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Catching up with some former Patriots

6/4/2014

A quick check-in with some former Patriots, how they've settled in with their new teams in organized team activities, and their projected roles:

CB Aqib Talib (Broncos) -- One thing we've learned is how impressed Broncos coaches were with Talib's athleticism and physicality based on last year's Patriots-Broncos games. That came through loud and clear in Troy Renck's piece in the Denver Post. The Patriots had similar thoughts on Talib, but there was one twist that complicated things -- injury concerns. Talib is obviously a starter in Denver. After wearing No. 31 in New England, he is currently donning No. 21 in Denver.

RB LeGarrette Blount (Steelers) -- I listened to Blount's interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday and it was clear his first choice was to remain in New England. "I was hoping to get things done in New England, just because it was a familiar spot for me," he said, while also adding how pleased he is with the Steelers, the team he had hoped would draft him out of Oregon. Blount had some notable comments in the interview about how he didn't expect the running back market to be so low, and that he didn't feel Toby Gerhart deserved the richest contract of all backs in free agency. Blount is on board with playing a complementary role in Pittsburgh, where he will wear No. 27 after donning No. 29 in New England.

LB Brandon Spikes (Bills) -- Unlike last year in New England, when he didn't show up for voluntary offseason workouts, Spikes is present in Buffalo. He is slated for a two-down role, and could see time on third down next to Kiko Alonso if he performs better than fellow linebacker Keith Rivers. Spikes, No. 55 in New England, will wear No. 51.

LB Dane Fletcher (Buccaneers) -- A backup for four years in New England who made his primary impact on special teams, Fletcher said he feels he has greater upside to possibly help on defense in Tampa, with head coach Lovie Smith citing his potential as a blitzer. "I thought I could really enter this team, and enter a role on defense, that could contribute," Fletcher recently said on the Buccaneers' official website. Fletcher is part of the mix at middle linebacker behind incumbent Mason Foster. He's wearing No. 50 with the Buccaneers after having No. 52 in New England.

TE Matthew Mulligan (Bears) -- Vying for a roster spot where the Bears have some depth with Martellus Bennett, Fendi Onobun, Zach Miller and Dante Rosario, Mulligan is wearing No. 85 in Chicago after having No. 88 in New England. The Bears used an offensive lineman as an extra blocking tight end at times last year, which is a role Mulligan could potentially fill.