Patriots

NFL draft rumors: Patriots among teams Josh Jones to video conference with

NFL draft rumors: Patriots among teams Josh Jones to video conference with

University of Houston star Josh Jones is one of the best left tackle prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he will be plenty busy talking with teams in the near future.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday that Jones will video conference with many clubs, including the New England Patriots. Teams are conducting pre-draft interviews with prospects using various video platforms due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has prevented scouts and other club employees from traveling and having face-to-face meetings with players.

The Patriots offensive line was ravaged by injuries last season, including the left tackle spot, where 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn played in just eight games after suffering a foot injury in Week 2. Veteran center David Andrews missed the entire 2019 campaign due to blood clots, and his replacement, Ted Karras, left in free agency to join the Miami Dolphins last month.

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Bolstering the depth of the offensive line should be a priority for the Patriots in the 2020 draft, and Jones certainly is among the top tackles to target. Our own Patriots insider, Phil Perry, had New England trading down in the first round of his latest 2020 NFL mock draft and taking Jones with the No. 27 pick.

Here's what Perry wrote about Jones:

He may not be as ready to go on Day 1 as Thomas or some others, but the Patriots may not need him that early. He'll have the ability to go onto the Nate Solder plan — remember they drafted Solder in the first when Matt Light was still on the roster — and take a year to develop before he's thrust into a key spot. He'll learn behind Marcus Cannon and then have the chance to take over that right tackle job in 2021. With a year of seasoning, Jones — who had several different offensive line coaches during his time as a four-year starter in Houston — could end up being an even better player than the more pro-ready Thomas.

Jones, at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds and with 34-inch arms, has plenty of length and mass on his frame. He's also an explosive athlete at that size (109-inch broad jump) and has plenty of tape that shows he's more than "athletic enough," which is how Dante Scarnecchia used to describe the movement skills required for players in his meeting room.

The Patriots currently own the No. 23 pick in the first round, and based on many mock drafts, Jones should be available at that point. New England has 12 picks in the 2020 draft overall, but only one in the top 86. The Patriots don't own a second-round pick, and that puts more pressure on them to nail their first-rounder.

NFL Rumors: Patriots may ask CB Joejuan Williams to play safety in 2020

NFL Rumors: Patriots may ask CB Joejuan Williams to play safety in 2020

If Joejuan Williams sees significant playing time in 2020, it may not be at his primary position.

The New England Patriots have asked the second-year cornerback to become more versatile on defense this season, posing Williams this challenge, per ESPN's Mike Reiss

"Can you be the jack-of-all-trades in the secondary?"

As Reiss wrote, that could mean Williams staying at cornerback, moving to safety or some combination of both.

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Why move Williams around? The simple reason: New England is stacked at cornerback, with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore leading a four-man rotation with Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones.

The Patriots also are deep at safety -- Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are the experienced starters with veteran Adrian Phillips and rookie Kyle Dugger joining as newcomers -- but Williams may be able to carve out a hybrid role as a slot cornerback or roving safety.

New England's second-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound cornerback could take a cue from McCourty, who spent three NFL seasons as a cornerback before successfully transitioning to safety during the 2012 season.

Williams contributed just one pass defensed in nine games played last season, though, so he if wants to see more action in 2020, he'll need to add more skills to his tool box.

Tom Brady takes shot at Charles Barkley after 'The Match'

Tom Brady takes shot at Charles Barkley after 'The Match'

Tom Brady engaged in plenty of trash-talking with his opponents Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods during "The Match" on Sunday. But they weren't the only ones going back-and-forth with the six-time Super Bowl champion.

NBA legend Charles Barkley was a commentator for the charity golf match and didn't hold back from letting Brady hear all about his lackluster performance through the first few holes. On the seventh hole, however, the ex-New England Patriots quarterback birdied a par-5 with what was unquestionably the best shot of the day to silence Barkley. 

The real mic drop from Brady came after the match, though, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB jabbed Barkley for his inability to win a championship during his NBA career.


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Boom, roasted.

Of course, the trash-talking was all just good fun. And it provided phenomenal entertainment while those involved in "The Match" helped raise more than $20 million to go toward COVID-19 relief efforts.