Red Sox/Yankees Round 1, 2007

Baseball season doesn’t really start until the first Red Sox/Yankees series, does it?

Here’s the current matchups for the series – tonight at 7:00pm on NESN Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.50) pitches against Curt Schilling (2-1, 2.84), Saturday at 3:55pm on FOX, Jeff Karstens (no record) goes against Josh Beckett (3-0, 1.50), and Sunday at 8:00pm on ESPN, Chase Wright (1-0, 5.40) faces Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-2, 2.70).

Outside of the Red Sox/Yankees, the weekend features a little bit of everything, with the exception of NFL stuff, (next weekend will make up for that) as there is plenty of NBA and NHL playoffs on tap. Golf and NASCAR are also on the schedule. Here in New England, the weather is finally supposed to be decent, so a lot of the daytime stuff is likely to be missed, but the evenings provide enough to keep fans occupied.

In addition to the local papers, you can get the NY perspective on the New York Sports Pages.

Here’s some information on the ESPN/ABC NBA playoffs broadcasts:

Mike Breen will call the ABC Saturday broadcast with analyst Jon Barry and reporter Michele Tafoya. ESPN commentator teams for Saturday’s games: Dave Pasch, Tom Tolbert and Doris Burke for Nets/Raptors; Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Lisa Salters for Magic/Pistons; and Mark Jones, Bill Walton and Jim Gray for Jazz/Rockets.

ABC’s Sunday NBA Playoff telecast – the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant at the Phoenix Suns and Steve Nash at 3 p.m. – will be called by Breen, analyst Mark Jackson and reporter Tafoya. ABC’s GMC NBA Countdown pre-game show, with host Dan Patrick and analysts Barry and Michael Wilbon, will be on the road back-to-back days this weekend – Saturday (in Chicago to preview the Heat/Bulls game) and Sunday (in Phoenix to preview the Lakers/Suns contest) at 2:30 p.m. All NBA Playoff games and studio shows on ESPN networks will be available in high definition.

For TNT their coverage starts on Sunday with a split tripleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. as the Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Washington Wizards in the first game of the series. Courtside announcing will be Matt Devlin (play-by-play), game analyst (TBD) and Marty Snider (reporter). At 6:00 p.m. ET the studio crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson convene to give an hour-long preview of the NBA Playoffs during the NBA Tip-Off presented by AutoTrader.com.

Then, the Denver Nuggets face off against the San Antonio Spurs at 7 p.m. ET, as Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Doug Collins (analyst) and Dei Lynam (reporter) call the action. Concluding the night’s playoff coverage, the Golden State Warriors travel to Dallas for their first playoff game in 12 years against the defending NBA Western Conference Champions, Dallas Mavericks. Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Mike Fratello (analyst) and Pam Oliver (reporter) will announce the game live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.

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Saturday night April 21 at 7:00pm on WCVB-TV there will be a pre-draft edition of Patriots All Access. Among the highlights:

  • An inside look at the information gathering process of draft eligible prospects with Patriots director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff. He takes us through the year long-plus process, including how they write scouting reports, and a look at the clubs data base system.
  • A one-on-one conversation with head coach Bill Belichick.
  • Former # 1 pick Vince Wilfork will tell us about a draft day party Patriots fans can attend to benefit a great cause.
  • Interviews with two of the newest Patriots, Adalius Thomas and Wes Welker.
  • Draft day memories with current members of the team.

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We’ve got a big week planned over at the BSMW Patriots Game Day page in preparation for next weekend’s NFL draft. Here is a schedule of what’s planned for the next week:

Sat 4/21 – Last individual profile – player TBD
Sun 4/22 – 2nd day offensive player possibilities
Mon 4/22 – 2nd day defensive players possibilities
Tue 4/23 – Player Profile Inventory and Links
Wed 4/24 – Final Rumor Inventory
Thur 4/25 – Final Mock Board
Fri 4/26 – Roundtable
Sat 4/27 & Sun 4/28 – Draft Blog

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You’ve probably heard about the new David Ortiz book, as told to Tony Massarotti. (No conflict of interest there!) The book – Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits is now available and described as a “unique memoir by a charismatic man who appeals to young and old, on the baseball field or off.”

