The Gronkowskis were a big topic of conversation, but so were a few of the Patriots defensive tackles. See below for a round-up of Patriots-related highlights from the combine.
Ole Miss OT Fahn Cooper
"I would always tell people I played with a guy named Chris Jones up at Bowling Green. He got off the ball faster than anybody I ever played until I got to Ole Miss. Robert Nkemdiche’s got the nicest get-off I’ve seen. It makes it real difficult. I feel bad for the guards and center trying to come back (motions with his shoulder) off a power play because he’s boom, lightning off the ball."
Western Kentucky TE Tyler Higbee
"[Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski] right now is the best doing it. I think everybody kind of looks up to him. I try to take things from guys who do have success, certain things to add to mine to have success."
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch
"I think that in my opinion, those guys that separate themselves from being an average quarterback and a great quarterback are those guys who just get it to click mentally. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, guys like that who jump out at you."
Massachusetts wide receiver Tajae Sharpe
"Yes, sir, all the time," Sharpe said when asked about playing for the Patriots in Gillette Stadium- the same place where Massachusetts played their home games. "No matter where I go, it would be a blessing. I try not to think about it too much. … I just try to let the days go by one day at a time, take one day at a time and when that day comes, we’ll see what happens."
Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings self-comparison
"Vince Wilfork. He really has the attack off the ball like that. I think I bring a little bit more movement laterally onto that position, and quickness. But definitely his aggression I can bring."
Florida defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard
"[Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley] was a guy I kind of watched coming into Florida, the reason I chose Florida just to watch him. He’s a close friend. We talk every now and then. He’ll shoot me a text or I’ll shoot him a text if I see him doing something on Snapchat. We stay in touch."
Virginia cornerback Maurice Canady
"Yeah, I definitely have been looking at a lot of Aqib Talib. He’s been wonderful for the Denver Broncos and even back to the New England Patriot days, he has the total package. He’s tall, quick, plays aggressive and is total package in my eyes."
Notre Dame defensive tackle Sheldon Day on being a Colts fan
"If someone said Tom Brady was better than [Peyton Manning] I was ready to go at it, and Marvin Harrison and those guys like that, Reggie Wayne grew up on that type of system."
[Ed. note: Typical Colts fan, trying to say Manning is better than Brady, and then following it up by highlighting two Hall of Fame-caliber receivers that helped him pad his stats.]
Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller on if his family could beat the Gronkowskis
"I would say the Fullers [would win]. You would expect me to say Gronkowskis?"
Kendall is the youngest Fuller brother. His brother Kyle was a 1st round pick at cornerback for the Bears in 2014, his other brother Corey was a 6th round pick at wide receiver for the Lions in 2013, and their oldest brother Vincent was a 4th round pick at safety for the Titans in 2005, and even played for the Patriots in 2011. All played at Virginia Tech.
Southeastern Louisiana cornerback Harlan Miller
Does it help to see small-school corners like Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler make it: "Oh, no doubt. We all play with a chip on our shoulder, because we're coming from a small school, and questions are always, can you compete with the top programs in the country. That's just always in the back of your head, that people criticize you for not playing to their level."
Is Butler a guy you look up to?: "No, he's not. He's a good player. But no, I like [Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman]. Sherman's my favorite corner."
Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway
Still in contact with Patriots DT Malcom Brown?: "I talk to him sometimes."
Watched any of Malcom's games with Patriots?: "Yeah, we watch him - at Texas, you always look at them, always watching former players in the NFL.
How did he do?: "Good! When you're getting double-teamed, and using up somebody else, you're freeing up other people, I felt like he did his job out there."