The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is wrapping up in Indianapolis, meaning the next big date on the NFL calendar is the start of the new league year – and free agency – on March 14.
Between now and then all teams, including the Patriots, will try to figure out a plan as they begin one key phase of the roster-building process.
With that in mind, the Boston Herald looks at five key questions facing the Patriots at this point in the offseason, none bigger than the future of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowksi. The Herald also lists six quarterbacks who might be the Patriots "type" in this year's draft class. The *Herald *notes that former Xaverian star and the Patriots defensive back of the same name, Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst, was sent home from the Combine due to a heart issue revealed in medical checkups in Indy. *Herald *columnist Steve Buckley says recent drama leads to pondering the future of the Patriots.
The Boston Globe says the Patriots could use "a few enticing personnel transactions in the next couple of weeks" to change the mood in New England after the Super Bowl LII loss and a strange start to the offseason. The* Globe* observes that the use of analytics in the NFL are on the rise, though not all are in love with the growing influence of the numbers. The Globe's Sunday football notes focus on the 49ers hoping Jimmy Garoppolo will help sell San Francisco to potential free agent additions.
The Providence Journal writes that the Patriots need to beef up their front seven on defense.
ESPNBoston.com declares that after trading Garoppolo the Patriots are indeed in search of a developmental quarterback. ESPNBoston.com's always interesting and varied Sunday notes talks to safety Duron Harmon, who is still trying to get over the Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles.
WEEI.com notes that Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, like almost all the passing prospects at the Combine, is a Tom Brady fan right down to his use of the TB12 Method. WEEI.com's Sunday notes lead off with the NFLPA using Brady as an example of how prospects at the Combine should handle themselves at the next level, including off the field. WEEI.com writes about Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans comparing himself to Dont'a Hightower.
NFL.com offers up a four-round mock draft, with the Patriots landing Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson in the first round.
NESN.com has a Stanford safety prospect detailing his meeting with the Bill Belichick and the Patriots at the Combine.
CBSSports.com says that the Jets and Colts are possible destinations for Dion Lewis as the running back prepares to hit free agency.
SI.com's MMQB says that Gronkowski hasn't made a decision about his playing future at this point in the offseason and the tight end is "in no hurry to make one."