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Sunday, April 17, 2011
Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats

By Mike Reiss

Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:

1. Bill Parcells, one of three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame this year, is scheduled to hold a conference call with reporters Monday (10 a.m.). It should be fun. I always enjoy listening to Parcells and his insight on the game. I am also curious to hear how he views his time in New England.

2. In pinch-hitting on some Red Sox reporting last week, I had a good debate with Bengals fan Kevin Youkilis on quarterback Carson Palmer. He thinks the Bengals can get a first-round pick for Palmer. I am not so sure. We also disagreed on whether Palmer was a top-15 quarterback in the NFL.

3. In 2008, there were five running backs taken in the first 24 picks of the draft. This year, some analysts project there might not be one in the first 24. It is another reminder of how drafts have different positions of strength on a year to year basis, and some might also say it is a reflection of how the game is changing.

4. I enjoyed reading Pat Kirwan's 2008 re-draft on NFL.com. One thought stood out: What a difference three years makes. Kirwan wrote that the Falcons had a "dream" draft. I remember the Falcons getting hammered by many on draft day for trading back into the first round for left tackle Sam Baker.

5. Last week, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said it is important for scouts and personnel men to learn from their mistakes. Shortly after that, I read about one of Bill Parcells' biggest with the Dolphins -- the drafting of quarterback Pat White in the second round. Parcells told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins had violated their quarterback principles. White was a great college quarterback but not a prototypical quarterback, and the Dolphins let that cloud their judgment.  Refreshingly honest stuff.

6. Spent time watching some Patriots play basketball last week, as they help local towns (schools, police departments etc.) raise money by packing the gym and signing
autographs at halftime. Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Brandon Meriweather, Julian Edelman, Darius Butler and Brian Hoyer were some of the players. Couldn't help but think of Chad Pennington tearing his ACL playing hoop this offseason and wondering if it was a good idea.

7. This fact caught the eye from Len Pasquarelli of The Sports XChange: Last year, more than 80 percent of prospects who had a pre-draft visit weren't picked by the team they visited. This is why some scouts, according to Pasquarelli, downplay the importance of the visits.

8. I have now watched the "Brady 6" three times and each time I come away appreciating something else about it more than I did before. It is scheduled to replay today on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.

9. With such good defensive line depth this year, this draft reminds me a bit of 2003. That draft was also deep on the big guys, and while some felt the Patriots reached up for Ty Warren at 13, it was the right fit for the club. I wonder if Cameron Heyward, the big defensive lineman from Ohio State, might be this year's Warren for the Patriots.

10. Bill Belichick often says there are three ways to add talent in the team-building process -- draft, free agency and trades. Because of the lockout, free agency and trades for players are not an option. I think that creates a unique dynamic where teams might be more inclined to draft for need.