The Michael Holley/Tedy Bruschi book Never Give Up can also be pre-ordered now through the BSMW Amazon store.

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Gordon Edes has this week’s edition of the Ask Edes Mailbag.

Chad Finn has his national nine innings column for Fox Sports.

Bill Simmons has the evidence that the 1985 NBA lottery was fixed in favor of the Knicks.

Former Boston Globe writer Mike Freeman says that Red Sox fans are the worst. Of course, he could be on to something here. (Deadspin)

Sean McAdam says on ESPN.com that the Red Sox rotation has come a long way since the five game sweep at the hands of the Yankees last summer.

Clark Booth says that many of the original heroes were overshadowed in the tributes to Jackie Robinson.

The Media Circus weighs in on Keith Olbermann and Tiki Barber among others this week.

Ian Thomsen and Marc Stein have everything you need to know about the NBA playoffs.

Steve Bulpett has a final report card for the 2006-07 Celtics.

I really don’t think there will ever be a Sebastian Telfair night at the Garden.

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Sports Media Columns From Around The Country

New England

David Scott has a few interesting items this morning, from the Globe sports department looking to shift a few people around, to Ron Borges attempting to work the back channels to get “his side” of things out there (he’s innocent, of course) and another rumored landing sport for Dennis & Callahan. Bill Doyle looks at NESN’s constant shuffling of analysts. Susan Bickelhaupt also looks at this topic, with two more baseball personalities being added to the mix this week in Ken Macha and Naoko Funayama.

New York

Phil Mushnick says that ESPN is taking all the fun out of criticizing them. It’s just become too easy. He cites a recent graphic on the network noting that Mariano Rivera had given up four “walk-off” home runs in his career, and that all four “have come on the road.” As Mushnick points out, “How’s that for a coincidence!” Neil Best says that Mike and the Mad Dog’s cameo in the mornings on WFAN was “an interesting diversion, and provides potentially relevant fodder as WFAN ponders its pivotal next move.” Pat Reichart has five questions for Yankees analyst Bobby Murcer. Richard Sandomir has NBC loading up on Barbaro material for their Kentucky Derby coverage in the coming weeks. Bob Raissman has early season baseball ratings outdoing NHL playoff ratings in New York.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand has TNT going all-out for their NBA playoff coverage, including a MySpace networking page. Chris Zelkovich has Rogers Sportsnet’s Sportsnet Connected benefiting in the ratings from a few simple changes to the look. Michael McCarthy has ESPN looking to provide some better debate in the mornings on Cold Pizza. Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post looks at the Orioles playing hardball with WNST’s Nestor “Nasty” Aparicio, who has been critical of owner Peter Angelos and Orioles management. Laura Nachman has a look at the new broadcast pairings for the Phillies and the reasons behind them. Bob Smizik looks at KDKA not renewing the contract of longtime sports anchor John Steigerwald. Jim Williams has a few thoughts about Hokie Nation.

South

Barry Jackson notes that Heat radio voice Mike Inglis is all emotion and honesty in his calls of the club’s games, praising effusively when appropriate and pulling no punches when criticism is warranted. Dave Darling has Orlando gearing up for NBA playoff coverage after nearly four years without postseason action for the Magic. David Barron notes that former Rockets now covering the NBA for ESPN and TNT “are not inclined to cut their former team much slack as the NBA playoffs begin.” Barry Horn has a look at former NBA star Brad Daugherty making a name for himself with his work as a NASCAR analyst on ESPN2.

Midwest

Ed Sherman has the newly created Big Ten Network looking for fans to put some pressure on cable operators to carry the network. Bob Wolfley has a look at TNT ramping up their coverage for the NBA playoffs. Judd Zulgad has former Vikings linebacker and assistant coach Pete Bercich returning to the team as a game analyst on KFAN. Dan Caesar has a look at KSDK putting the onus on NBC to resolve the schedule logjam created by the local station’s broadcasts of Cardinals games.

