- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Newly elected Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has expressed an interest in hosting the NFL draft, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a supporter of the idea.
“I think we’re privileged to have the only mayor in the United States of America who is a season-ticket holder of his NFL team,” Kraft said Thursday night before the start of the 2014 draft. “I had never met him. I didn’t know him until after he was elected. He’s been a season-ticket holder here since we bought the team, so he’s a real fan. Now that he knows the commissioner wants to move the draft around, he’d very much like to see part of it come to Boston, and we’re going to try to be supportive.”
Kraft knows there will be competition if the draft does indeed move from its regular home in New York.
“I think L.A. is very interested. Chicago is, and some other cities,” he said. “It’s nice to have a mayor who really cares about the NFL and our sport.”
A few other soundbites from Kraft from the Patriots draft party:
Thoughts on this year’s draft. “I know our people have done their homework, they’re so thorough. I think there is like 100 underclassmen coming out, so I feel quite confident we should improve our team. I think our whole football organization feels the same way.”
Goals for the three-day draft. “Where we’re drafting, 29, we really have to let it come to us. No one knows what’s going to happen. The thing I’m confident about is that we’re going to make our team better, that I do believe. I believe the system that Bill [Belichick] and Nick [Caserio] have in place is solid, they have a good team, and I think it’s a great chance to get even better.”
On visiting with top quarterbacks before the draft. “There’s a purpose for everything that can seem very superficial to people but you really have to go three to four levels deeper than that.”
On Johnny Manziel. “He seems like a wonderful young man. He’s going to sell a lot of tickets for somebody.”
On spending time with Willie McGinest at the Patriots draft party. “I really feel so close to him and love having him back here with us. He’s someone I think should be in the Patriots Hall of Fame.”