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NFL Draft gets a new home in 2015; Blake Bortles dealing with challenges

Posted Jun 6, 2014

ClevelandBrowns.com takes you around the NFL with the Daily Kickoff.

Blake Bortles, Radio City Music Hall stage, Dimitri Patterson

Chicago and Los Angeles are making their cases to host the 2015 NFL Draft, which is moving from New York’s Radio City Music Hall, although not necessarily from New York.

The NFL is in the process of gathering detailed information on Chicago and Los Angeles as potential sites, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The league is considering other unnamed cities, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. It could very well decide to keep the draft in New York, but if it does, it would have to be held at Madison Square Garden because Radio City Music Hall is not available for April or May of next year.

As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently indicated, the draft is considering going from three to four days, given that it is asking potential hosts about availability for April 22-25 or April 29-May 2. In both cases, the draft would begin on a Wednesday, a day earlier than usual.

The league, which is expected to determine a location and date by the end of the summer, is also seeking space adjacent to the draft headquarters large enough to host a fan festival.

BLAKE BORTLES DEALING WITH ROOKIE UPS AND DOWNS AND INJURED RECEIVERS

Blake Bortles has faced more than his share of challenges during offseason workouts with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Some of them are the result of the fact he is a rookie quarterback dealing with the typical growing pains that playing the position presents. But a good portion are directly attributable to the fact the Jaguars have seven injured wide receivers, leaving them with only four healthy players in the group.

“It’s a process I’m just trying to work through,” Bortles was quoted as saying in the Florida Times-Union. “There are ups and downs and you have to be able to handle it, move on, learn from the mistakes and learn from the positive plays.”

PATRIOTS’ STEVAN RIDLEY STRIVES TO KEEP TIGHTER GRIP ON THE BALL

Take it from Stevan Ridley, young NFL running backs. You lose the football, you lose playing time.

“I told one of the young guys (during practice), that’s the quickest way to get off the field,” the New England Patriots’ running back told reporters covering the team. “You can ask me first.”

Ridley’s cautionary tale began with him opening last season as the Patriots’ No. 1 running back. Then, after losing fumbles in three successive games, he was benched and never returned to the starting lineup.

In a backup role through the final four games of the regular season and two playoff appearances, Ridley stopped fumbling. He also is placing heavy emphasis on ball security during OTA workouts.

“All you can do is really squeeze (the ball) high and tight,” Ridley said. “I think that was a lesson I had to go through and, hopefully, I won’t have to go through it again, but who knows? A little bit of adversity never hurts anybody. When you lose focus on the small things – whether it’s small assignments, whether it’s carrying the football, whether it’s running a route, whether its blitz pickup – those are things that cost you your playing time.”

DIMITRI PATTERSON BRINGS UNCONVENTIONAL MAN COVERAGE TO JETS

Dimitri Patterson is a good fit for his new team, the New York Jets, because the veteran cornerback excels in man-to-man coverage, which is what the Jets’ defense plays most of the time.

But Patterson’s version of man-to-man coverage is hardly conventional, and the Jets are apparently good with that.

“I play man through the receiver through the quarterback,” Patterson – who in the last nine seasons has also played for the Redskins, Vikings, Chiefs, Eagles, Browns, and Dolphins – explained to the Newark Star-Ledger. “It’s a combination of: I have my man, but I’m looking through the receiver to the quarterback. Usually you hear man (coverage and think): Back to the quarterback (and just play the receiver). But for me, I play more vision, but at the same time, I’m still in man-to-man (with the receiver).

“I know it sounds weird, but that’s kind of how I’ve been able to be successful. I still play the receiver. It’s a point in time to where you have to get your eyes off the quarterback (and focus on the receiver). I’m a big pre-snap guy. That’s me. I like to look at the formation and then I go into my man-to-man progressions.

“The same things I applied in Miami, I can apply here.”

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