Thursday, May 8, 2014
Sharing thoughts about Pats on draft day
By Mike Reiss
Sharing a few thoughts on draft day:
What might the New England Patriots do? It's the football question of the day in New England and it's a topic that was explored in this piece. For any team picking No. 29, a big part of Thursday is monitoring what unfolds in front of them and reacting accordingly. The Patriots should be most interested in what happens with the quarterbacks, because if they start sliding it opens the possibility that the No. 29 pick will have more value in a trade. Our best educated guess: Bill Belichick would be happy to strike a similar trade down as last year if it is available, adding more picks in a strong draft or even into 2015. If it isn't an option, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt is a player we could envision the Patriots picking.
Which position is the double-dip? The Patriots have had some success double-dipping at positions in the NFL draft -- tight end in 2010, running back and offensive line in 2011 and receiver in 2013 come to mind. If they do it again this year, offensive line would be the spot with some of the greatest odds. The team hasn't drafted an offensive lineman in each of the last two drafts. That should warrant some attention.
Underrated storyline. As much as I think the Patriots would like to bolster the tight end spot, the options aren't plentiful. For all the talk about Notre Dame's Troy Niklas and Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz as possible solid fits, I started to have some second thoughts with both of them as more intel came in late in the process. I wonder if the Patriots will ultimately have more than a couple of viable options at the position.
Medical questions often alter the picture. Another thing that came up that will serve as a reminder for this reporter next year -- before referring to a prospect as "clean" from a scouting perspective, try to dig deeper on medical information. That will sometimes change the context of "clean." So if a player falls unexpectedly in the draft, chances are it could be tied to medical questions.
Stat of the day. In his 14 drafts with the Patriots, Belichick has made 52 draft-day trades. The only year in which he didn't make a deal was 2004.
Johnny Football and the Patriots. As part of pre-draft festivities Wednesday, quarterback Johnny Manziel had positive things to say about his pre-draft visit with the Patriots. ESPN's Rich Cimini, who was covering the event, relayed Manziel's thoughts about meeting Belichick. "It was awesome. I spent more time there than I thought I would," Manziel said. "Had a good conversation, whether it was talking about [Kevin] O’Connell, a guy who coached me while I was in [San Diego], or Kliff Kingsbury, who was with me and Coach Belichick. We had some good stories to share and we really had a good conversation."
Reporter's view on draft day. The question is sometimes asked, "Where do you watch the draft?" We'll be at team headquarters at Gillette Stadium, where Belichick is scheduled to meet with reporters at the end of each night of the draft.