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3 Friday morning thoughts from combine

02.21.14 at 10:50 am ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Three Friday morning thoughts from the combine:

1. I’m a big believer in the idea that no matter who your quarterback is, you always need to grab a signal-caller every spring — as a late-round pickup or as an undrafted free agent — every year. The Patriots are obviously in a different situation than most, but even if he ends up being nothing more than an extra arm in camp to cut down on Tom Brady‘s pitch count, it’s always important to get someone every year. The Patriots have always managed to bring in one extra quarterback every spring with the understanding that even if you’€™re not grooming the next Brady, you always have a chance to upgrade your backup position. With that in mind — and the fact that backup Ryan Mallett is entering the last year of his contract — there are a few intriguing late-round possibilities for the Patriots to consider this year. For a good list of late-round possibilities, check this link.

2. The elite-level quarterbacks aren’t on New England’s radar, but they measured in as a group Friday morning in advance of their session with the media Friday afternoon (and their workouts on Sunday). Johnny Manziel drew some attention for the fact that he’s under six feet (5-foot-11 3/4, to be specific), but he has some relatively big hands for a quarterback at 9 7/8-inches. Louisville‘s Teddy Bridgewater is 6-foot-2 1/8, 214 pounds with hands at 9 1/4-inches. Central Florida’€™s Blake Bortles is 6-foot-5, 232 pounds with 9 3/8-inch hands. In addition, Alabama’€™s A.J. McCarron is 6-foot-3 1/4 and 220 pounds.

3. You always have to be aware of the Patriots-Rutgers connections, and so that will cause us to keep a close eye on Rutgers wide receiver Brandon Coleman, the only Scarlet Knight invited to the combine this year — he’s supposed to speak with the media on Friday, and will work out with the receivers on Sunday. The 6-foot-6 Coleman finished his collegiate career with 20 touchdowns, tied for first in Rutgers’€™ history. In 39 career games (27 starts) at wide receiver, he had 94 receptions for 1,808 yards and averaged 19.2 yards per reception in his career. At this point, Coleman is projected as a mid-round prospect.

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