The NFL draft is 20 days away.
If you’re like me, you’ve been watching with intensity which players the Patriots have blessed with their interest.
Each team in the NFL gets 30 out-of-town visits, and that’s what’s been the buzz of late, but there are also numerous pro days to attend, local athletes to evaluate, and that’s all in addition to the information teams have on hand because of the NFL Scouting Combine.
So while we were monitoring the visits, the totality and accuracy of which we’ll never truly know, we noticed a trend developing. And no, this is not your average Scarlet Knight connection. (Although there’s a surprising lack of those guys associated with the Patriots.)
In 62 reported visits/workouts/Pro Days for the Patriots since the Senior Bowl, according to WalterFootball.com, the Patriots have made contact with 10 quarterbacks and 10 defensive backs, the most of the group. Nine have been defensive linemen. Eight have been linebackers. Seven have been wide receivers. And then there have been six tight ends, running backs and offensive linemen each. With so many QBs and DBs on the list, there’s credence to the theory that the Patriots are going after another backup quarterback for Tom Brady and aren’t finished with their work in the secondary.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. The Denver Broncos’ passing attack made mince meat of the Patriots in the AFC Championship and the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive blueprint — tall corners, capable defensive line — seems to be the motivation du jour. Brady, who will be 37 in August — insert obligatory groan — is not getting any younger. So Bill Belichick and company are working the short game and the long game, which is what you want your franchise to do.
Adding Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, as well as another secondary piece, addresses the immediate concern back deep. Addressing the quarterback situation, as usual, is sticky because Brady has already outplayed many of his colleagues into his late 30s. There’s also the notion to consider that the Patriots are simply performing their due diligence on future opposing players. That has to be taken into consideration. But long-term planning, with the number of players receiving interest via workouts or meetings, doesn’t appear to be off the agenda either.
Who are the quarterbacks?
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater
Eastern Illinois’s Jimmy Garoppolo
Ohio State’s Kenny Guiton
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel
Alabama’s A.J. McCarron
LSU’s Zach Mettenberger
Georgia’s Aaron Murray
South Carolina’s Connor Shaw
Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas
Ball State’s Keith Wenning
Read the rest of this post on Boston.com’s Extra Points blog.