Mike Mayock of NFL Network is holding a conference call today, and it didn't take long for the Patriots to enter the discussion. The second question asked to Mayock came from Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, who showed good get-off skills.
The question to Mayock: What do you see as the Patriots No. 1 or 2 need, and did anything that happened in the Super Bowl -- as far as the game itself -- make you lean one way or another as far as what they need?
Mayock's answer: "I'm less of a snapshot guy than I am a composite guy. They have two picks in the first round, what a surprise (tongue in cheek). Bill is a master at letting the board come to him, so I don't even think Bill will know really until that last week prior to the draft what specific players he's interested in. But the way I look at it is it's got to be all about defense. You're sitting there with two picks, with the ability to move up, down, or stay at 27 and 31. In a league where it's a pass-first league; I was kind of happy to see the return of defense in the playoffs and the Super Bowl, but let's be honest about it, there are a lot of teams, including the Patriots, that want a track meet every week, which means you have to rush the quarterback and you have to defend on the back end. I think those are the two areas of need that kind of cry out for some help in the draft for the Patriots."
Two questions later, Shalise Manza Young showed terrific pursuit skills and jumped into the call with a Patriots question of her own.
If the Patriots go offensively in the draft, what position could you envision them targeting?
"Probably at wide receiver," Mayock answered. "Welker has had career years and those two tight ends are exceptional, which has kind of changed the way a lot of people look at offense in this league, and I think you have to give Bill and his coaching staff a lot of credit for crafting what they've crafted with that offense; however, having said that, between Welker and the tight ends they're based in the middle of the field more than they are vertically. I think a vertical wide receiver could really help them."