Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

Belichick, Patricia observe huge draft-eligible crowd at Michigan pro day

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Belichick, Patricia observe huge draft-eligible crowd at Michigan pro day

There are so many players coming out of Michigan this year who could be drafted that it made sense for the Patriots to send two of their top football minds to take in the proceedings.

Both Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia were in Ann Arbor to watch coach Jim Harbaugh's massive crowd of draft-eligible prospects, acording to NFL Network. Between draftees and undrafted rookies there could be as many as 24 Wolverines on training camp rosters this summer, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, and the school has a chance to best Ohio State's whopping 12 players drafted last year. 

It's already been a busy week for the Patriots when it comes to the pro-day circuit. Belichick was at Ohio State on Thursday, while Patricia was at Notre Dame. The team also had representatives at Stanford, Utah and Missouri. 

Here's a quick look at some of the top players Belichick and Patricia were watching Friday...

Jabrill Peppers, LB/S:  A Swiss Army knife type who at the next level could play as a linebacker/safety hybrid, compete in the slot and return kicks, Peppers is one of the more dynamic athletes in the draft. At 5-foot-11, 213 pounds he may fit best with the Patriots as a box safety.

Taco Charlton, DE: Strength, length and athleticism . . . Charlton -- who has drawn comparisons to Chandler Jones -- has all the tools necessary to become a game-changing edge defender at the next level. If there's a team out there who thinks they can get his best effort on a snap-to-snap basis, he'll easily be worthy of a first-round pick. 

Jake Butt, TE: Projected as one of the top tight ends in the draft class until he tore his ACL in late December, Butt still has a chance to be selected on Day 2. He told NFL Network's Mike Mayock that he believes he'll be ready to play by mid-July. Should the Patriots want some depth behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, Butt may represent good value if he's still available in the third round. 

Chris Wormley, DE: A three-year starter who has an NFL-ready build (6-5, 298 pounds, 34-inch arms, 10.5-inch hands), he looks like a strong edge-setter who could rush from the interior in sub situations. 

Jourdan Lewis, CB: Quick, competitive and another three-year starter, Lewis is just one of many talented corners available in this draft. Teams at Michigan's pro day will undoubtedly want to meet with Lewis in order to ask him about an incident that led to a misdemeanor domestic assault charge. He has a pretrial hearing scheduled on April 12. 

Ryan Glasgow, DT: For teams interested in tough, physical, early-down defensive tackles to hold up against the run, Glasgow could be worth a mid-round selecton. He measured in at 6-3, 302 pounds with 33-inch arms at the combine. 

Ben Gedeon, LB: Gedeon may not hear his name called until Day 3, but he has the feel of a prototypical Patriots draft pick. He had very good production in a good conference (106 tackles, 15.5 for a loss), and though he may not be the kind of athlete Belichick wants playing three downs in the middle of the field, he looks like someone who could contribute immediately on -- you guessed it -- kick-coverage teams. 

Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

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Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

Bill Belichick has counted both Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano among the list of coaches he trusts. On Thursday, the Patriots coach was in attendance at Ohio State's pro day to watch players who've been coached by both. 

Belichick has been closely tied to both Meyer and Schiano over the years, drafting multiple players from their programs when Meyer was at the University of Florida and Schiano was at Rutgers University. The Schiano connection has been particularly strong in recent years as Belichick's son, Steve, played for Schiano, and the Patriots had three key players in their secondary -- Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan -- for the last four seasons who studied under Schiano. 

Now the head coach and associate head coach/defensive coordinator, respectively, Meyer and Schiano have tutored some of this year's top draft prospects. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the top-tier talent hailing from Columbus this year . . . 

Malik Hooker, safety: The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder is expected to be the first true free safety off the board. His impressive ball skills made him a turnover waiting to happen in the Big Ten. 

Marshon Lattimore, corner: With a 38.5-inch vertical and a 4.36-second 40-yard dash time, Lattimore is one of the best draft-eligible athletes this year. He was hampered by hamstring injuries in college, but he's still projected to be one of the first defensive backs taken. 

Gareon Conley, corner: Among the draft's fastest risers after putting together a strong combine (4.44 40-yard dash, 6.68-second three-cone), Conley will give his next team good size (6-feet, 195 pounds) and length (33-inch arms). He may not be as polished as Lattimore, but still could very well be a first-round pick.

Pat Elflein, center: This smart, hard-working pivot may not have the world's best footwork, but he should be among the first players taken at his position. Elflein (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) is a former wrestler who has experience at both center and guard. 

Curtis Samuel, receiver: A true all-purpose threat in college (AP All-American, first-team All-Big Ten), he could have trouble adapting to life as a full-time receiver in the NFL. At 5-11, 196 pounds that's probably where he'll end up.

Raekwon McMillan, linebacker: At 6-2, 240 pounds McMillan was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some concern as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level. The Patriots, as we've noted, have been looking at the linebacker position throughout the pre-draft process.