FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick always tells his players that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
It's a message and a mindset that Donte' Stallworth has carried with him since his first stint with the Patriots. Following Sunday's practice, he described that coaching strategy, and how important it is to him and his preparation for every NFL season.
"Bill makes sure that no one sees any light at the end of the tunnel," said Stallworth. "That's one thing that he's always preached to us, as long as I can remember. Don't worry about tomorrow. Worry about the next thing, which is always either the next meeting, or the next practice. And that's what guys are focused on right now.
"That was something that I carried with me, through the rest of my career. Just having that attitude, I think it really helps, because during camp, it's easy to get sidetracked, as far as looking ahead to the preseason game or things like that, when we still are putting in things that we need to be ready for, by the time the Saints get here and by the time we actually play them in the game."
With the No. 78 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected offensive tackle Joe Thuney.
Cyrus Jones had the look of a Patriots cornerback long before he was picked with the No. 60 overall selection in the second round of this year's draft.
An SEC standout? Yup. A product of Nick Saban's Alabama defense? Even better. Special teams experience? He might be the best punt returner in this year's draft class with four returns for touchdowns in 2015.
Jones is a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, but he ticks off every other box that the Patriots could want in one of their defensive backs. He's a competitive player who has a physical edge at the line of scrimmage and isn't afraid to fire up field to chip in against the run. He can play press-man or zone, and his solid build (196 pounds) helps him knock receivers off of their routes.
Many believe that because of his physical style and his size that Jones will be limited to a role as a slot corner. But with good ball skills (he was a five-star recruit as a receiver coming out of high school) and solid top-end speed (he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at Alabama's pro day), he may be able to compete for a role on the outside.
Jones was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. The Patriots met with Jones multiple times during the pre-draft process, and must have felt comfortable enough with him as a person to take him with their first pick of the weekend.
The Patriots could use some depth at corner with Malcolm Butler (restricted free agent after 2016) and Logan Ryan (unrestricted free agent after 2016) not guaranteed to return after this season. Jones is a physical, competitive corner who has competed against upper-echelon opponents and isn't afraid to contribute in run support. He's also an accomplished return man, who has brought back four punts for touchdowns. He was arrested last year after a dispute with an ex-girlfriend but charges were dropped days later. If Jones looks like a good fit character-wise -- Belichick will surely get what he deems a trustworthy report from Alabama coach Nick Saban -- the Patriots could make him their choice. An offensive tackle could be the choice here, but there are long, intelligent players who could be had in the third round. Based on this mock, at least.
The Patriots sent their 61st overall pick to the Saints on Friday night in exchange for the 78th and 112th overall picks.
That addresses a large gap the Patriots would have had after they selected at 96. Previously, the Patriots were going to wait 100 selections - until late in the fifth - before they were on the clock again.
Now they are in position to get a body in that stretch. Their picks are now 78, 91, 96, 112, 196, 204, 208, 214, 221, 243 and 250.
Barring more trades, the Patriots will end their night with four new players.