The Patriots are allowed to hold meetings with 60 prospects during the NFL Combine this week. Our friend Oliver Thomas is keeping track of the Patriots combine meetings as they're reported.
It should be said that the meetings aren't helpful when it comes to projecting the draft as there's little connection between the meetings and who is selected. That's not to say they're not helpful, though, as it gives a lens into the types of players the Patriots want to know more about.
The Patriots have met with Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza, one of the top kickers in the draft, so it's clear New England is acting out their due diligence in case Stephen Gostkowski outprices himself beyond the available cap.
The offensive linemen the Patriots are checking out makes it very evident they're going to take an interior lineman at some point in the draft; it's just a matter of who they want. They're looking at players in the ~310 lbs range for left guard prospects and ~330 lbs for the right guard, as they try to improve over Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell on the line. The prospects in the Patriots meetings are also day 2 options, so look for a second or third round pick for the interior line.
The tight ends are more of a move-type, where their athleticism should come into play. The Patriots won't draft a tight end unless they're physically superior, and it doesn't look like there's a tight end that fits the model in the draft. Still, it seems as if the tight end the Patriots want to improve over might not be Michael Hoomanawanui, but Tim Wright.
The running backs also fit a prototype, with the Patriots looking at a bowling ball type of a back. They want some LeGarrette Blount insurance, with a back who weighs 225+ lbs, or at least offers a similar frame. The prospects look to be day three prospects, so look for a boom-bust type of selection late in the draft.