Patriots

NFL Notebook: Patriots’ pre-draft priorities starting to come into focus

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(John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In this week’s edition of the NFL Notebook, we look at some New England-based players who could hear their name called on draft weekend, visit with a former Patriots’ cornerback who has made quite a name for himself in his post-playing career, and speculate on the release date for the 2019 regular-season slate. But first, we have three things you have to know when it comes to New England's team-building process at this time of year.

1. Three things to keep in mind about the Patriots at this time of year:

a) This point on the calendar is often used to dot the i’s and cross the t’s when it comes to the whole story on a prospect. You want to make sure that everything is taken care of — no stones left unturned, no questions unanswered. It’s also a chance to maybe surprise some prospects. To that point, my favorite pre-draft evaluation story might have been Nate Solder, who was put through a workout in Colorado by offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia the week of the draft. Solder later said that was the first time he knew the Patriots were interested in him. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear if some of the New England braintrust was doing the same sort of last-minute check-ins across the country over the next week-plus.

b) These pre-draft visits to Foxborough can mean many things. There is some legit