FOXBORO — In the end, Bill Belichick saw a kindred spirit in Ryan Mallett.

FOXBORO — Shortly after the Patriots selected controversial quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round of the NFL draft Friday night, New England coach Bill Belichick talked about the acquisition of the former Arkansas quarterback, a player many believed was a first-round talent who slipped down the draft board because of character questions.

The Patriots have chosen quarterback Ryan Mallett with the No. 74 overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday night. Mallett was one of the most polarizing signal-callers available in this year’s draft — he has one of the strongest arms out there, having thrown for almost 4,000 yards this past season with Arkansas. However, Mallett is hounded by character questions, including drug rumors that  reportedly caused his draft stock to fall. The 6-foot-7, 253-pound Mallett had 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns thispast year with the Razorbacks.

With the 73rd overall pick in Friday’s NFL draft, the Patriots selected LSU running back Stevan Ridley out of LSU. The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder is the second running back taken by New England — the Patriots selected Cal’s Shane Vereen at No. 56. Ridley had big numbers as a senior with the Tigers where he compiled 1,147 yards on 249 carries with 15 touchdowns in his only full season as the starting running back.

After taking Cal running back Shane Vereen with the No. 56 overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday, the Patriots have dealt the No. 60 overall pick to Houston for a third-rounder (No. 73 overall) and a fifth-rounder (No. 138). New England has no more second round picks, but does have three third-round selections — Nos. 73, No. 74 and No. 92. For more Patriots news, check out

The Patriots took Cal running back Shane Vereen with the 56th pick in the NFL draft on Friday night.

Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling was taken with the first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall) by the Patriots in Friday night's NFL draft. Dowling is a 6-foot-2, 198-pound corner out of Virginia who struggled with injury as a senior, but was a two-time second-team All-ACC selection. Dowling has his best year as a junior, when he recorded three interceptions, eight pass breakups and 58 tackles. In all, he registered eight interceptions in his collegiate career.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made an appearance at a promotional event for Under Armour in New York City Friday morning and talked about his role as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NFL.

"I'm always trying to figure out what the right thing is," he said. "Look, I've been very fortunate as a player to sign the contracts that I've signed and to be in the position I've been in as a leader and to lead."

Adam Schefter of ESPN joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the NFL draft. The Patriots took Colorado offensive lineman Nate Solder at No. 17 and then traded the No. 28 pick to New Orleans for a second-rounder this weekend and a first-rounder next year.

The Patriots have the first pick of Friday's second round. Schefter said people he spoke with after Thursday night's opening round predicted the Pats would trade the No. 33 overall pick, but he's not so sure.

FOXBORO — Ask Bob Marken what he likes the most about Nate Solder, and it’s not his athletic prowess.