Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. Analysts often say it takes three years to effectively judge a draft. So that puts 2008 under the spotlight and when it comes to the Patriots, it wasn’t their best work. Four of seven picks are no longer with the club – Terrence Wheatley (2nd round), Shawn Crable (3rd round), Kevin O’Connell (3rd round) and Bo Ruud (6th round). The Patriots did hit nicely with Jerod Mayo (1st round) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (free agent), while Jonathan Wilhite (4th round), Matthew Slater (5th round) and Gary Guyton (free agent) have contributed in niche- or situational-type roles. Overall, a fair grade seems to be in the “C” range or below.
2. Spending time with Patriots running back Danny Woodhead last week at ESPN reinforced that while he’s experienced NFL success, he remains grounded and still approaches his work like an undrafted free agent.
3. Last year’s preseason schedule was announced March 31. This year’s preseason schedule, which could be altered if the lockout continues deep into the summer, has yet to be announced. As for the regular-season schedule, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said no date has been set to release it.
4. Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey said that he’d be shocked if the Cowboys didn’t pick him with the ninth overall selection. He is probably going to be disappointed, because interior linemen just don’t go that high. The first guard selected last year was Mike Iupati, at No. 17 to the 49ers. Two years ago, center Alex Mack (2009, No. 21, Browns) was the top interior lineman. In 2008, none went in the first round. In 2007, it was Ben Grubbs (No. 29, Ravens) and in 2006, it was Davin Joseph (No. 23, Buccaneers).
5. Patriots safety Jarrad Page has turned to mixed martial arts as part of his offseason regimen, working with Jay Glazer in Los Angeles. Glazer tweeted this picture of Page last week. Patriots defensive lineman Ty Warren is also trying mixed martial arts, as Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald details today.
6. Wisconsin defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who some analysts project as a great fit for the Patriots if available at No. 17, was football-less and delivering for Pizza Hut just a few years ago. I learned that from reading Jeffri Chadiha’s piece on ESPN.com.
7. The Ravens have been awarded 31 compensatory draft picks since 1994, the most of any team. One might say that reflects a team that loses some top talent on a yearly basis, but finds a way to replenish the supply through solid drafting and development.
8. This is Bill Belichick’s 12th draft with the Patriots. Of the past 11, there was only one year in which he didn’t make a draft-day trade – 2004.
9. Colts president Bill Polian remarks on considering the possibility of grooming Peyton Manning’s successor reminded me that Manning’s current backup is Curtis Painter, a sixth-round pick in 2009. I thought the Patriots’ Brian Hoyer, a rookie free agent from 2009, has looked more game-ready than Painter when both have had the chance to play.
10. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio is scheduled to hold a pre-draft news conference with reporters Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Hard to believe this is already the third draft that Caserio has played a leading role, since Scott Pioli’s departure to Kansas City.