West Coast

Larry Stewart has the national analysts not giving the Lakers much love. Jay Posner notes that the Lakers are in ABC’s featured game this weekend simply because of their mystique. Mike Bresnahan looks at a new book on the Suns from Jack McCallum that takes some shots at the Lakers. Tom Hoffarth says that the Lakers still generate plenty of TV buzz. Jim Carlisle says that fun is the name of the game at TNT during the playoffs. Joe Davidson says that Charles Barkley is the chief jester for the TNT crew. John Maffei has some criticism for ESPN’s Jackie Robinson Day coverage of the Padres/Dodgers game and a few other items.

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Weekend Sports Highlights

Friday April 20th
7:00pm, NESN – Yankees @ Red Sox
7:00pm, TBS – Braves @ Mets
7:00pm, Versus – Islanders @ Sabres
9:30pm, Versus – Sharks @ Predators

Saturday April 21st
12:30pm, ESPN – Nets @ Raptors
3:00pm, ABC – Heat @ Bulls
3:00pm, NBC – Flames @ Red Wings
3:00pm, CBS – Zurich Classic of New Orleans
3:30pm, FOX – Yankees @ Red Sox
7:00pm, ESPN – Magic @ Pistons
8:00pm, Versus – Canucks @ Stars
8:25pm, FOX – NASCAR Nextel Cup – Subway Fresh 500
9:30pm, ESPN – Jazz @ Rockets

Sunday April 22nd
12:30pm, TNT – Wizards @ Cavs
1:00pm, TBS – Braves @ Mets
3:00pm, ABC – Lakers @ Suns
3:00pm, CBS – Zurich Classic of New Orleans
7:00pm, TNT – Nuggets @ Spurs
7:00pm, Versus – Sabres @ Islanders (if necessary)
8:00pm, ESPN – Yankees @ Red Sox
9:30pm, TNT – Warriors @ Mavericks
10:00pm, Versus – Predators @ Sharks (if necessary)

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Another D&C Rumor

David Scott has a few interesting items this morning, from the Globe sports department looking to shift a few people around, to Ron Borges attempting to work the back channels to get “his side” of things out there (he’s innocent, of course) and another rumored landing sport for Dennis & Callahan.

Adam Reilly offers a few thoughts on the possible D&C move to 96.9FM.

The Yankees are coming, the Yankees are coming. Bob Ryan isn’t as excited as most Sox fans are about the Bronx Bombers coming to town for an early season series.

Gerry Callahan thinks that the guy who gets the most boos from Red Sox fans this weekend will be getting cheered at Fenway Park on Opening Day next season. Yup, ARod.

Bill Doyle looks at NESN’s constant shuffling of analysts. Susan Bickelhaupt also looks at this topic, with two more baseball personalities being added to the mix this week in Ken Macha and Naoko Funayama.

Celtics Close Down Shop

The Celtics closed out their regular season last night with a 91-89 loss to the Detroit Pistons at the Garden. Rajon Rondo (19 points, 9 assists) had tied the game with two free throws with 3.9 seconds left, but Detroit’s Flip Murray won the game with an off-balance shot from about 10 feet away as time expired.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics aren’t really as bad as they seemed this season. He notes the numerous injuries and that the team was right to recognize the situation and focus on the lottery. Lenny Megliola looks at a merciful end to a rough NBA season here in Boston. Bill Reynolds says that the losing and injuries this year could turn out to be one of the greatest things ever to happen to this franchise.

Shira Springer talks to Danny Ainge about the season and an upcoming offseason that will likely make or break his tenure here with the Celtics. Mark Murphy talks to Doc Rivers about the difficult season the criticism he has taken, and looking to the future. Steve Bulpett says that results will be needed next season, regardless of whether they get a top two pick or not. He says they can’t play the youth card any longer.

Bill Doyle looks at the Celtics closing out the year with a loss, and already looking ahead to next year. Kevin McNamara has the Celtics vowing to come back strong next season after finishing the year with another loss.Jessica Camerato has the Celtics closing out the year with promises for the future.

Scott Souza has the Celtics naming Rich Gotham team President yesterday, taking the place of Red Auerbach. Bill Doyle says that Gotham will mainly concentrate on the business end of things in his new role. Murphy also has the Celtics fans and players already looking forward to the 2008 playoffs as a given. Bulpett has Paul Pierce also vowing that this team will be in the playoffs next season.

