Patriots

Caserio: Patriots have only 50-75 players on their draft board

Caserio: Patriots have only 50-75 players on their draft board

FOXBORO -- There will be about 300 players drafted at the end of the month, but the Patriots only consider 50-75 players as draft-pick worthy for their program. 

That's what director of player personnel Nick Caserio said on Tuesday when he met with reporters for his annual pre-draft press conference. He acknowledged that the pool of players the Patriots are picking from is smaller than the norm.

"I would say it varies year to year, but I would say our draft board is smaller than most," he explained. "We are trying to find players that we feel comfortable with on all levels that we would actually draft. Not that are going to get drafted. Three-hundred players or whatever it is are going to get drafted. It's players that we would draft, that we would actually feel comfortable with in our program in some capacity."

That seemingly miniscule group doesn't include the number of players that the Patriots are anticipating don't get drafted but in whom they'll have interest.

"The Jonathan Joneses, the Brandon Boldens, the David Andrewses, who, could they have been drafted? Sure. Absolutely," Caserio said. "They didn't get drafted for whatever reason, but that's going to be another pool of players that come into our program, and some have had some more success than others.

"You have a couple of different groups. Here's the draft group. Here's the undrafted group. We spend a lot of time on the players that we maybe think are not going to get drafted. They could get drafted, but if they don't get drafted, we definitely want to work with that player because of X, Y and Z. We try to identify those. Andrews definitely fell into that category. Brandon Bolden was another player who fell into that cat. Jonathan Jones fell into that category. Drafted players, those are important. Undrafted players, they're equally important."

The Patriots currently have 15 undrafted players on their roster, including Ryan Allen, Danny Amendola, James Develin, Chris Hogan and Brandon King. That pool of players could factor significantly into the composition of this year's training camp roster as the team has 63 players under contract and seven draft picks. Though they may add or subtract picks when the draft arrives -- and though they could have a high-profile addition in Malcolm Butler -- that could still mean close to 20 undrafted players making up the 90-man roster. 

So while their draft board may be smaller than that of other teams, that doesn't mean they won't have their eyes on a couple dozen players they're projecting will not hear their names called on draft day.

PFF ranks Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon two of the best tackles in AFC East

PFF ranks Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon two of the best tackles in AFC East

New England's offensive line was a large part of the reason they won the Super Bowl; they managed to keep Brady upright despite facing talented pass-rushers in every playoff game, all while running roughshod over their opponents. 

Two cornerstones of their success came in the form of the two big tackles, Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon. While they weren't quite as dominant during the regular season, they still managed to rank as two of the best five tackles in the AFC East, with Cannon coming out as the best in the division according to PFF's rankings. 

Brown, an unrestricted free agent, was a key offseason addition for the Pats, who managed to acquire him from San Francisco for merely a fifth-round pick. Unfortunately, Brown's play may have priced him out of the Patriots' range, but they have his likely successor in the wings in the form of Isaiah Wynn. 

AREAS OF CHANGE

Cannon managed to stay on the field this year after finishing the previous season on the IR, playing in 13 games. He was excellent when he did play, and was a big part in shutting down the edge rushers of the Chargers and Chiefs in January. 

Brown may be gone by the time training camp rolls around, but Cannon is in the midst of a five-year deal, and will be the team's starting right tackle for the next few years, barring any injuries. If he can keep up his excellent play while remaining healthy enough for the playoffs, New England won't have to worry about the right side of the line for years to come. 

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Robert Kraft is at the NBA All-Star game with Mike Rubin

Robert Kraft is at the NBA All-Star game with Mike Rubin

As Celtics guard Kyrie Irving gets set to start for Team LeBron in the 2019 NBA, Robert Kraft appears to be in attendance with his friend Mike Rubin. 

Rubin is a co-owner of the 76ers, New Jersey Devils and an executive chairman for Fanatics, among other companies. He and Kraft have been friends for years, most notably when they both visited Meek Mill in prison and became outspoken on the United States' criminal justice system. 

Kraft and Patriots coach Bill Belichick are known for attending Celtics games from time-to-time so it's not new for the Patriots to have a presence whenever the Celtics are involved. 

The NBA All-Star game tips off at 8 p.m. EST in Charlotte. 

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