The New England Patriots' eyes will be on Justin Fields on Wednesday. But perhaps not all of their eyes.
The Ohio State quarterback is working out at the Buckeyes' second pro day in Columbus, and the Patriots reportedly are among several teams expected to have representatives in attendance.
According to the MMQB's Albert Breer, New England is sending three staffers to Wednesday's event: offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler and national scout Matt Groh.
You'll notice head coach Bill Belichick isn't on that list. Belichick also didn't attend Fields' first pro day -- the Patriots sent front office executive Eliot Wolf to that session while Belichick attended Alabama's pro day to watch Mac Jones and other Crimson Tide stars -- meaning he has yet to see the Ohio State QB work out in person this offseason.
New England is rumored to have interest in Fields, who is projected as a potential top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and may require the Patriots to trade up from No. 15 to land him. To that point, the San Francisco 49ers (who own the No. 3 pick) reportedly are sending head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to watch Fields on Wednesday, while the Atlanta Falcons (who own the No. 4 pick) are expected to have a presence, as well.
That the Patriots are sending three staffers -- including McDaniels -- to Columbus suggests Fields is very much on their radar, and Belichick's absence shouldn't necessarily be scrutinized. Breer recently reported that Belichick is taking a more "collaborative" approach to this year's Draft, so perhaps he's entrusting his staff to do the leg work on Fields rather than taking matters into his own hands.
The NFL Draft kicks off two weeks from Thursday, so this is the home stretch of preparation ahead of what could be a franchise-altering weekend for many teams -- including New England.