Patriots

NFL Draft grades roundup: Experts give Patriots' 2019 class high marks

NFL Draft grades roundup: Experts give Patriots' 2019 class high marks

The New England Patriots made 10 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they addressed several needs, including wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, cornerback and even quarterback.

New England made a bunch of trades on the second and third days of the draft, moving up and down in the order, as well as securing future selections.

The Patriots used their first-round pick, No. 32 overall, on Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry. He's the first wide receiver the Patriots have drafted in the first round during Bill Belichick's tenure as the team's head coach.

The first wave of analysis on the Patriots' draft class has been pretty favorable for New England. Here's a roundup of notable expert draft grades for the Patriots.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: A-
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: A
Dan Kadar, SB Nation: B+
Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated: A
Pro Football Focus: Above average
Nate Davis, USA TODAY: A
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: A+
Mark Maske, Washington Post: B+

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore one of many NFL stars in powerful 'Black Lives Matter' video

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore one of many NFL stars in powerful 'Black Lives Matter' video

Several of the NFL's biggest stars are stepping up to speak out against systemic racism and the racial injustices that once again have come to light in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore joined up with the New York Giants' Saquon Barkley, Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Cleveland Browns' Odell Beckham Jr., Arizona Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins and a number of other high-profile black players to put together a powerful video on Thursday.

In the video, the players reveal what they would like to hear the NFL state about the racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

Watch below:

Hopefully, the league and its fans will hear their message loud and clear.

McCourty twins address Drew Brees' flag comments, whether they forgive Saints QB

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McCourty twins address Drew Brees' flag comments, whether they forgive Saints QB

Drew Brees has taken plenty of heat lately due to the comments he made about players "disrespecting the American flag" by kneeling during the national anthem.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked during an interview with Yahoo! Finance about players kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America. Brees answered, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."

It didn't take long for the veteran QB to get backlash for those insensitive remarks. A number of Brees' NFL peers, including both Devin and Jason McCourty of the New England Patriots, scolded him for his comments.

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On Thursday, the McCourty twins delved deeper into the subject on a special edition of their Double Coverage podcast titled "Bridge To Action." Following an enlightening interview with former FBI special agent M. Quentin Williams, which you can watch below, the McCourtys addressed the Brees situation. 

"Everybody's been in an uproar over Drew Brees' comments, and obviously we've responded on Twitter," said Jason McCourty. "Somebody had asked earlier, 'do we forgive him?' and I don't think any of this thing is about forgiveness. It's not about Drew Brees, it's not about Jason or Devin McCourty, it's about realizing, 'Alright, here's an issue and we need to find a solution for that issue.' Like, you don't have an issue with Drew Brees when he makes those statements. You have an issue with that train of thought, and that thought is what we're trying to move away from.

"So as soon as anyone who has that thought is willing to dive in and learn, and open up dialogue to talk about -- because I think sometimes we subconsciously have thoughts that we don't know we have, and then we say some things that we may have to take some time to go back and self-reflect ... Maybe I need to look inwardly and see like, 'Hey, maybe I'm not looking at this thing the right way. And I think when we're able to do that, there's no animosity or hostility toward anyone because that's not what we're trying to do. It's about there's an issue, and we want to fix this issue."

Devin McCourty doubled down on what his brother had to say and mentioned that he doesn't have anything against Brees. Rather, he hopes this will help the 41-year-old and others like him look at the situation from a different perspective.

"It's not about forgiving or hating," said Devin. "Like, I've never hated Drew Brees. I don't even know Drew Brees. So it was never about that. It was just, how can we get people to now not look through those lenses. And he's a guy who if he doesn't look through those lenses, he can get a lot of other people to feel the same way. So hopefully some good turns out from that."

Brees has since issued an apology for his comments, saying they "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."

Beyond the McCourty twins' comments on Brees, their interview with Williams is well worth the watch. Williams is the founder and CEO of the non-profit organization Dedication to Community, whose mission is to "empower individuals and communities to achieve their business and societal goals through the spirit of entrepreneurial enterprise and community advocacy. The McCourtys and Williams had a mindful conversation about the recent killings of unarmed black men, the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color, and the next steps to implementing positive change in the United States.