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Ellis Hobbs

Ellis HobbsEllis Hobbs analysis.

The Patriots’ logjam at cornerback has been broken with today’s trade of Ellis Hobbs to the Philadelphia Eagles for two 2009 fifth-round draft choices (which were later traded).

A starter in 2008, Hobbs was set to return to a crowded situation this season. Competition figured to be fierce at the position.

The Patriots drafted cornerback Darius Butler in the second round, signed Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden in free agency, and had 2008 draft picks Terrence Wheatley (2nd round) and Jonathan Wilhite (4th round) returning to the fold.

Springs would seemingly be a lock for one starting spot, with Hobbs probably battling Bodden and Wheatley for the other. Either Bodden or Hobbs would then compete with Butler and Wilhite as slot options.

The Patriots’ secondary struggled last season – the team was 26th of 32 teams on third down – and this trade seems to reflect how the Patriots felt Hobbs contributed to that statistic.

Finances also could have been a factor here.

After reaching escalators in his contract, Hobbs was due to earn $2.54 million this season. This is the last year of his contract.

One other note on this trade: The Patriots lose their top kickoff returner.

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Hampton University Shooting

Hampton University Shooting3 Va. men hurt in shooting at Hampton University.

Officials say three men are hospitalized after an overnight shooting in a dormitory at Hampton University in Virginia.

Police say the suspect is an 18-year-old Richmond man who shot a 62-year-old Hampton man and a 43-year-old Hampton man and then turned the gun on himself. No students were injured.

School spokeswoman Yuri Rodgers Milligan says that police believe the shooter is a former student, and that one victim is the night manager of Harkness Hall.

Officials do not know the motive for the shooting, reported around 1 a.m.

All students, faculty and staff were notified about the situation via text message and e-mail.

The school remained on lockdown Sunday morning while police investigated.

Hampton University is a private school with about 5,700 students.

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Kraig Urbik

Kraig UrbikTwo holes fixed early on second day.

The Steelers addressed some specific needs with their first two picks of the third round. Updates will be provided throughout the day.

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers moved to improve their dreadful short-yardage run game by making Wisconsin guard Kraig Urbik their first pick of the second day of the draft.

Urbik is a 6-5 ¼, 328 pounder who was a four-year starter at Wisconsin, where he played right tackle as a redshirt freshman before moving to right guard. He made 45 consecutive starts and was going for the school record of 50 when he injured his knee last season against Penn State and missed two games.

Urbik finished the season by being named second team All-Big Ten Conference for the second time. He’s an alert, strong, durable, versatile and hard-working player. He’s not considered a mobile, get-to-the-second-level player, but Urbik will add necessary muscle up front.

“I love him,” said Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. “Big, tough, nasty. If you watch him play one-on-one, you’re not going to pick him on your team. But it’s about playing together and this kid understands football.”

Arians said that Urbik will also learn the center position to give him the versatility of playing four positions, but Arians also said that Urbik will compete for the starting right guard position this season.

With the second pick of the third round, the Steelers drafted a more exciting player in Ole Miss wide receiver/return specialist Mike Wallace, a 6-0 3/8, 199-pounder with 4.31 speed and a vertical jump of 40 inches.

“He’s a burner,” Arians said. “He’s not gone over the middle a lot but he’s an outside-speed guy who’s an excellent return guy. We really, really like him.”

Arians said that he wrote down the two names – Urbik and Wallace – three weeks ago, “and I just watched them drop,” he said.

Wallace comes from a tough upbringing in New Orleans and landed at Ole Miss where he spent the last two seasons as one of the top kickoff return men in the SEC, as well as one of the top receiving deep threats. He led the SEC with a yards-per-reception average of 18.8 in 2007, and improved to 20.1 last year. He caught 101 passes for 1,910 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career and averaged 23.2 yards per kickoff return and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

“He’ll work on his punt returning but he’s primarily a kickoff returner,” Arians said. “We’re looking for someone to replace Nate (Washington) outside and he’s a candidate. Inside, that takes time.”

With their final pick of the third round, the Steelers selected cornerback Keenan Lewis of Oregon State. Lewis, a 6-1, 198-pound cover guy, was actually a high school teammate of Wallace. The Steelers compare him favorably to Ike Taylor.

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