- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Both Bill Belichick and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio were involved in a private workout with University of Florida defensive end Earl Okine on Sunday, a source confirmed.
The news was previously reported by Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and FoxSports/Scout.com.
Okine, 6-foot-7 and 287 pounds, was a four-year player at Florida who finished with 27 career tackles and one sack. He was not invited to the NFL combine, but was named the MVP of the Texas vs. the Nation postseason all-star game after posting two sacks and returning a fumble for a touchdown.
The context of a private workout is worth noting. There are multiple reasons why teams conduct private workouts before the draft, and this could be a case where the team is interested in finding out more about a player who made a late push on to the NFL radar and has an impressive frame and physical skill set (he posted 25 reps on the bench press at Florida's pro day to go along with a 33-inch vertical leap). Because of his limited role in college, there isn't as much game film on Okine as there is on other prospects.
Teams work out numerous players during the pre-draft process, and in some cases it sparks more interest in that player, while other times it turns them away. The bigger takeaway from this viewpoint is that these workouts are a reflection of the exhaustive nature of the scouting process, as colleague Mike Reiss recently touched upon.