On-field fit is only part of the equation when the New England Patriots are scouting potential additions.
How a player will acclimate to the Patriots’ culture is also essential. That’s why Patriots head coach Bill Belichick allows coaches and executives who have worked closely with a player to heavily influence New England’s pro and college scouting.
Saturday’s divisional-round playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers features players familiar to two men Belichick could seek recommendations from this offseason in former Patriots quarterbacks coach, and now Arizona head coach, Jedd Fisch and current scouting consultant Eliot Wolf.
Fisch was on the Rams’ staff in 2018 and 2019. Wolf was an executive with the Packers from 2004 to 2017 before leaving for the Cleveland Browns from 2018 to 2019.
Here are some potential free agents at positions of need who could interest the Patriots this offseason from the Rams, Packers, and Browns, who play Sunday:
WR Josh Reynolds, Rams
WR Rashard Higgins, Browns
TE Robert Tonyan, Packers (restricted free agent)
TE Gerald Everett, Rams
C Austin Blythe, Rams
C Corey Linsley, Packers
DT Larry Ogunjobi
CB Kevin King, Packers
CB Terrence Mitchell, Browns
The Patriots have obvious needs at wide receiver, tight end and defensive tackle. They could need a center if David Andrews leaves in free agency. The Patriots also could find themselves shallow at cornerback if Stephon Gilmore or JC Jackson are not retained.
Reynolds, Tonyan and Everett are perhaps the most intriguing names on that list. The Patriots would need to part with a draft pick to acquire Tonyan since he’s a restricted free agent.
The Patriots added former Denver Broncos and Rams players after offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels returned after stints with both teams. They also acquired a slew of former Browns after Belichick’s close confidant Mike Lombardi was fired as Cleveland’s general manager.
Don’t be surprised if the Patriots use the Rams, Browns or Packers as their latest farm systems.