Murphy’s notebook has some more on the actual game last night. Springer’s notebook has the Grizzlies receiving permission to talk to Chris Wallace about their open president of basketball operations position vacated by Jerry West.

Red Sox

Tim Wakefield just keeps trucking along. The knuckleballer went seven innings last night, giving up just one run, and the Red Sox were able to hit three home runs off former Sox starter Tomo Ohka and beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1. Jonathan Papelbon picked up his third save of the season.

Jeff Horrigan notes that Ohka pitched well, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning before giving up three solo home runs. Gordon Edes looks at Wakefield continuing the streak of great starting pitching for the Red Sox. Steven Krasner has Wakefield’s knuckleball in top form last night as it clanged off Doug Mirabelli’s glove several times. Jeff Goldberg notes that Wakefield on the mound means quicker baseball games. Bill Ballou has Wakefield pitching well with a roof over his head.

John Tomase has David Ortiz insisting that he doesn’t get frustrated at the shift anymore when he comes to the plate – even when he gets thrown out at first from right field as he was last night. Amalie Benjamin has more on Wakefield’s strong performance early this season. Alex Speier says that if Julian Tavarez struggles as a starter, the Red Sox might be quick to bring up Devern Hansack, who has been terrific for the PawSox thus far this season.

Tomase also has Dustin Pedroia using Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill as an example for himself as he struggles to begin his first full season in the majors. Horrigan notes that Daisuke Matsuzaka has jumped to the lead in items sold on eBay this season, even more than Barry Bonds.

Horrigan’s notebook has Julian Tavarez rest and ready for his start against the Jays this afternoon. Edes’s notebook has Jon Lester likely to hit Pawtucket for a little while rather than coming directly to the Red Sox from Single A. Krasner’s notebook has Papelbon showing that he is not unhittable, while still picking up the save. Ballou’s notebook has more on Ortiz and the shift, and Manny getting off to his worst start as a member of the Red Sox.

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper submits a feature story on new Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas, looking not only at his versatility on the football field, but also at scars from his childhood and how the defensive star has been overlooked on every level despite being the most prepared player on the field. The guy really seems too good to be true, and if you’re not excited as a Patriots fan at the prospect of this guy on their defense, then I don’t know what will do it for you.

Karen Guregian looks at the ruling that leaves Todd Sauerbrun free to go sign with the Broncos. Mike Reiss also reports on the decision.

Arnold Extends Stay At WEEI

Just a few quick links and the TV listings for tonight:

David Scott has a look at Dale Arnold’s contract extension at WEEI.

Paul Perillo has another edition of the Ask PFW Mailbag.

Mike Reiss reports that Todd Sauerbrun has won his hearing against the Patriots’ right of first refusal and is now an unrestricted free agent.

Amalie Benjamin had a Red Sox chat on Boston.com this afternoon.

Mark Farinella believes that Drew Bledsoe deserves Hall of Fame consideration.

Tim O’Sullivan is glad the Celtics season is ending tonight.

Bill Simmons has a two-part series breaking down the NBA players from Least Valuable to Most Valuable. Old friend Marcus Banks leads one of those categories. We’ll let you guess out which one.

Fluto Shinzawa analyzes the Bruins’ defensemen heading into the offseason.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Blue Jays
7:00pm, ESPN2 – Indians @ Yankees
7:30pm, FSN – Pistons @ Celtics
7:45pm, ESPN – Bulls @ Nets
10:30pm, ESPN – Hornets @ Clippers

Chacin Dominates Sox. Again.

Daisuke Matsuzaka experienced one shaky inning last night, but it was enough, as the Red Sox could only muster a single run off of Gustavo Chacin and lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 last night.

