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New England Patriots Rundown: Ryan Mallett and D.J. Fluker


1. New England Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett is one of the best backups QBs in the league, and he some people view him as a potential starter soon. According to Adam Schefter, the Patriots are very high on Mallett, and the most interesting nugget he shared in the first mailbag response of the column dealt with Brian Daboll’s view of Mallett.

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The former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and current Patriots assistant told Schefter that Mallett would be the starting quarterback with a few other NFL teams if he was on those teams. One of them? The Kansas City Chiefs. My buddy and I ran through the teams that we think Mallett could start on, and we named the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, and Cleveland Browns as a few other teams who could potentially start Mallett.

The fact that the Patriots are this high on Mallett means that it will be tough for a team to meet their price tag in a trade, so it seems like Mallett will be sticking with the Pats. I’m certainly fine with that.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide players are being weighed in at the 2013 NFL Combine, and right tackle D.J. Fluker reportedly checked in at 339 pounsd, per Daniel Jeremiah. This confirms that Fluker will want to stick at the tackle position in the pros, because he lost a little over 15 pounds from his Senior Bowl weight. That’s a lot of work Fluker put in during just the span of a month, and Mike Reiss suggested that the Patriots could take a close look at Fluker in the late first-round if he’s available and, most importantly, if some unforseen event prevents the Patriots from locking up Sebastian Vollmer.

3. Buffalo Bills assistant GM Doug Whaley aired some of his grievances (like the Chiefs John Dorsey and other execs) about the lack of a quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft with “the total package”. The Bills currently have a well below-average QB situation with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tarvaris Jackson, and Doug Marrone said that both players would compete for a starting gig in Buffalo. Buddy Nix slammed Fitzpatrick on a few occasions in the middle of the season for “not being the answer”. The Bills don’t have anyone on the roster who can be the answer, so they might be inclined to take a QB in the second-round. There’s some value to be had there if, as Whaley said, a QB can be developed by the team. But I have a hard time seeing the Bills trotting out Fitzpatrick and Jackson as their lone QBs next season.

4. Todd McShay had the New England Patriots going the best-available approach in his mock draft, as he had them selecting UNC Tar Heels guard Jonathan Cooper. While Cooper is a terrific player with elite ability at the guard position, I just don’t see the need for a guard with a solid Pats interior. Cooper checked in at 6’2 1/8″ and 318 pounds.

5. WEEI wonders if UConn CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson could be a fit for the New England Patriots in the second or third round of the draft, and the piece notes that ESPN ranks him as their second-best corner. To me, that’s a very confounding place to put him. Johnthan Banks, Xavier Rhodes, and Desmond Trufant are three players who are clearly better in my mind. Sure Wreh-Wilson has upside, but that means he hasn’t done a lot of anything yet.

That holds true for Wreh-Wilson, because all that length and athleticism didn’t translate to much production last season for the Huskies. His ball skills aren’t overly impressive, and his ability in man coverage is below-average. There is some upside there and he would be a nice third-round pick as a developmental guy, but Wreh-Wilson has no business being ranked that high by ESPN.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.