How Patriots’ Early Playoff Exit Has Affected Pre-Draft Scouting Process


January 21, 2020

The New England Patriots’ wild-card round loss to the Tennessee Titans was obviously not great for the present status of the team, but it might wind up paying dividends in the future.

We’ll explain.

The Senior Bowl is this week, and Patriots coaches are able to go down to Mobile, Ala., to scout 2020 NFL Draft prospects for the first time in at least four years. Since the Senior Bowl is played the week before the Super Bowl, Patriots coaches couldn’t go in 2015, 2017, 2018 or 2019. This year marked the first since 2011 New England didn’t play in the AFC Championship Game in the week prior to the Senior Bowl. Only Patriots scouts were able to attend the Senior Bowl in previous years.

Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and secondary coach Steve Belichick were spotted traveling to Mobile by The Athletic’s Nick Underhill. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who also assists the coaching staff, also should be available to scout the Senior Bowl, as well.

Quarterback prospects Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jordan Love (Utah State) and Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) are among the top players at the Senior Bowl this week. Tight ends Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) and Stephen Sullivan (LSU) also could interest the Patriots.

New England currently has the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, a third-rounder, two sixth-rounders and a seventh-round pick. They’re projected to receive two more third-round selections and two more sixth-round selections as part of the compensatory pick formula.

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