- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Nearly 1,000 Patriots season-ticket holders packed the Putnam Investments club inside of Gillette Stadium on Saturday afternoon as part of the ESPN Boston 2013 Draft Preview, hosted by Trey Wingo of ESPN and featuring a panel comprised of ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich (a former Patriots first-round draft choice), colleague Mike Reiss and longtime Patriots linebacker and current ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi.
The fans were treated to an engaging and insightful program that focused on the upcoming draft as well as the Patriots franchise, with several unique anecdotes shared from the panel.
The nearly two-hour event featured a rundown of topics that included a discussion of the Patriots cornerback and wide receiver positions, the impact of new safety Adrian Wilson, a debate on the Patriots' toughest competition in the AFC East and where the team stands in the AFC, plus videos of both head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady "miked up" for sound during the 2012 season.
Matich offered his evaluations of several draft prospects, including wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tennessee, defensive tackle Jesse Williams from Alabama and defensive end Margus Hunt of SMU. He noted the impressive depth of this class at several positions, which should put the Patriots in good shape if they stay at pick No. 29 or attempt to trade back into the second round to accumulate more picks.
Bruschi's insight and analysis was one of a kind (and the crowd was thrilled to see the popular linebacker, as always), as he delivered the perspective of a player who played for Bill Belichick and understands what it takes to contribute to a championship team. He and the panel agreed that the team will be in good shape to compete in the AFC with both Belichick and Brady in place for the foreseeable future.
As always, Reiss' comprehensive understanding of the franchise's current state as well as his perspective from covering the team that dates back to before Belichick was hired as the coach shined through. Wingo and the panel encouraged audience participation, which included "fact or fiction" and "over/under" exercises. The receptive crowd had the opportunity to ask questions to the panel to close the program.
Video segments from the event will be posted in the coming weeks.