5 things to watch from Patriots perspective at NFL combine

Ryan Hannable
February 27, 2019 - 7:53 am

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL combine is officially off and running.

The entire league has gathered for a variety of things, most importantly getting to know the future players of the league who will be drafted in April. These players are tested on a number of things, both on and off the field, and also have the opportunity to meet with a number of interested teams. Teams use this week to narrow their focus on who they want to look more at over the spring at pro days, official visits, etc.

In addition, all head coaches, general managers and agents are in town, which means a number of conversations will be had with free agency getting underway in less than a month. A lot of what happens during that period comes back to conversations had during the week of the combine.

As always, the Patriots will be very busy -- not only from a buzz perspective, but also because they have 12 picks, the most in the league.

Here are five things to look for from a Patriots perspective this week.

1. Which rookies are they meeting with?

Over the course of the next several days, there will be a ton of player X had an interview with team Y. A lot of this doesn’t mean much considering players meet with well over a dozen, maybe more, teams over the course the week. But, it is worth keeping an eye on. Last year, Georgia running back Sony Michel said he had a formal interview with the Patriots, and look what happened, the Patriots selected him in the first round. It’s also worth keeping an eye on positions — maybe the Patriots aren’t connected much to a certain position, which could be a tell they are unlikely to draft a player at that spot.

2. Updates on own free agents

The Patriots have a few big-name free agents of their own, and with all the agents in town, this could be a chance for the two sides to meet. Offensive tackle Trent Brown and defensive end Trey Flowers are the biggest names to keep an eye on. Also, it is worth monitoring their respective positions to see what the market might be for the top players. This could be a good tell if the Patriots will be able to afford these players or not. It’s unlikely any deal happens this week, but clues to what players’ markets might be will likely be had.

3. New coaches/personnel people

With the Patriots losing so many coaches this offseason, it still remains unclear who will make up the full staff in 2019. This week could offer clues as to who, especially any new faces that may be seen wearing Patriots gear in and around Lucas Oil Stadium. It should be noted the combine last year was when it was first known Bret Bielema would likely be joining the staff. He was seen multiple times with members of the Patriots organization wearing team gear, and then obviously stayed with the team throughout the season as a coaching consultant.

4. Antonio Brown/Odell Beckham Jr. updates

The Patriots will be interested in acquiring multiple wide receivers this offseason, so even if they cannot get Brown or Beckham, they still want to have an idea of what their statues are since they could impact the free agent market. When it comes to these two players, it is about the Patriots doing their due diligence. Maybe the Giants change their minds and would be willing to trade Beckham. Maybe the Steelers would actually trade Brown to the Patriots if the deal was right. With 12 draft picks and six in the top 101, the Patriots certainly have a lot of pieces to make a deal if the opportunity were to present itself.

5. Any Robert Kraft chatter

With all of the NFL in the same place, there likely will be some reaction to Kraft being charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida. It likely won’t be at formal availability with coaches and general managers Wednesday and Thursday, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few members of the league share their views privately to be surfaced in a story or two. Kraft himself will not be present, nor is anyone from the Patriots expected to speak at a formal press conference, as this has been the norm for many years.

Related: Patriots mock draft roundup, 2.0: Who experts have New England selecting heading into NFL combine

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