Scanning The Wire

The NFL Lockout is still in effect, but that doesn't stop us from taking a look at players who could potentially help (or hurt) the Patriots once the season begins. Check out our take on some top names from the Draft and in free agency and why you should be following the news on them.

When the Patriots retool their roster every year there's speculation on which players around the league could become part of the team, or have a serious impact on the team.  Here are updates on a few of those players.

Marcell Dareus (Buffalo Bills

DL Marcell Dareus was picked third overall in the draft, but he still has a bone to pick with Carolina and Denver, the two teams in front of the Bills that picked someone else.

   Appearing on WQAM Radio in Miami, Dareus said, "If I ever get a chance to play Carolina, I'm going to make them pay for passing up on me. Denver I'll get a chance to play them in the regular season and I'm going to make it hell for them every time I play against them."

   He added, "My sole focus was for me not to give you a reason to not pick me and you still don't? OK, I understand you have needs somewhere else, but if you need somebody to control your front and be a commander across the front and not let anything happen? I work my butt off to do that, and you pass me up still? OK, I've got something for you."

Patriot Connection:  Dareus was the subject of wild speculation that he could land in New England if the Patriots opted to trade up in the 2011 NFL Draft. Instead, Dareus will be hounding Tom Brady from the opposite side of the field.  Considered one of the top defensive talents in the Draft, the Bills hope he will 'make it hell' for teams in the AFC East as well as his promise to take revenge on the Panthers and the Broncos

Burress in his glory in New York
WR  Burress was one of the key players for the Giants in Super Bowl XLII (Photo: Getty/ Al Bello)
Ike Taylor (Pittsburgh Steelers)

CB Ike Taylor is scheduled to be a free agent when the lockout ends, but he made clear on the Jim Rome is Burning show that there won't be a hometown discount.

   "I need that market value.  I work so hard," Taylor said. "I've been through so much, I feel so unappreciated, feel so underrated at my position, I feel like it's my time to get my worth, in
whatever city that's in."

   As for staying with the Steelers, he said, "I would love to, but they usually sign player a year before (free agency), so we'll see what happens."

Patriots Connection: Taylor breifly flirted with the idea of joining the Patriots the last time he re-upped with Pittsburgh in  2006. Deshea Townsend actualy visited New England while Taylor kept his allegiance to Pittsburgh front and center in the media. This time Taylor May test the market, but don't expect New England to take a chance on him. Relegated to nickle corner during part of his recent contract, Taylor shouldn't command the same caliber paycheck he once did, and New England is flush with talented youth at the position.

Alex Smith (San Francisco 49ers)

QB Alex Smith talked with reporters for Comcast Sports Net Bay Area and the Sacramento Bee, and while he didn't want to be directly quoted, Smith said he will probably re-sign with the team when the lockout ends. Smith has been working out with teammates.

   Smith noted that the playbook given to him by coach Jim Harbaugh is similar to what it was in 2005 when he was a rookie. The offensive coordinator then was Mike McCarthy, now the head coach of the Packers.

Patriots Connection:  New England would have been a solid spot for Smith to land if he were cast aside by the 49ers as many believed could happen this offseason.  The former first rounder would be the perfect backup to Tom Brady. New England virtually nixed the idea by selecting Ryan Mallett in the third round of the 2011 Draft. With Brian Hoyer already in the fold, New England isn't likely to front the capital required to sign Smith to anything more than a league minimum contract to compete with Hoyer for number 2 duties while Mallett is given time to develop.

Plaxico Burress (Free Agent) 

WR Plaxico Burress deserves a second chance in football, according for former teammate, Giants LT David Diehl, but it might not be with the Giants.

Burress, 33, was to be released from prison June 6.

"He's had a lot of success for us as a player," Diehl told NFL Network. "But, if I were Plaxico, I would say no. With everything that happened (pleading guilty in 2009 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon), Plaxico has taken a lot of heat, not only through the media. ? I think about Michael Vick's situation. He went into a new situation, a new city, where he could almost start fresh with new teammates and go back to basics."

Patriots Connection:
 Burress will be a free agent when the NFL Lockout ends, which means he could draw interest from teams looking for a tall, possession type of wideout.  New England just so happens to need a player who fits that description which is why speculation that the team may look toward Burress has been a steady drumbeat of some media outlets. The issue for the Patriots is that although they take guys who have "questionable" character as described by the media, Burress has real character concerns. Although New England likes to take players who have hurt them on the field in the past and use them to boost their team, don't expect that to happen. with Burress.

WANT TO FOLLOW THESE PLAYERS?  You can follow updates from any source on on these players by adding them to your "Hot List" (Signed in? See your list here)  Just click on the Hot List icon  Hostlist Playeron any player profile page to add them to your list.  Want to follow a team (college or pro), a conference or a sport? Click on the  Hot List topic icon Hot Topic

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Material from the Sports Xchange was used in this report. Recommended Stories

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