Good morning! Welcome to a new daily feature here at Musket Fire. The First Shot will provide you with a healthy helping of links to the top Patriots-related stories around the internet to get your day started. Enjoy your breakfast, your morning coffee, put off your morning’s work (just keep an eye out for the boss), and get your early morning football fix. The links begin after the jump…
- Last night, I looked at The Good, The Bad, and the Patriots’ Draft, and gave the team my final draft grade.
- Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston gives you an inside look at new Patriots RB Shane Vereen, who was drafted in the second round, by discussing the back with his college running backs coach Ron Gould.
- The Boston Herald’s Ian Rapoport goes on a trip to Texarkana to learn more about the Patriots’ third-round draft choice, QB Ryan Mallet. He discusses Mallet’s big throwing arm, Mallet’s start as a nose guard, his morning studies of Tom Brady, why the Dolphins didn’t draft him, and a story on how Mallet lost his U.S. Army All-American jersey.
- Ever want to travel with the Patriots to a road game? The Patriots Charitable Foundation is running the “Ultimate Patriots Road Trip Raffle”, where you would get to do just that, including attending an away game and staying in the team hotel among other things, go HERE to read about the raffle and purchase raffle tickets.
- The Patriots’ official website has a draft board up with all of the Patriots’ 2011 draft picks, including a bio and a conference call with each player and highlight videos for most.
- Pat Kirwan from NFL.com goes to bat for the Patriots’ draft picks, defending what the Pats did on draft day:
As for the running backs taken, let’s look at the draft process. Four outside linebacker candidates were off the board before the Patriots took Nate Solder. Seven potential five-technique defensive ends were gone by the time the first pick in the second round came around. In total, 13 players for either spot were gone by time they selected Shane Vereen. While I could see a case for Dontay Moch or Justin Houston late in the second round because of their pass-rush credentials, Belichick might be looking to free agency for his pass rusher.
- Ryan Mallet compares himself to Tom Brady. I can’t make that up.
- Pete Schrager from FOXSports.com has a 2012 mock draft up! It’s never to early…is it? See how far he has the Patriots going next season and who he has them drafting.
- Tom Brady’s surgically-repaired right foot is healing properly and he should be ready to go come training camp…should there be a training camp.
- Richard Deitsch compares the draft coverage on ESPN and NFL Network, and declares NFL Network the clear winner. Much of his analysis centers on how the network covered the Ryan Mallet selection by the Pats.