Patriots meeting with Mallett, Ingram

The New England Patriots reportedly have lined up meetings with some polarizing prospects.

Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram tweeted Monday that he was on his way to Foxborough to visit the Patriots. In the afternoon, AFC North blogger James Walker reported the Patriots also were bringing in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

The Patriots met with Washington quarterback Jake Locker last week, but as ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss pointed out, that doesn't necessarily mean they're searching for Tom Brady's heir just yet.

The Patriots are masters as maximizing value for their draft picks in case other teams want to trade. Advertising interest in a quarterback is the best way to do that, because it's the most coveted position in the game. The Patriots made an uncharacteristically public display of their meeting with Tim Tebow last spring.

New England owns the 17th, 28th, 33rd and 60th picks.

Mallett would be a divisive name for any of those slots. He's evaluated by many as the best pure thrower in this year's draft class, but he comes with concerns about his mobility and off-field issues.

It takes only one team to really want Mallett, Locker or Ingram, a college star whose NFL stock might not warrant selection until late in the first round or early second round.

And if a team fears the Patriots -- or another team in the Patriots' vicinity -- will take Mallett, Locker or Ingram, then maybe they'll be more compelled to make a trade that benefits the Patriots.