Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said the following regarding the current makeup of the roster while speaking on the Patriots All-Access television show: “Twelve of the players we drafted last year, we’re still working with them. We added another 12 players [this year], so you’re almost talking about half of a 53-man roster. There is a little bit of retooling that takes place. I think every team goes through it at some point or another and we’re kind of going through that process now with the infusion of younger players and younger talent.”
2. The Dolphins passed on the chance to select any of the draft’s top nose tackles and they plan to move veteran Randy Starks to that all-important spot. How that move pans out will play a significant part in evaluating their draft.
3. I might be reading too much into it, but I took this comment by Jets coach Rex Ryan on Adalius Thomas as a shot at Patriots coach Bill Belichick: “If you're just going to [make him] a defensive end, or an inside linebacker, or an outside linebacker, then he's not going to be quite as effective. If you can use him all over the place as a defensive end, an inside linebacker, and outside backer, a safety, he's special.”
4. Sounds like another tough break for Seahawks receiver Deion Branch, who has been sidelined after having surgery to clean out a knee. While the surgery was considered minor, Branch has seemingly run into one health problem after another from the time he arrived in Seattle in 2006.
5. Connections are important on the scouting trail and the Patriots had a good one when it came to Georgia defensive lineman Kade Weston, one of their seventh-round draft choices (248th overall). Weston played his high school ball in Red Bank, New Jersey, where Patriots scout Frank Edgerly spent a decade as a head coach at a catholic school in town.
6. Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones retired last week and some are calling him one of the best to ever play the position. Bill Belichick recalled last week when Jones was coming out of Florida State in 1997 and many teams had questions about how he’d do in the NFL. “He had very little experience and that was a big projection, kind of a reach [at the 6th pick],” he said, before noting that Jones harnessed his athletic ability and had a tremendous pro career.
7. When making draft picks, the Patriots often balance their own needs with other teams’ as well. For example, in selecting punter Zoltan Mesko in the fifth round (150th round), the team was projecting that the punter-needy Packers were ready to pounce if they didn’t.
8. Raiders coach Tom Cable told Bay Area reporters Friday that the team was making progress on a contract extension with defensive lineman Richard Seymour, which explained in part why Seymour – who has not signed his exclusive franchise tag – did not attend the team’s mandatory minicamp this weekend.
9. The Patriots were one of three teams to select two tight ends in the draft, and this was a nice read from veteran reporter Vic Carucci of NFL.com on the importance of the position and how more teams focused on it in the draft.
10. The Patriots are in position to have made a total of 16 draft choices among the first three rounds of drafts from 2009-2011. How the Patriots make those picks and develop them is the number one factor that will determine the direction the team is headed.