Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio offered himself to the media at noon today to give his thoughts on the upcoming draft. Other than his quip about the additional two weeks of spare time in this year's draft season allowing Bill Belichick to finish his half marathon, Caserio didn't have too many soundbites.
He mentioned that the team's interest in QBs this season is no different than any past year. They're just doing their due diligence.
He pointed out the draft's depth at wide receiver, running back, and defensive line. While few would argue the first position, the running back class is fairly flush with prospects of a similar tier (although there isn't really a featured name as a can't-miss prospect), the fact that they pointed out the defensive line's depth is interesting. While there are plenty of intriguing prospects on the defensive line, it doesn't seem any more or less strong than in the past.
He mentioned undrafted players being targets for many of the 25 open roster spots, with Josh Kline as being a potential piece of the future. In my opinion, he's the heir to Dan Connolly's throne at right guard (although my opinion on Kline after last pre-season was that he was the weakest of the UDFA linemen).
The most important piece is Caserio's belief that they have a competitive team as they currently stand. Of course, it's what you want to hear, but the implication leads the Patriots to potentially selecting Best Player Available (BPA) during the draft.
This means that the team could be getting some play makers on the roster at positions not expected. Caserio says that the current players on the roster won't prevent the team from selecting a prospect, and even alluded to the Nate Solder/Matt Light dynamic, where a young talent was brought in prematurely to replace a star on the out. "You never want to pass up on a player," Caserio said. "Just because he [plays] a position where there might be numbers or volume."
An infusion of youth at defensive tackle seems likely, should they be the best players available (Dominique Easley, anyone?). Just note that the Patriots are going to use this draft to select players that can win games- a slight deviation from drafting players with whom games can be won.