Patriots Daily Staff

You may remember that last year at this time, we began collecting all the Patriots’ draft rumors we were finding at some of our favorite on-line haunts. We called it a rumor inventory, or a list of players that had been contacted in some way by the Pats during the post-season all-star games, the Combine, pro days, individual workouts or team visits.

The idea was that taken in the collective, the rumors may give a sense of what side of the ball, or even what position, the Pats may be focusing on for the draft. Of course, there’s also the chance that the rumor becomes our first introduction to a Pats pick.

We’ve got another one started again this year, which we’ve posted below.

(Note – If you want to view the entire spreadsheet on your screen without scrolling, click here.)

Let’s quickly run through a key to get you oriented.

POS = Position
UC = Underclassman
SCHOOL = College or University
CONF = Athletic Conference
SOURCE = Source of rumor
DATE = Date of rumor
CONTACT = Where Pats contact was reportedly made
HT,WT,40 = Player measureables (source: NFL Draft
SI = Scouts, Inc. projected draft round
DS = NFL Draft Scout projected draft round
AVG = Average. Players are sorted by average draft round, lowest to highest.

About the Projected Round numbers – Let’s use Kansas junior cornerback Aqib Talib (#3 on our list) as an example. Scouts, Inc. believes Talib is a sure first round player, hence the 1.0 rating. NFL Draft Scout, however, thinks there’s also a chance Talib could slip into the second round, so their rating becomes a 1.5, and the average naturally finds the mid-point between those two numbers, for the purposes of sorting our list. Those numbers will no doubt change as pro days and individual workouts occur, and we’ll update them each time we post another version of the inventory.

Some early looks at the list:

The Pats have contacted more defensive players (about six of every ten) than offensive players to date;

More than a quarter of the players contacted to date have been cornerbacks;

Nearly a quarter of the players contacted have been wide receivers;

Those two positions dominate the top of our first inventory; cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Tennessee State, Talib of Kansas and Arizona’s Antoine Cason join receivers Limas Sweed of Texas and James Hardy of Indiana as possible first round players the Pats have contacted;

As they have historically, the Patriots have largely focused on players from the SEC (23%), Big 12 (20%) and Big 10 (20%). From 2000-2007, almoost half of all Pats picks have been from those three conferences (17% from the SEC, 15% from the Big 12, and 13% from the Big 10).

A great big caveat – there’s a good chance that 97.9% of this material is useless. Last year, our rumor inventory grew to 95 players by draft day, but in the end only draftees Brandon Meriweather and Kareem Brown appeared on our final list. So consider this as you march ahead. Still, thanks to the good folks at Scouts, Inc., NFL Draft Scout, and, Patriots Football Weekly, and of course Mike Reiss, Chris Gaspar and John Tomase at the Globe and Herald for all the good info, which keeps the football flame burning for many. Naturally, we encourage you to patronize all of their fine establishments often.

That’s it for now. We’ll be back periodically over the next six weeks with updated inventories.