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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Senior Bowl is familiar territory for the New England Patriots. Having drafted or signed 57 Senior Bowl alumni since 2010, the Patriots have made Mobile, Alabama an unofficial prospect factory.

The 2022 event consists of more than 100 players who will be coached by members of the New York Jets and Detroit Lions’ coaching staffs. The week will culminate in a game between the American and National squads on Saturday, February 5th at 2:30p.m. EST on NFL Network.

Day two of the week long event has come and gone, and with it have come a few notable takeaways from a Patriots perspective:

1. Where are the Patriots?

A lot of the focus up in New England surrounding the Senior Bowl in 2021, was the fact that Bill Belichick did not attend the event. Early reports out of Mobile seem to indicate that he is not in attendance this year either.

Of course this isn’t that big of a deal. New England drafted three participants from the 2021 Senior Bowl in Mac Jones, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Joshuah Bledsoe. It’s safe to say that those selections look to be working out, but that was in a time where they had an official director of player personnel in Dave Ziegler. As we all know, Ziegler has moved on and is now the general manager for the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving New England without a front office leader not named Bill Belichick.

A thought headed into days three and four will be, “Who did the Patriots send down to Mobile?” Perhaps the answer to that question could give some insight into who they expect to step up in the absence of Ziegler.

2. The 2022 draft class is rich in beef.

When watching football on the weekends, the majority of our attention is usually drawn to the skill guys. They’re the ones scoring points and putting up highlights, but when you watch football during the week, you can’t help but notice the big bodies. That is where the majority of team success comes from, and it’s where successful NFL organizations often look to start the building of their rosters. Plenty of NFL teams will be happy to know that the 2022 class is full of franchise cornerstones on the front lines.

The most important thing we see at Senior Bowl practices are the one-on-one pass rush drills between offensive and defensive lineman. Throughout day two, during both American and National team practices, we saw some great reps on both sides.

The competition — something we’ll hit more on soon — was fierce and fairly even throughout the two practices. The big bodies stole the show for the second day in a row. Good news for the Patriots who are never hesitant to add to their front lines.

3. Competition is paramount.

In a funny moment to kickoff the second practice of the day, American head coach and Detroit Lions assistant head coach Duce Staley held a one-on-one competition. Asking if any players want to lay down a challenge earlier in the day, Staley apparently received a response from San Diego State’s Daniel Bellinger. The tight end wanted to put his blocking chops up to the test and was answered by South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare. The results weren’t what Bellinger was hoping for.

It was admittedly a funny moment, but also brought with it a message. Duce Staley and the Detroit Lions’ staff wanted to see some competition, and that moment to kickoff practice was something the Senior Bowl hasn’t really seen in recent years. Some change could prove to be positive.

4. Who could the Jets look to target?

An often overlooked factor in our preparations for the draft are finding out who division rivals might have their eye on. Of course we all want to know who the Patriots may draft, but almost as important, we have a prime opportunity to see who the New York Jets might have a first hand chance at seeing.

The Jets staff is coaching the National team in this years Senior Bowl, which boasts a litany of offensive line talent. New York’s number one priority moving forward is the protection and development of Zach Wilson, which starts on that offensive line. With a pair of picks in the top ten and two in the top-38, New York could certainly look to reach for a talented tackle like Trevor Penning, or hold back and select one of the drafts best interior lineman in Zion Johnson, both of whom they’ll spend the entire week working with.