FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio held his annual pre-draft news conference on Thursday afternoon. The chat typically features more discussion on the team's scouting process, as obviously Caserio isn't willing to tip the team's hand as to their strategy in next week's draft.
Some quick hits from Caserio's gathering with reporters:
Team just wrapped pre-draft visits. Caserio said that the majority of the team's draft preparation work is done, including pre-draft visits, which concluded on Wednesday. Caserio noted that there have been instances of scouts or coaches traveling to visit prospects in the days before the draft, including offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia visiting Nate Solder a few days before the Patriots selected him in the first round last year.
Underclassmen, defensive front seven highlight draft. Caserio said that this draft included the most underclassmen applying for an evaluation from the league than any prior draft. In terms of positional depth, Caserio said that the "quantity of front seven players is higher than in years past," while noting that there are other positions that are less deep than usual.
Mum on Light situation. With offensive lineman Matt Light telling reporters on Wednesday that he has not yet made a decision about retirement, Caserio was asked if Light had informed the team of his decision, but deferred comment to Light on the matter. Caserio was also asked if Light's possible retirement, and guard Brian Waters telling reporters after the Super Bowl that he would also consider retirement, would affect the team's mindset heading into the draft. "Our thinking won't change, we'll approach it the same way," Caserio said. "We'll deal with things on a day-to-day basis, however they unfold."