Patriots

Best safety in 2020 NFL Draft had formal meeting with Patriots at Combine

Best safety in 2020 NFL Draft had formal meeting with Patriots at Combine

Alabama star Xavier McKinney is rated by several experts as the best safety in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he's an intriguing option for the New England Patriots with the 23rd overall pick in the first round.

McKinney told reporters Friday that he had a formal interview with the Patriots at this week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Our Patriots insider Phil Perry actually had McKinney going to the Patriots in his first 2020 mock draft last month. Here's what he wrote about McKinney's potential fit in New England:

The Patriots have so many avenues to pursue come draft weekend. Quarterback? Sure, if Jarrett Stidham (who has impressed behind the scenes) isn't ready to take the reigns and if Tom Brady is out. Tight end? Of course, though there don't appear to be any surefire first-rounders there this spring. How about safety?

That's where I could envision McKinney (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) sliding in. He's a do-it-all type for the Crimson Tide. He plays in the box. He blitzes. He covers tight ends, which has been a problem for the Patriots at times this year. He led Alabama in tackles this year, forced four fumbles, picked off three passes and broke up five more. With Patrick Chung closer to the end than the beginning, perhaps McKinney could someday fill that type of role. A versatile, tough, consistently-productive two-year starter and first-team SEC defensive back who studied under Nick Saban? That'd be worth a first-round choice for Bill Belichick.

The Patriots had one of the league's best secondaries last season, but adding some youth to the group makes a lot of sense. Veteran safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are both 32 years old. McCourty will be an unrestricted free agent in March unless he and the team agree to a new deal beforehand.

It's also possible McKinney could just be the best player available at No. 23, and even though the Patriots have more pressing roster needs than safety, it's not easy to pass on a player as talented as McKinney, especially when you also factor in the amount of high-pressure games he's played in at Alabama.

The Patriots have selected five Alabama players since 2010, and four of them were on defense, including linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

Perry's Notebook: Brady's market taking shape despite CBA uncertainty

NFL expects to open on time with full schedule; here's when it'll be revealed

NFL expects to open on time with full schedule; here's when it'll be revealed

With the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and MLS scrambling to figure out a way to salvage its seasons and crown champions in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the NFL says as far as its season goes, it'll be business as usual in front of fans. 

Pash, the NFL's general counsel, told reporters, including Breer, on a conference call Tuesday of playing a full season, “That’s my expectation. Am I certain? I’m not certain I will be here tomorrow. But I’m planning on it, and I’m planning on a full season.”

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So, if Pash expectation becomes reality, on Thursday night, Sept. 10, the Kansas City Chiefs will hang their first Super Bowl championship banner since 1970 and host a team to be determined.

The full schedule - still 16 games, but with a third wild-card team in each conference; it won't be 17 games until at least 2021 - is expected to be released no later than May 9, according to Breer and others.

As for the draft, still set for April 23-25 in this era of social distancing, the "war rooms" of each team will reportedly be limited to 10 people in the room each six feet apart, with picks being made via video chat. 

 

Tiger Woods-Phil Mickleson rematch could add Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as playing partners

Tiger Woods-Phil Mickleson rematch could add Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as playing partners

With the sports void dragging on, fans are looking for any and all options for watching a competitive event.

The possibility of a golf match, in this case, a rematch - with no fans and socially distant competitors - between two of the game's greats has been floated.

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Yes, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson II. Mickelson hinted over the weekend that it's being worked on. They met in a pay-per-view event in November 2018 with Phil besting Tiger after four playoff holes to take home the $9 million prize.

And now, for the new wrinkle in the rematch. Golf author and journalist Robert Lusetich hinted that two other all-time greats - quarterbacks, that is - are being mentioned as potential playing partners for the golfing legends this time around. 

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Vegas is already putting out lines, Lusetich reports:

Brady and Manning, in addition to being longtime QB rivals (Tom leads 11-5 head-to-head overall; and in Super Bowls, 6-2), are old golfing buddies, if this clip from Manning's ESPN+ series "Peyton Places" is to be believed. The two hit some balls and talked some trash after "breaking into" CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz's house. 

While Manning has been out of football since he went out on top with a Super Bowl title in February of 2016. Brady is preparing for his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  So, would Tom have the time?

If they're all in, the question then becomes, who gets Tiger and who gets Phil as a partner?