New England Patriots Links 2/22/12 - 2012 NFL Scouting Combine Kicks Off

James Walker (ESPN) AFC East Combine primer.

Pass-rushers at a premium: Every AFC East team, to some degree, needs more help rushing the passer. Keep an eye on athletic defensive ends and/or outside linebackers who really stand out at the combine. The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, in particular, are two teams looking for a dynamic pass-rusher. Both teams could be aiming to find one in the first round.

Double trouble: The Patriots are one of three teams with two picks in the first round. Traditionally, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes to trade back for additional picks. But I have a feeling New England will do the unexpected this year. That could mean either trading up or simply using their two first-round picks in the slots provided. New England has a bevy of needs, particularly on defense. The Patriots could use help at all three levels defensively.

Safety first: The New York Jets need a safety (or two) more than any team in this draft. New York's defense was beat over the middle often last season by pass-catching tight ends. Jim Leonhard is a free agent coming off a season-ending knee injury and isn't expected to sign with a team until he's 100 percent. Starter Eric Smith struggled mightily and the Jets could use an upgrade there. Alabama's Mark Barron is the top safety prospect in the draft and often linked to New York with the No. 16 overall pick. The Dolphins and Patriots also are in the market for a safety.

Watch the interviews: Teams have a chance to interview a certain number of prospects at the combine. Watch for who the Bills, Jets, Patriots and Dolphins decide to spend personal time with next week.

Report (ESPN) Tom Martinez, longtime mentor of Tom Brady, dies at 66.

The Patriots offered their condolences to Martinez's family on Twitter on Tuesday night.

"Our sincere condolences go out to the Martinez family & all those he mentored throughout his incredible career."

Brady's father, Tom Brady Sr., called Tom Martinez's passing "a big loss," and called his son and Martinez "soul brothers."

"Tom was just a terrific guy," Brady Sr. told ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss. "It's just a real sad day because he has coached and mentored and parented so many kids for so many years. He was a tough coach who was extraordinarily well respected. He just loved his kids, loved to get the best out of them. When kids got out of his programs, they all came back to visit him. He was a real wonderful, wonderful guy."

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