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Potential Patriots: Mark Barron

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Potential Patriots: Mark Barron

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran and Mary Paoletti will look at some of the prospects that could be targets for the Patriots. Today's player: Mark Barron.

Mark Barron, 6-1, 213
SS, Alabama
The Skinny: A thumping hitter with a knack for coming downhill and supporting the run. Seen as the best safety on the board in a weak safety class. Was the leader of the Crimson Tide secondary, making all the defensive calls for Nick Saban's team which - by the end of their National Championship win - was one of the best college defenses in decades. A two-time captain who's seen as very smart and the owner of a solid personal makeup. In addition to being a pretty good hitter, has excellent body control and can make plays on the ball in the air. A good, long look at how he plays the position is here. Our friend Wes Bunting from National Football Post who we'll be leaning on said of Barron, "From a fit standpoint, he's a smart guy, very good instincts and a good football player. Junior to senior year, he really improved. He did a better job of balancing and being more sound. He's not explosively fast but he's instinctive in coverage and then will help against the deep pass. I don't think he's dynamic enough to be a big time, Pro Bowl ballhawker. But he's a good solid player.

Gotta Have Him: Clearly, the Patriots are in desperate need of a complete safety they can line up next to Patrick Chung and make the back end of the Patriots defense better than occasionally OK. Barron, because of the Bill Belichick-Nick Saban link, will be a prospect the Patriots know inside and out. He's been the quarterback of an NFL-style defense playing at the highest level. He can cover. He can hit. He is smart. He's got the ability and leadership skills to be a long-time fixture.

Earliest I heard was cowboys interested at 14, more than 14 players better than him.
Don't Need Him: He had double-hernia surgery after the season and didn't work out at the NFL Combine. Being that he's the top safety on the board, it's questionable as to whether he'll be on the board at 27 and 31. That means a trade-up is necessary and - if that's the case - how often do you see the Patriots go high for a safety? Right, not often.

Forecast: The Cowboys, Jets, Eagles and Bengals have all been seen as possible landing spots for Barron. This is a player who - aside from the hernia surgery - figures to be a very safe pick. Barron's a player a team can take comfort in knowing he'll be a capable pro. Very little risk. The need is there for New England. The talent and dependability of Barron is there. But the Patriots may also believe they can find a "good enough" answer somewhere else. I don't agree with that and believe they should move up to get him, especially if that means parting with one of their second-round picks and the 27th. Enough with the chaos at the back. Move up. Get a player. Chances are, if they wait for Barron at 27, he'll be gone. Said Bunting, "As a football player, he's a top 20 guy but there's questions on how athletic he is because of the hernia surgery and the fact he hasn't been able to do all the testing. If you get him late in the first round, that's a great spot. I've heard the Cowboys have interest at 14, if that were to happen, I'd say it's too high."

Patriots Draftability: 9

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Morning Skate: Bruins might part with prospects in right deal

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Morning Skate: Bruins might part with prospects in right deal

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while it’s once again snowing in Boston.
 
-- Interesting stuff as always from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman. Among his 31 thoughts: His notion that the Bruins have told other teams they won’t be trading away any of their young players. I think it’s pretty clear they have no intentions of dealing Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen or Anders Bjork, and rightfully so given the impact they’ve had on the NHL roster. But the Bruins certainly may be willing to deal some of their next wave of prospects if the right player becomes available, so I wouldn’t take that as a blanket statement that Don Sweeney won’t be trading any of his organization’s young players.
 
-- Scary stuff for the Chicago Blackhawks, as they’re worried that goalie Corey Crawford could be out for the season with vertigo issues.
 
-- Kid Rock's being named featured performer at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game received very “meh” reactions from those around the hockey world. Personally, I was hoping for Chaka Khan.
 
-- The Calgary Flames are finally living up to their big expectations after struggling in the first half of the season.
 
-- So what exactly do the Ottawa Senators have to play for in their final 40 games of the season after losing their way out of playoff contention?
 
-- Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Arpon Basu on the lasting legacy that Claude Julien has left with the Bruins.
 
-- For something completely different: The synopsis is finally out for the new Han Solo standalone Star Wars movie, but still no trailer or teaser.

Too much rest for the weary?

Too much rest for the weary?

BOSTON -- You won’t find any of the Celtics griping about having more days off this month than they've had all season.
 
But is there such a thing as too much rest?
 
It certainly looked that way Tuesday during Boston’s 116-113 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, which was Boston’s first game after having played once in the previous 10 days.
 
When asked about the long layoff being a factor, Al Horford said he wasn’t sure what, if any, impact that had on the game’s outcome.

“I thought we were just sloppy on the offensive end and couldn’t capitalize on a lot of opportunities and transitions and I think that hurt us,” Horford said.
 
Just as surprising was how the game, on so many levels, looked identical to previous games in which the Celtics trailed by double digits only to rally in the second half for the win.
 
“We can’t come back every game,” said Kyrie Irving. “It’s as simple as that. Sometimes another team is going to hold the lead and they’re going to play well.”
 
Here are five other takeaways from the loss,  which snapped Boston’s seven game winning streak.  

CELTICS DEFENSE

A strength all season, there were just too many breakdowns for Boston to emerge victorious. At no point did it feel like the NBA’s top-rated defense put its imprint on the game. And on nightswhen that happens -- which have been few and far between this season -- success for the Celtics is extremely hard to come by.

JAYSON TATUM

This was one of the more bizarre games we’ve seen from Tatum this season. He had 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting, but he never had one of those Tatum-like stretches of domination. While some may wonder if the 19-year-old is finally hitting that rookie wall, you have to remember this isn’t his first subpar game of the season. To his credit, he has bounced back quite well on the heels of rough outings. Don’t expect that to change now.

DANIEL THEIS

One of the reasons for Tatum playing less than 30 minutes (it was the second straight game he played less than 30 after logging 30-plus in his previous nine), was the play of Theis. He provided some much-needed energy for a Celtics team that looked and played somewhat lethargic for long stretches most of the night. He had seven points, which included a huge 3-pointer in the second half with the shot clock winding down, in addition to playing solid defense that factored into DeMarcus Cousins shooting just 7-for-20 from the field.

ANTHONY DAVIS

Celtics Nation’s bromance with The Brow will only intensify after he dropped 45 points on the Celtics last night, to go with 16 rebounds. What really made his performance stand out beyond it being the most points scored by a Celtics opponent this season, was the ease in which he got them. It really felt like Boston put up little to no resistance  most of the game. He shot jumpers with great confidence. He finished around the rim. Davis did anything and everything he wanted, all game. It was the kind of performance that Celtics fans would love to see at the TD Garden more often . . . in a Celtics uni, of course.

3-POINTERS

We know the 3-point shot is a weapon of choice for Boston. But launching a season-high 50 last night was not part of the plan. More than anything else, it was a function of the Pelicans playing arguably their best defensive game of the season. They kept Boston’s guards in front of them most of the night. And by not allowing much dribble penetration, it made life easier of sorts for their interior defenders. When there was penetration on Boston’s part, far too often Davis or Cousins would alter the shot attempt or help create a turnover. That often led to Boston having little choice but to take a 3-pointer, many of which were contested. It’s an important part of the Celtics offense, obviously. But when the number of 2-pointers (51) is basically the same as the number of 3s taken, the result will usually be a Celtics loss.
 

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