All focus will be in today’s kick off of the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Although, as always well-represented, the New England Patriots prefers to keep it low.
As of Wednesday evening, NFL.com communications did not have an update on date or time for Patriots personnel media availability. The Patriots are not the only club not scheduled for media availability. So far, the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints are also not scheduled for an open-to-all reporters media session.
Bill Belichick took the podium back in 2009. But from 2009 forward, he has sent Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio to talk to the media. The Patriots prefers to stay away from the main room, and instead, opt to address the New England media in a secluded part of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Patriots director of college scouting, Jon Robinson will also be at the event and he described on Patriots.com the significance of this year’s combine.
“It’s kind of the culmination of really a year’s worth of work,” he said of the combine. “It’s trying to focus in on some questions that you have from a character standpoint or a personality makeup standpoint [from a player] that you had interaction with him at the Senior Bowl, or maybe you interviewed him at the Senior Bowl and you want to spend a little more time with that player, or the East-West Shrine [game], whatever the all-star game may be.”
“But it gives you another chance to sit down and actually talk to the prospect and get to know him on a personal level,” he continued. “And then from an athletic standpoint and ability standpoint, you kind of measure that relative to what you see on tape, whether that’s at their respective college or at the all-star game.”
Robinson also explained the combine as a piece of the puzzle for the scouting department.
“There’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle, so we have our spring work that we did this time last year on this year’s prospects, you have your fall evaluations, you have your all-star game evaluations, and then you factor in those combine evaluations and those interviews,” he said. “To add on to that is going to be the pro days, the individual pro days. You’ll kind of measure their individual athletic ability at their pro day relative to what you saw at the combine.”
As to how this year’s Scouting Combine will indicate the Patriots 29th draft pick in Bill Belichick view, we can only speculate. NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock gives his perception on how Belichick could approach the draft in this week’s NFL Network Scouting Combine Conference call following a question on what he knows about the Patriots philosophy toward the draft and given there is some unpredictability at pick 29.
“So I think the way Bill Belichick’ operates is he’s always looking for value. So at 29, where’s my best value? You’d like to match-up with the need, obviously, and the needs would be wide receiver, d-backs, maybe another edge rusher. I think Bill goes in with an open mind, okay, who is going to fall to me at 29? And do I trade out if I don’t like what’s there? Which is always a possibility to trade down. Or can I get some value there?”
“And I think if you’re looking at corner, a guy like Xavier Rhodes, who is a corner or a safety. He’s a 215-pound corner from Florida State. He might now has mostly second-round grades as a corner or a safety, depending on what he runs. The wide receiver position we talked about earlier, who is going to be available at 29? The kid from Baylor, big, good looking, height, width, speed guy in Terrance Williams.”
“So I think when you start getting down to the late first round, it’s really hard projecting. It’s going to be value, hopefully a position of need. If not position of need, somebody slides through that’s a great football player, if not, we’ve to trade ask get out?”
We can only hope the missing pieces of the puzzle are found at the combine, and that the need and value be fulfilled on draft day, but also that the in-house mess (Welker’s, Talib’s, Vollmer’s deal and Dennard’s situation) get a clean result for the best-interest of the team.
Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook