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Picked-up Patriots pieces at combine

Some Patriots-based and NFL draft picked-up pieces from watching the various NFL news conferences at the scouting combine Wednesday on the web:

1. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht echoed media analysts in saying that running back and receiver are two positions of good depth in the draft. Licht also added offensive line to the mix, while Chargers general manager Tom Telesco touted the receiver group as deep throughout the draft. As for former Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins, Licht repeated what he told ESPNBoston.com columnist Jackie MacMullan in January that "he's part of the solution." Licht relayed that Mankins told him that he plans to be a full participant in the offseason program.

2. The first question asked to Bills coach Rex Ryan was what he thought about the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. "It was terrible. Next question," he answered, before smiling to indicate he was joking. Ryan called it an "outstanding game" and later added that the Patriots "earned the Super Bowl, period" when asked about underinflated footballs. Ryan also deflected a question on cornerback Darrelle Revis, saying he might have made a mistake answering it earlier in his coaching career. As for Ryan's thoughts on the Patriots: "These are the world champions, so you want to beat them, period. There's no doubt. So if you want to try to knock one team off, it would be the world champions. Everybody wants to get to that level. Obviously, we have a lot of ground to make up."

3. With the Broncos hosting the Patriots in 2015, another Peyton Manning-Tom Brady duel looks likely based on remarks made by first-year coach Gary Kubiak, who struck a positive vibe about Manning returning to Denver in 2015 as their quarterback. In addition, former Patriots receiver Wes Welker has had discussions with Kubiak, who said he'd love Welker to return to the club. Kubiak described Welker as "very positive."

4. As one would expect, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said there were no regrets -- "none whatsoever" -- from releasing running back LeGarrette Blount during the season. Colbert echoed what others have said in interviews: This year's running back class is strong, and that's a good thing for Pittsburgh, which would like to add depth at the position.

5. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said the team had consummated a renegotiated contract for receiver Larry Fitzgerald, whose status has had some wondering if he might land in New England. We can officially put that one to rest.