Gordon Edes has a look at Matsuzaka pitching well, striking out 10 in six innings, but unable to overcome some adversity in the fourth inning, as Chacin improved to 6-0 against the Red Sox. Jeff Horrigan has Dice-K getting a bit flustered in the fourth inning, and losing his focus just enough to cost him the lead and the game. Steven Krasner has Matsuzaka getting on a roll last night, but experiencing just the one hiccup that drops him to 1-2 on the season. Jeff Goldberg notes that five batters were enough to spoil an otherwise dominating night for Matsuzaka. Bill Ballou has more on the loss for Dice-K and the Red Sox.

John Tomase says that the early book on Matsuzaka is that he is a different pitcher with runners on base. Amalie Benjamin has more on the rough fourth inning for Matsuzaka and the Red Sox. Krasner has Julian Tavarez eager to get back out on the mound tomorrow after having not pitched since April 7th.

Krasner also looks at a few key plays on one of those nights for the Red Sox. Joe McDonald notes that Devern Hansack has seemed like the real deal thus far for the PawSox. Tomase also looks at the Blue Jays having to deal with injuries early on in the season, but not letting it get them down.

Edes’ notebook has the ever-accessible J.P. Ricciardi staying positive despite the numerous injurious to his club. Horrigan’s notebook has Terry Francona sticking by Coco Crisp and the outfielder responding with a pair of hits last night. Krasner’s notebook has Matsuzaka making history even with the loss, as his 10 strikeouts tied him with Fernando Valenzuela as the only rookies to strike out 10 or more in two of their first three starts. Goldberg’s notebook has more from Ricciardi on the Blue Jays’ injuries. Ballou’s notebook has Coco Crisp responding with a pair of hits after being moved up to second in the lineup.

Patriots

The Patriots again dipped into the free agent waters yesterday, adding some depth to the secondary with the signing of free agent cornerback Tory James, who played for the Bengals the last four seasons, recording 21 interceptions in that period. Mike Reiss has a look at the signing. Albert Breer has more on the signing of James, as well as a couple of other Patriots notes. Shalise Manza Young says that James is an insurance policy for the secondary, which has been riddled with injuries the last few season, and James has a history of being durable.

Young also notes that former Broncos linebacker Al Wilson is still on the market, but hasn’t been contacted by the Patriots yet. Michael Parente notes that the other AFC East teams are once again chasing the Patriots.

Celtics

The Celtics season comes to an end tonight with their game against the Detroit Pistons at the Garden. Peter May lists three reasons to be sad the season is ending and three reasons to be happy the season is ending. Mark Murphy has the young Celtics wanting more, even as the season comes to an end. Steve Bulpett has Sebastian Telfair seeking a continuance on the guarantee he made prior to the season that the Celtics would make the playoffs this season.

Marathon a Winner for WBZ-TV

A few afternoon items while still sitting in stunned amazement at the popularity across the Internet of the pizza-throwing incident at Fenway Park yesterday.

Having the telecast of the Boston Marathon all to themselves resulted in a ratings winner for WBZ-TV. The elite section of the race on WBZ-TV was #1 in the time period delivering 274,000 households (11.5 rating/ 29 share) and peaking at 12:00 noon with 373,000 households.

From a year ago, WBZ-TV shows triple digit growth across households and all key demos with 249% increase in total viewers. In addition, WBZ-TV had more total viewers than the combined average of WBZ and WCVB in 2006 (250,000 viewers), 2005 (270,000 viewers), 2004 (266,000 viewers), and 2003 (269,000 viewers). The post race coverage from 12:15-3PM was up an eye-popping 82% in total viewers from a year ago.

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Mike Reiss has a busy offseason edition of the Ask Reiss Mailbag.

He also reports today that the Patriots have signed free-agent cornerback Tory James to a one year deal. James has 21 interceptions over the last four seasons and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2004.

In the SI.com Power Rankings, the Red Sox jumped from 12 to 3 this week.

In grading the NBA Eastern Conference, Charley Rosen doesn’t give the Celtics the lowest grade. The Cavs, Bucks, Knicks, Nets and Pacers either had the same grade or worse than the Celtics.

Jessica Camerato has five players on the Celtics who shouldn’t want to see the season end.

Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post looks at the Orioles playing hardball with WNST’s Nestor “Nasty” Aparicio, who has been critical of owner Peter Angelos and Orioles management.

