Setting Patriots' stage for Thursday

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
9:45
AM ET
On a beautiful day in New England, a look at some of the media-based activity today from a Patriots perspective:

20th introduction for Krafts. The Patriots will continue the tradition of introducing their top draft choice with owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft, and that will take place at 3 p.m. ET with linebacker Jamie Collins (52nd overall). It's mostly a photo opportunity and a chance to see the team's top pick at the stadium for the first time, while Robert Kraft usually makes a few remarks to welcome the top pick. In 2005, offensive lineman Logan Mankins bought his first-ever suit for the tradition. In 2006, the Patriots decided that both running back Laurence Maroney (first round) and Chad Jackson (second round) would be part of it, and with Jackson arriving from the University of Florida, they presented him a Patriots winter parka instead of a jersey. Hard to believe it's been 20 years for the Kraft family.

Chandler Jones & Stevan Ridley step to the mike. While much of the attention has been focused on the Patriots' draft picks, returning players continue to work behind the scenes in the voluntary offseason program.Two players who have been taking part in the program, second-year defensive end Chandler Jones and third-year running back Stevan Ridley, are expected to answer questions from reporters today. Some good topics to cover with both.

Rookie free agents likely to be announced. With rookies arriving in town today, the Patriots are likely to announce their rookie free-agent class. One reason the club might wait to announce those signings, even though agreements are in place, is that there are still logistics to finalize upon their arrival (e.g. medical, introduction to program etc.). This is the Patriots' largest rookie free-agent class in recent memory, and as we've seen from past years, at least one of them beats the odds to earn a roster spot. One message the rookie free agents are likely to hear from Bill Belichick is that it doesn't matter how they got to Gillette Stadium, everyone is on the same footing now. Rookie minicamp on-field practices are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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