INDIANAPOLIS -- Sights, sounds and picked-up pieces through a Patriots-like lens at the NFL combine:
1. Although the Patriots have a clear need at outside linebacker, there probably won't be an urgency to use a first-round draft choice to fill it. One general manager said he believes the quality of outside linebacker/defensive ends is high in the second and third round, so applying that to the Patriots, they could wait until one of their three second-round picks depending on the opportunities which come up.
2. Along those lines, Clemson defensive end/outside linebacker Ricky Sapp said he met with Patriots scouts here and a big topic of discussion is how he might fit in the 3-4 defense. "One of the biggest things they were talking about was scheme wise and dropping [in pass coverage] and rushing off the edge," he said. Sapp, a projected late first-round or second-round pick, said Clemson had a special 3-4 package that was utilized at times, so he has some experience dropping into coverage.
3. Those with Patriots ties continue to toss compliments toward the team. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was asked if he sees things becoming harder on the Patriots because as former staffers branch out across the NFL they are looking for the same type of player. Dimitroff then told a story from the 2009 draft: "Just when you think you have [Bill Belichick] figured out, he'll come up with a Julian Edelman. We were scratching our head, thinking 'We don't have that guy. He's a quarterback, wasn't he?' So he always tends to come up with something special."
4. The Patriots own the Titans' second-round draft choice (48th overall) from a trade in which they sent Tennessee a 2009 third-round pick. The Titans picked tight end Jared Cook, and Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher said he still likes the deal from his perspective. "We are certainly very excited about the decision we made last year to trade the second pick because he has a great future," he said.