Checking in on unsigned draft picks

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
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The Patriots' top three draft choices remain unsigned, with left tackle Nate Solder (first round, 17th overall), cornerback Ras-I Dowling (second round, 33rd overall) and running back Shane Vereen (second round, 56th overall) all having missed the first seven practices (3 walkthroughs, 2 shorts/shells, 2 full pads).

Solder is one of seven selections in the first round yet to agree to terms.

For first-round contracts, one sticking point has been that some teams have offered deals that are fully guaranteed. This dynamic was nicely explained on Pro Football Talk, with Eagles executive Joe Banner explaining why some teams would be reluctant to do that.

Meanwhile, when an agent sees another rookie get a fully guaranteed deal, they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't attempt to get the same for their client.

The Patriots haven't had a draft pick miss this much time in training camp since tight end Benjamin Watson in 2004, although this year is different with the condensed timeframe and new rookie wage scale.

On Sunday, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said, "The reality is that we're in unchartered waters. This is the first time, so I think every team was trying to figure out what works for them, whatever the plan they have in place [is]. We’re dealing with it as best we can and every team is going through the same thing. When the players get here, that’s the most important."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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