Some Patriots-based leftovers from four days at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis:
Patriots like depth of front-seven talent in draft. One theme that was repeated by NFL general managers and coaches was that the 2011 draft is deep along the defensive line and at outside linebacker. Count the Patriots in that category as well. "Like any draft year, there are certain positions that are a little deeper than others. The front-seven group of players is a solid group, there's no question about it," Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio told the team's website.
Patriots media contingent leads the way. The media center at the Combine was jam-packed, to the point that extra tables were set up in one corner to accomodate the overflow. This is one of the events where it's a unique mix of media members -- from team websites, to draft publications, to more from the traditional mainstream outlets. By an informal count, no team had more outlets covering it than the Patriots. The New England roster looked like this: Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Patriots.com, Comcast SportsNet, WEEI and ESPNBoston.com. Others with New England ties included Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders and Brian McIntyre and his must-read "Mac's Football Blog."
More on the running back group and Patriots' need. In speaking with one evaluator focusing on running backs, his opinion was that this group is deep, with the chance to select a contributor as late as the fourth and possibly fifth round. His feeling was that one player who really helped himself was Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray. With their bounty of picks, this is an area I expect the Patriots to tap between rounds 2-4. Last running back drafted by the Patriots: Justise Hairston of Central Connecticut in 2007.