Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. The Patriots have already calculated that they should be receiving at least one compensatory draft choice in 2011, a result of the contracts signed by tight end Benjamin Watson (Browns) and Jarvis Green (Broncos). That could change if the Patriots sign another compensatory free agent before June 1 –- affecting the formula that awards teams compensatory picks -- which is why the team is more likely to wait until after that date.
2. I think the St. Louis Rams are making a huge mistake by not capitalizing on the opportunity to sign the No. 1 pick to a contract before the draft. I don’t understand why a team would willingly give up that leverage. Sam Bradford apparently says he doesn’t want to sign in case the Browns trade up, but I’d call his bluff or move on.
3. Florida center Maurkice Pouncey is a player I’ve been high on for the Patriots if available at the No. 22 spot in the draft. He might not be there, but even if he is, I now wonder if his lower-than-average Wonderlic score would scare New England away.
4. If you’re the Pittsburgh Steelers, knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again and draft quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes? Big Ben was quarterback for two Super Bowl championships and Holmes was Super Bowl MVP in 2008. Just a feeling, but as much as the Steelers are now talking character, my guess is that they don’t regret those decisions.
5. Another week has passed, and there is still no decision from Jason Taylor on whether to sign with the New York Jets despite some reports saying it was close to done. I still can’t envision him making that move, and also can’t believe the Patriots aren’t making a harder push there given their question marks at outside linebacker.
6. If Jason Taylor does sign with the Jets, one wonders how it might impact a possible reunion between Adalius Thomas and Rex Ryan in New York, assuming Thomas is cut in New England.
7. The Atlanta Falcons are considering future options at center, and if Boston College’s Matt Tennant is there in the third round, that could be a nice fit with him snapping to former BC quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons have taken a close look at Tennant.
8. The NFL schedule will be released Tuesday night and the first thing I’ll be looking for from a Patriots perspective is if the Jets are on the docket within the first four weeks because of receiver Santonio Holmes’ four-game suspension.
9. It will still come down to the development of quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne, but I think a strong case could be made that the AFC East is now the NFL’s toughest division. Members of the NFC East might object, but it’s a good debate.
10. Veteran cornerback Shawn Springs showed up for the Patriots' offseason program last week, joining some of his teammates who had been working out since mid-March. One would think the Patriots hope Darius Butler will seize the starting job at left corner, with Springs offering insurance.