Patriots Gauging Trade Interest, Organizing Scouting Reports, Assessing Opponents’ Needs in Final Week Before Draft

Patriots Gauging Trade Interest, Organizing Scouting Reports, Assessing Opponents' Needs in Final Week Before DraftFOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots are winding down their pre-draft preparation work, and they’re entering the final phase of the process before next week’s big event.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said Thursday the team has completed its 30 allotted pre-draft visits at Gillette Stadium, but they could still travel to meet with prospects during the next week. The first round of the draft is next Thursday, while the second and third rounds are Friday and the last four rounds are Saturday.

“We’re winding down here, only a week away,” Caserio said. “The majority of the work at this point is done. I think it’s a matter of kind of cleaning up a few loose ends.”

From here, the Patriots will organize their material by accumulating all of their information in a more concise way. They’ll also wrap up some medical evaluations with the prospects and sort their draft board, both universally and specific to each position.

And, like every year, the final week before the draft is used to call each team around the league to gauge their interest in trading certain picks, along with the price of each trade. (For this, in the coming days, you’ll hear about Team X fielding calls for its first-round pick. That’s more about due diligence that happened to get leaked than legitimate news.) Since teams only have 10 minutes to make their pick in the first round, the background work is necessary to pull off a trade if teams think they can maneuver up or down the board to select a certain prospect.

Next week, Jason Licht and the Patriots’ pro personnel staff will assemble a book with the needs of every NFL team — based on free agency, retirement and the like — so they can do their best to predict how other teams will draft.

This will help during the actual draft when the Patriots are deciding about trading up or down. For instance, in 2010, they were comfortable trading down twice in the first round — from No. 22 to 24 to 27 — to accumulate stock in later rounds before landing the player they wanted: cornerback Devin McCourty.

At this point, the Patriots have completed the vast majority of their prep work for the draft, but it won’t stop them from working tirelessly until they’re off the clock for the final time.

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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