spikes’ guaranteed money should exceed $1 million.
Second, Ducasse was the first second-round pick of the 2010 draft who has agreed to a deal. Keeping in mind the Patriots have three second-rounders (Spikes, Rob Gronkowski and Jermaine Cunningham), this will likely start the run on second-round signings, which means the trio could be in the fold sooner rather than later.
(On that same point, I have spoken with several people around the league over the last week or two — including agents — and they all anticipate that the Patriots will have all 12 of their draft picks in the fold before the end of July.)
Few college centers get to hear their names called in the annual NFL draft. Even fewer centers with as little experience as Patriots sixth-round selection Ted Larsen receive the honor.
But after just two seasons as the centerpiece of the offensive line for Tom O’Brien’s North Carolina State squad, the ascending talent and former defensive tackle joins Dante Scarnecchia’s crew of lunch pail linemen in New England.
"I think he’s shown that he can play the position at a very high level of competition there in the ACC," Bill Belichick said shortly after selecting Larsen. "He played for Coach O’Brien, who has developed a lot of offensive linemen pretty much wherever he’s been, including guys that we’ve taken from [Boston College]. I think that he’s shown that he can play at that level. He played in the Senior Bowl against other good players there."
"He has some position flexibility, but he hasn’t played a lot of guard, but that’s certainly a position where we’ll work him at," Belichick continued." He’s kind of the reverse of Ohrnberger. Rich was kind of a guard that we worked at center. Ted’s more of a center that we will work at guard, so ultimately, hopefully, those guys will be able to play all three positions to some degree. I mean, we’ll see how that goes, but that will be the expectation that we at least try there and see what happens."
- Patriots Roster Report - In this edition we break down the defensive back depth and preview training camp battles at the position. (13.02 min. audio)
- Albert Breer examines the Patriots fluid coaching staff situation.
- Ian Rapoport wonders which 2010 rookies jerseys will fans be able to buy at the Pro Shop. A fan poll puts WR Taylor Price and LB Brandon Spikes at the top.
- Jeff Howe feels Randy Moss should post monster numbers in this contract year.
- Gary Tanguay and Greg Dickerson of Sports Tonight explain what they would do if they were in the shoes of some of Boston's biggest sports figures. (4.58 min. video) Mankins should crawl back to team.
- Caylin Davis says Wes Welker could be ready to play in Week 1.
- Jessica Fargen details the Patriots Cheerleaders new "bedazzled red, white and blue uniforms." Video and photos available to check out for yourselves.
- Athlon Sports 2010 New England Patriots Preview. Forecast: 3rd in the AFC East. Ouch!
- Athlon Sports 2010 Previews: New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.
- Athlon Sports 2010 AFC East Wrap-Up.
- Peter Schrager (Fox Sports) NFL pre-camp previews: AFC East.
- Josh Alper (NFL Fanhouse) AFC East burning questions, bold predictions.
- WSFA12 News Bama's Nick Saban subject of documentary film set for Aug. release. Bill Belichick will appear as one of his close friends.
- Mike Florio (Sporting News) In light of mega NBA deals, please don't say football players make too much money.
- Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) Effective pass rush from OLBs pivotal to 3-4 defense's success.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Inside the playbook: red zone passing concepts.
- Ann Killion (SI) Russell's to blame for his failings, but Raiders should get the assist.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Team ESPN adds a middle linebacker.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) T.O. takes aim at ESPN for his lack of a job.