FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots are well on their way to setting themselves up with three first-round picks in the 2012 draft, and those conversations have already begun.
Head coach Bill Belichick turned Thursday's 28th pick into a first-rounder, and it's a pretty good bet he'll do the same thing with the first pick of Friday's action. In fact, Belichick said he's already fielded some calls for the 33rd selection.
"We've already heard from a couple teams that have expressed some interest in it," Belichick said. "A couple teams have called about that that are kind of in the middle of the round that will be kind of like New Orleans that saw a player that they liked."
The Patriots have one major chip working for them. After an early first-round run on quarterbacks, things quieted a bit on that front. Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett are all on the board, and teams like the Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Redskins, 49ers and Raiders might try to get aggressive to land the player they covet. Because of that, Belichick can essentially hold an 18-hour auction for that pick.
If New England stands pat, it might be interested in Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Arizona outside linebacker Brooks Reed or a number of other players who are there for the taking.
"There are good players on the board at a lot of positions," Belichick said. "We'll take [Friday] to reassess how exactly everything stacks up, restack the board just like we did going into [the first round]."