FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots head coach addressed the selection of Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard following the 2012 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Dennard was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots, after seeing his draft stock drop following an arrest last week in Lincoln, Neb.
"Alfonzo is a guy who we spent a lot of time on. Obviously the incident affected his draft position," Belichick said. "But certainly we're aware of it. We researched it, we found out as much as we could about it. Obviously as an organization we were comfortable taking the selection where we did. ... There's obviously some other things that are currently out there from a legal standpoint that I obviously can't comment on."
Asked if the Dennard selection was a case where the Patriots felt his draft value far outweighed the other available players on the board, like quarterback Ryan Mallett last year, Belichick simply answered "Yes," adding that offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (2011 fifth round) was another example of that situation.
Here are some other quick hits from Belichick's post-draft news conference:
More on Dennard from Belichick: "He’s strong. He’s a physical player. Obviously he played at a high level of competition, particularly in the 2010 season where they played so much in the passing conference – a lot of spread out offenses, a lot of nickel, dime coverage and that type of thing. Then this year, when Nebraska went to the Big Ten, they saw really a whole different schedule, a whole different style of offensive football from those teams that they played so it was interesting to watch all that. I think you can really see him play against – or anybody from Nebraska for that matter, whether it was Lavonte David or Alfonzo, whoever it is – see them play against – two different years, really two different style of offense. He’s gone up against a lot of good players and competed well."
On sixth-round selection Nate Ebner: "Nate is a guy who is a big, fast safety that's been very productive in the kicking game. Relatively inexperienced player who we think has a lot of football in front of him. Obviously we have some good connections at Ohio State, people who have worked with him. Obviously that played a part in it too, just in terms of his overall development, and where we think he can be."
On seventh-round selection Jeremy Ebert: "Ebert is a guy who we kind of got onto late. Worked him out this past week. He's an impressive guy. Does a lot of things well. We feel that he is versatile and will be able to compete at that position for us as one of the younger players that we have at that position. We have a lot of experienced guys there, and we felt that adding a good, young player to that group like him would be good."
On undrafted free agent signings: "We've been banging away on the free agents now, after the draft, and working our way through that process. Hopefully we'll have some players there that will be able to compete for a roster spot, and give us depth on the roster. We've been able to find a guy or two there, pretty much every year. Undrafted guys who have come in and made our team and contributed for us, so hopefully our efforts there after the draft will be productive in some fashion, as they have in the past."
On compliance with 90-man roster limit: "We're in that range, there. Whatever it is, we'll be in the compliance with the league rules on that. Again, obviously there's some roster juggling going on, so we'll see exactly how that turns out. But we're right around that number."
Rationale for trading down twice: "We started out the day in the fifth round, had an opportunity to move back and draft three players instead of one. We felt that that was a better place for us to be."