Bob Raissman isn’t a big fan of what Mike and Mad Dog have done as replacements for Don Imus on WFAN.

Neil Best looks at Tiki Barber going to Virginia Tech as his first assignment with NBC.

Richard Sandomir has a look at a pair of older movies which help put the current events of Don Imus and Jackie Robinson in focus.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Blue Jays
7:00pm, Versus – Senators @ Penguins
10:00pm, Versus – Red Wings @ Flames

Patriots Football Weekly, Draft Edition

A look at the April 4th edition of Patriots Football Weekly.

The links below require a subscription to PFW, unless noted otherwise.

This issue focuses mostly on the draft. Editor-in-Chief Fred S Kirsch leads off by praising Richard Seymour as a professional athlete who “gets it.” In the era of PacMan Jones and Chris Henry, Seymour stands out as a good example for not only other players, but for anyone.

The First Down segment looks at the cancellation of the China Bowl, Wes Welker talking about playing against the Patriots in the past, and Rosevelt Colvin gushing over Adalius Thomas.

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Tom Casale has a look at the evolution of the NFL Draft, which used to be held during the week with very little publicity. ESPN first proposed televising the draft in 1979, but the NFL voted down their idea 28-0. The next year the league did agree, and every year since 1980 the draft, or at least a portion of it has been televised. 1984 saw Chris Berman and Mel Kiper Jr working together on the event for the first time. In 1988, the draft was moved from Tuesday morning to Sunday-Monday, then six years later it was moved to its current Saturday-Sunday slot. Now both ESPN and NFL Network provide coverage of the event, and the internet has spawned hundreds of draft “experts” and sites.

In point-counterpoint, the issue is whether safety is the most important need in the draft. Andy Hart says it is, while Casale says that linebacker is more important.

Erik Scalavino has a look at Benjamin Watson’s visit to the troops in the Middle East. This segment stands out:

Remorse evident in his strong, deep voice, Benjamin Watson recounted the conversation.

“I’m sitting there about to sign an autograph, and he’s like, ‘My best friend was a Patriots fan and he loved you guys.’ And I was like, ‘Well, where is he?'”

The Marine’s reply pierced Watson’s heart like a sniper’s bullet.

“Well, um, he died last week on patrol.”

Welcome to war, Benjamin.

Andy Hart serves up a look at new Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth, who chose the Patriots over the Titans and the Dolphins for the opportunity to win and play with Tom Brady. Casale has a look at the Patriots other new receiver, Kelley Washington, who comes over from the Bengals, hopeful of a new start with the Patriots.

Then it is into the draft coverage as Paul Perillo looks at the steps involved in the Patriots finding a winning combination for the draft. He looks at candidates for the top of the draft, the middle rounds and the late rounds.

The Patriots have two first round selections, and Andy Hart has a piece called Draft day Double-down which looks at how the franchise has down in this position in the past. The 1976 draft, where the Patriots had three first rounders and landed Mike Haynes, Pete Brock and Tim Fox stands out, as does the 1973 draft, where John Hannah, Sam Cunningham and Darryl Stingley were drafted by the Patriots in the first round. Those drafts really built the strong Patriots teams of the ’70’s. More recently, the 2004 draft saw the Patriots landing Vince Wilfork and Benjamin Watson with first round selections.

The publication has a Writers’ Mock Draft with a reporter who covers each NFL team making the pick for the club they watch. The PFT staff has the Patriots taking Texas Safety Michael Griffin at 24 and Central Michigan Tackle Joe Staley at 28. In the actual PFW Mock Draft has the Patriots taking the same two players, but in the reverse order.

Rob McCartney of robscouting.com handles all the positional breakdowns for the issue, which takes up 10 pages.

Perillo has another feature on nine steps to catching a draft, where he talks to Patriots director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff about the year-round process of college scouting and preparing for the draft.

For league perspective, Howard Balzer has the Lions possibly looking at another wide receiver, Calvin Johnson with the second pick. He also has Ben Roethlisberger disputing some comments from former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who claimed that the Steelers QB rushed back too quickly last season. Paul Domowitch has Andy Reid back on the job with the Eagles and calling his position “as good as it gets.”