The Patriots selected space-eating nose tackle Malcom Brown out of Texas. (Getty Images)
We’ve always tried to find clues as to the level of interest the Patriots have in a player throughout the pre-draft process. Whether it’s through private workouts at Gillette, time together at the combine or a conversation at a pro day, those events can provide some idea as to how interested New England can be in a prospect. (And sometimes, frankly, it’s all a meaningless smokescreen.) With that in mind, here’s a look at the pre-draft contact the Patriots had with some of their 2015 draft class. (By way of comparison, here’s a look at the pre-draft connections New England made with some of their top picks over the last few years.)
First-round pick Malcom Brown said his pre-draft connection with the Patriots was “the same” as it was with many other teams. “I didn’t really get a lot of contact with many teams,” he said. “That’s the hardest part about this whole process — you never can get a real feel for who likes you or who is thinking about drafting you. That’s the hardest part.”
Second-round selection Jordan Richards on his pre-draft contact with New England: “I mean, it’s a long process, so you’re trying to market yourself to all the teams, and you don’t really know how much of an impact or an impression you make on any of them in particular. But throughout the whole time I just tried to put my best foot forward and be who I am. And obviously, the Patriots saw some interest in that — and I’m juiced for the opportunity and can’t wait to go.”
Oklahoma defensive end Geneo Grissom, who was taken in the third round on Friday, connected with the Patriots on a number of levels. “I had a private workout with them and also went to Foxboro and saw the facilities and met Coach Belichick and the rest of the staff,” he said. “It was awesome. I had a great time. We talked some ball and I got to meet the coaches. I feel like — well, obviously — I made an impression. And I feel like we had a good vibe when I left.”
Florida State offensive lineman Tre Jackson, who was taken in the fourth round, worked with former offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia at his pro day, and took a visit to Gillette Stadium: “It was a great experience, just being able to see (Gillette Stadium) and things like that. Walking through the facilities and talking with the coaches was a great experience.”
Sixth-round pick A.J. Derby, a tight end out of Arkansas, visited Gillette Stadium — Bill Belichick joked that during their meeting, the coach reminisced about working with Derby’s father John when he was in camp with the Browns in the early 1990s.
Seventh-round selection Xzavier Dickson said he “had a workout and a visit” with the Patriots prior to the draft — the linebacker, who played for Belichick’s pal Nick Saban at Alabama, acknowledged he connected with New England coaches in Foxboro and at Alabama’s pro day.
Cornerback Darryl Roberts — a seventh-round pick out of Marshall — said Saturday he had a workout with the Patriots.