It’s Day 4 of the scouting combine and the New England Patriots is sustaining a low profile. The Patriots were one of the four teams not scheduled to be represented in Indianapolis. That’s part of the Patriots approach in the combine as less exposure means more focus – an indication that everyone is, or at least, should be doing his/her job. But to give the fans a little bit of peace of mind, director of player personnel Nick Caserio met with Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots.com in Day 1 of the scouting combine inside the team hotel suite.
The part of the interview process is only a part of the puzzle in the component of scouting as they try to have an overall of the prospect players’ personality, character, and preparedness.
“You have 15 minutes but it’s really not as much time as you think,” he explained. “Each player there’s something specific you’re trying to gain a little insight on. The underclassmen this is your first exposure to them. You haven’t had a chance to speak with them at an all-star game or talk to them much at all. It’s really your first introduction before you get into some of the deeper stuff, which will continue throughout the next few months leading to the draft”.
In having an idea of how much of these interviews are figuring out what the answers to questions are or just how they handle the interaction overall, Caserio explained:
“It’s a combination of everything. How they handle the question, how they handle the situation. Are they truthful? You might have some information based on your sources. Some handle it better than others but it encompasses everything. Some come in with a notebook, they’re prepared. It’s different because it’s more of a personal interaction. You can see them around coaches and other people and how they handle it. In the end you have to make your best guesstimate as to how they’re going to handle our environment and our situation.”
In sharing his thoughts with Patriots Football Weekly, Caserio is optimistic with the overall depth of the draft and defense players.
“Defensively, on the whole, it looks like a good group. There’s a good group of safeties, there’s a good group of corners, there’s a good group of linebackers, there’s a good group of defensive linemen – players that are going to play with their hand on the ground. There’s good depth across the draft. As usual the underclassmen are a big part of it with 73 of them declaring. That’s almost 25 percent of the 288 or so that are going to get picked, now not all of them will get drafted.
“There are a lot of good football players and we just have to dig through it and figure out what makes the most sense for your team moving forward.”
In terms of this year’s combine and relation to this year’s draft (just five at its disposal), Caserio said the lack of picks has no relevance on the combine activities.
“It’s really more from a numbers standpoint,” he said. “You still do the same thing in terms of you go through and evaluate the players as you normally would. Right now we have five picks. Could that change? Possibly. But that’s where we are right now. We take the draft as it comes and things fall into place. You continue to move forward and build the team accordingly.”
Per Patriots.com, it was mentioned that wide receiver Quinton Patton was scheduled to meet with the Patriots Saturday night. If the meeting happened or not, it’s still unclear.
When asked about his impressions of Coach Bill Belichick, Patton said:
“I ain’t got to be around coach Belichick to know that you got to shut up and just get it done,” he said. “You got to be detail oriented. Just shut up and get it done with him.”
When asked who he compares himself to in terms of skill set: “I don’t compare myself to anybody. I’m Quinton Patton”, he said.
While we learned that wide receiver Tavon Austin got plenty of films of Wes Welker on his iPad, Marshall Faulk compares Tavon Austin as a hybrid-player – “he’s Percy Harvin and Wes Welker wrapped into one.”
Whether these two wide receivers be will around by the 29th pick, I highly doubt because they are no longer under the radar. Bill Belichick would have to surprise us how he could make that possible if Wes Welker is gone by the time the draft comes.
Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook