Mike Reiss highlights a few nuggets from Bill Belichick's NFLN interview with Stacey Dales.
Drafting for need vs. best player available. Belichick discussed the dangers in reaching for need, pointing out that it doesn't make sense to do so because if the player doesn't pan out, the team would be back in the same position next year. "If it happens to be at a position we'd like, great, but as long as long as it's a good player that will be the type of person and player we want in our program, then I think we'll be happy with that pick," he said.
Assessing the sweet spots of the draft. Belichick touched on some of the strengths of this draft in his view. "Player-wise, this year, there is certainly a lot of depth in certain positions. Obviously the defensive line, offensive line, receivers. Then as you look at the entire group, there is a lot of depth in the running back and defensive back positions -- maybe not right up at the top but certainly it looks like there are a lot of players there who will be big contributors at some point." Belichick also repeated his belief that there will be a lot of defensive lineman selected early and the teams that evaluate that area best will, in time, probably be the ones who do the best in the draft.
Youth on the roster won't affect much. Belichick was asked about having so much youth on the roster, and if it will impact his approach in the draft. "I don't think it really affects us too much," he responded. "I think we still go back to our core philosophy of trying to find the best players we can for our football team, and let them compete with the guys that are here, and we'll see how all that plays out. Whether that's new players coming on to the team or players on the team raising their level of play. If it makes the team better, that's what it's all about."
Michael McCann (SI) Sports Law: Judge's ruling means NFL must get back to work -- sans restrictions.
1. What does Judge Nelson's decision mean? It means that NFL teams must resume business operations and allow players to work out, practice and conduct other normal activities. While teams are not obligated to conduct organized practices or even provide coaching sessions, players must be allowed the same employment opportunities they would typically enjoy.
Teams will most likely comply with Judge Nelson's order. Team officials who refuse the order would be subject to penalty -- including monetary fines or even imprisonment -- for disregarding a court order. Judge Nelson could also request enforcement assistance from the U.S. Marshal Service, the federal agency entrusted with enforcing court orders. If necessary, marshals could be asked to escort players into team facilities. If players believe that teams are in any way limiting their access to facilities, expect Judge Nelson to take decisive action against teams and their officials.
2. Judge Nelson said the NFL has to get back to business. What will be the rules for free agency, the salary cap and other critical components of NFL football?
Here's the dilemma for the NFL: with the NFLPA decertified, the NFL cannot collectively bargain any rules, and only collectively bargained rules are exempt from antitrust law. The NFL is thus faced with the onerous task of figuring out a set of restraints on competition that would ensure that the league can function effectively, but not prove so anticompetitive that the restraints violate federal antitrust law. The NFL, with its emphasis on team sharing and competitive balance, is probably the least-equipped of the four major pro sports leagues to withstand antitrust scrutiny.
- The Patriots Football Weekly boys bring you a few quick-hit thoughts on how the draft just might play out later tonight.
- Paul Perillo talks about his recent mock draft experience, selecting for the Patriots.
- Andy Hart presents his final 2011 NFL Draft big board.
- Patriots.com has collected a wide-ranging sample of what the 'experts' are predicting the Patriots will do in the first round come draft weekend.
- Patriots Today - A look inside the draft room. (6.10 min. video) Way cool!
- Patriots Today - Tyrone Smith stops by for a visit. (2.25 min. video)
- Patriots Today - 2011 Mock Draft. (8.47 min. video)
- Patriots All Access (4/27/11) Special Pre-Draft edition. (18.46 min. video)
- Draft Prospect Review (4/27/11) Wrapping up our Draft preview. (33 min. program)
- Inside the Draft Room with Brian Lowe. (1 hour program)
- Tom E. Curran reports that New England has had conversations with Cleveland about moving up to the sixth overall pick.
- Greg A. Bedard tells Bill Belichick to just go for it tonight and grab the best pass rusher he can get.
- Karen Guregian says Bill Belichick can't leave the war room without a stud pass rusher.
- Ian Rapoport says the Patriots are open to all options tonight and ready for anything.
- Mark Farinella looks at the possibility of the Patriots going to the well once again for a defensive back.
- Shalise Manza Young points out Belichick has the flexibility to move freely, up or down, to get who they want at the right value.
- Christopher Price notes Bill Belichick has 'definitely had a lot' of trade discussions.
- Mark Farinella agrees that the Patriots will draft a pass rusher to bring consistency to that area of the defense, but who?
- Jeff Howe says Vince Wilfork believes the lockout will create a change in the Patriots draft philosophy, plus 19 other NFL thoughts.
- Mike Reiss gives us a snapshot look at those who comprise the Patriots personnel department in anticipation of tonight's draft.
- Shalise Manza Young talks about the fuzzy future ahead for players unlikely to be drafted.
- John Connolly tells us which local area prospects are hoping to catch on in the NFL.
- Mike Reiss analyzes the mock draft of the NFLN crew and who they had the Patriots select in the first round.
- WEEI consolidates its analysis of Potential Patriots as a handy reference for tonight's draft.
- Mike Reiss projects possible Patriots: DE Cameron Heyward (Ohio State).
- Mike Reiss gives us his best guess on how tonight's first round will go: Patriots select DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple) at 17 and DE/OLB Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh) at 28.
- Karen Guregian puts out her own Mock Draft, with the Patriots selecting DE Cameron Jordan (California) at 17 and G Danny Watkins (Baylor) at 28.
- Tom E. Curran reports Ted Larsen, drafted and released by Pats last year, saves three teens stranded in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NBCSports) It's one crazy draft, but we have answers.
- Greg Gabriel (Nat'l Football Post) Inside Draft Day: Better have a plan.
- Aaron Wilson (Nat'l Football Post) Patriots have talked to Browns about trade.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Kiper evaluates our AFC East reader mock.
- MJD (Yahoo! Sports) Thirty-two reasons you need to watch the NFL Draft.
- Doug Farrar (Yahoo! Sports) Going up? The biggest risers in the 2011 draft.
- Doug Farrar (Yahoo! Sports) Draft drops - The biggest fallers in the 2011 Draft.
- Stacey Dales (NFL.com) Bill Belichick 1-on-1: Bill Belichick talks about his thoughts heading into the 2011 draft. (6.40 min. video)
- Dan Wetzel (Yahoo! Sports) Goodell should prepare to hear boos at draft.
- Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay (ESPN) Debate: Who's the best defender in the Draft? Patrick Peterson vs. Marcell Dareus.
- Michael McKnight (SI) For many underclassmen, NFL Draft is a humbling experience.
- Trevor Ebaugh (ESPN Stats & Information) Evolution of the defensive end.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) Labor uncertainty affects draft plans.
- Adam Rank (NFL.com) Feud for thought: These make Cutler-Hall look tame.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Rex Ryan's book doesn't tell all, but enough.
- John Clayton (ESPN) Free-agent scramble is real possiblity.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) All eyes on the 8th Circuit.
- Andrew Brandt (Nat'l Football Post) Late Night with Judge Nelson: stay denied.
- Sean Leahy (USA Today) NFL: Teams will work under status quo for now, despite ruling.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) The court order is clear -- the NFL should be conducting business as usual.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL will advise teams how to proceed on Thursday.
- Mark Kriegel (Fox Sports) Owners' argument doesn't hold up.
- Aaron Wilson (Nat'l Football Post) NFLPA believes league year has to begin now after stay rejected.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Players believe 2011 league year has begun.
- Sam Mellinger (Kansas City Star) Live from New York: Unreality TV. Tonight 's Draft is an uncomfortable spotlight for all involved.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Janoris Jenkins could be the first to directly attack the draft.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) On appeal, first fight will focus on "standard of review".
- Gene Wojciechowski (ESPN) Time for Roger Goodell to cut his losses.
- Lester Munson (ESPN) Injunction: Beginning of lockout end.
- AP (SI) Judge rejects NFL's request to freeze her lockout ruling.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Chester Pitts calls Goodell a "fraud", Pash a "consistent turd".