NESN's Doug Kyed is the man. True gentleman and scholar. He's also hustling the beat and has been winning this entire combine period. His Twitter feed is full of amazing breakdowns, including which prospects best align with the New England Patriots based upon their physical abilities, but I think he just announced the crown jewel.
He found out who the Patriots were speaking with at the Combine. Well, he found out 20 out of the 60 official visits.
Now I'm not saying that Kyed broke into Fort Knox, but he probably did.
I don't want to spoil the surprise since this Kyed's hard work and sourcing, so go check it out, but it's evident that there are some pretty serious trends in the visits.
1) The Patriots are visiting a lot of pass rushers and bigger cornerbacks. Perhaps this is in preparation for a departure by cornerback Logan Ryan after 2016, or the fact that the starting trio of Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard, and Rob Ninkovich will be free agents after the season as well.
2) The running backs that are in contact are all of the Stevan Ridley- or LeGarrette Blount-mold: huge, thumping, one-cut backs. It's clear what the team's need will be at the position.
3) Very few wide receivers, offensive tackles, and linebackers have surfaced. Those are my three biggest Patriots needs moving forward, and the Patriots have managed to stay away. Perhaps they don't want to tip their hands.
It seems that the Patriots are also doing homework on round two defensive tackles, which likely hinges on the possible departure of Akiem Hicks in free agency.. This list doesn't include the two other running backs that the Globe reported, or the two other players that admit they met with the Patriots in their interviews.