New England Patriots Links 2/26/10 - Patriots Draft Needs: Edge Rusher or Top Wide Receiver?

Many mock drafts have the Patriots selecting WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame).

Erik Scalavino shares the media Combine experience from Thursday.  Click on the link for more details.

The league’s annual job interview process for draft-eligible college players got underway in earnest on Thursday, starting first thing in the morning.

The day began with numerous back-to-back interviews with coaches and front office officials, including Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey, Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, and former Patriots executive and now Kansas City GM Scott Pioli. Around midday, offensive linemen and specialists began filtering in. Later in the day, tight ends started to emerge. That routine is similar to previous Combine years – offensive players are presented on the first two days; defenders arrive over the weekend.

While the assembled media are restricted in their viewing of the actual Combine workouts (we’re limited to what’s shown on NFL Network), the interview process gives us a first-impression opportunity with the future NFL stars, as well as a chance to get into more in-depth, sometimes one-on-one discussions with the top brass from around the league.

The early front-runner for quote of the Combine came from new Browns president Mike Holmgren.
 
Though scheduled to talk officially with the media on Friday, Holmgren was spotted in the hallway at Lucas Oil Stadium and agreed to stop for a brief chat. A Boston-area reporter began to ask Holmgren about his head coach, Eric Mangini, who, it was pointed out, cut his teeth as a coach under Bill Belichick in New England.

"I don't blame him for that," Holmgren interjected with a coy smile, which brought laughs from the assembled media.

The Combine continues [Friday], with quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receiver prospects scheduled to meet and greet the media. More head coaches and front office officials will also take questions from reporters at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mike Mayock analyzes New England's Draft needs.  Edge rusher is top on the list.

What the Patriots do really well is, they understand the players who fit the Patriot system, and to me they've got to get younger and more athletic on the back end. It started last year with the drafting of safety Patrick Chung and cornerback Darius Butler. They need somebody who can rush the quarterback, and I think that's got to be a priority. You've got to find an edge rusher who can get to the quarterback.

I also wouldn't discount the fact that they need a wide receiver. Between Wes Welker's ACL and Randy Moss' age and contract situation, I think wide receiver comes into play a little bit with the second-round picks, and there's an awful lot of good receivers in the second round.

Tate or LaFell could be there. Mardy Gilyard. I like Eric Decker from Minnesota. Might get him cheap coming off the injury. Damian Williams, Jeremy Williams. That's a bunch of guys, second and third round, who could fit.

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