Bill Belichick made a trip to South Florida on Monday to scope out Miami’s crop of 2021 NFL Draft prospects.
The New England Patriots head coach is among the NFL shot-callers expected to attend the Hurricanes’ pre-draft pro day, as noted by Andrew Groover of NFL Media.
This is Belichick’s first known appearance at a 2021 pro day.
Belichick will get an up-close look at two of the draft’s top edge rushers, as Miami teammates Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips both are projected as first-round picks.
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Rousseau was incredibly productive as a redshirt freshman in 2019 (15 1/2 sacks, 19 1/2 tackles for loss) but opted out of the 2020 season, meaning he has just one year of collegiate experience.
Phillips (6-5, 266) tallied eight sacks, 15 1/2 TFLs and one interception last season after transferring from UCLA. He’s been praised for his length, athleticism and motor but comes with concerns about play strength and durability after missing time with ankle, wrist and head injuries in college.
A third Miami edge rusher, Quincy Roche, is viewed as a mid-round prospect. Roche, who is considerably smaller than Rousseau and Phillips (6-3, 243), had 4 1/2 sacks and 14 1/2 TFLs for the Hurricanes in 2020 after piling up 13 sacks and 19 TFLs at Temple in 2019. He also performed well at the Senior Bowl.
The Patriots addressed their immediate need for edge help by signing Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy in free agency. They’ve invested heavily in that spot in recent drafts, too, taking Chase Winovich in the third round and Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively, last year.
Other Miami pro day participants include tight end Brevin Jordan, kicker Jose Borregales and defensive tackle Chigozie Nnoruka.
New England currently owns one pick in each of the first three rounds of next month’s draft (Nos. 15, 46 and 96), plus three fourth-rounders, one fifth-rounder, two sixth-rounders and one seventh-rounder.
This could be a busy few days for Belichick, as Alabama — the premier pipeline for Patriots prospects — is set to hold the second of its two pro days Tuesday. Other pro days scheduled for Tuesday include Ohio State, Texas A&M, Louisville, North Carolina State and Washington.