According to a report from ArizonaSports.com/Arizona Sports Station 98.7, former Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham could be joining Bill Belichick's staff with the Patriots.
The report indicated that Graham was with New England at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indy and "rumor is he could join the staff as a consultant."
Graham is a graduate of East Central University. He's spent the entirety of his coaching career the college level as an assistant at both West Virginia and Tulsa and then head coach at Rice (2006), Tulsa (2007-10), Pittsburgh (2011) and ASU (2012-17).
He rose through the ranks in college on the defensive side of the ball.
"I love Coach Graham," Belichick said in Arizona. "Coach Graham does a great job. He's a good friend of mine.
"He's one of the best coaches in college football."
Graham then told azcentral.com that he and Belichick share an attorney and that he'd reached out to Belichick to pick the Patriots coach's brain.
"When he comes to town, we get together, share ideas," Graham told azcentral.com in 2015. "He sets the bar when it comes to coaching. One of my goals is to be the best, and to share ideas with someone that has done it is pretty special. I reached out to him wanting to learn, and he's been awesome in giving back to me. He's a special friend."
This Graham report comes after NESN.com reported that former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema attended the Combine last week with the Patriots. Bielema also has a background on defense.
New England lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to the Lions head coaching job this winter and have yet to name a replacement for the position. Many assume that linebackers coach Brian Flores is in line for the promotion, even if he doesn't necessarily get the title immediately.
It is interesting, though, that New England has apparently had some interaction of late with a couple out-of-work former college head coaches with a history on the defensive side of the ball. Former Rutgers and Buccaneers head coach, current Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano attended the Combine in 2014 with a Patriots credential in the past and there had been reports at one point this offseason that he might be joining Belichick's staff before he chose to remain with the Buckeyes.