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The Patriots are scheduled to host quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater on pre-draft visits at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, a league source confirmed, even though each is projected to be selected well before New England's scheduled first pick.
The Patriots have the 29th overall selection and have Ryan Mallett, who is under contract through 2014, behind Tom Brady (under contract through 2017) on the depth chart. The visits with Manziel and Bridgewater will count as two of the team's 30 allotted visits with out-of-town prospects.
NFL Network first reported the scheduled visits.
Manziel is expected to visit several other teams. While it is somewhat unusual for the Patriots to spend time with a top quarterback prospect, it isn't completely out of the norm. In 2010, the Patriots hosted Tim Tebow on a highly publicized visit that included dinner in Boston's North End neighborhood.
Bridgwate is angling against both Manziel and Central Florida's Blake Bortles to be the first quarterback selected, and he'll have the chance to spend time with Manziel on Wednesday.
Manziel is arguably the most fascinating prospect in this year's draft, in part due to his unconventional style of play, physical measureables (5-foot-11, 207 pounds) and off-field activity.
After Manziel had a recent workout with the Vikings, first-year Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said "flags" popped up.
In 2012, Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. He led all FBS quarterbacks in Total QBR in 2012 and finished third in 2013.
Bridgewater threw for 72 touchdowns and nearly 10,000 yards during his college career.
Every player who led the country in Total QBR from 2008 to 2011 is a current NFL starter, including Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.