By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - It's all over but the stacking and the grading now. Mostly. Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio met with media on Thursday in the team's annual predraft chat-em-up. The aim was for an informative session to explain how the scouting process, grading process and draft day all fit together. The aim was also, no doubt, to satiate the media and public's appetite for football-related information but not give away too much, you know, information. Both aims were met. Even though he was devoid of any usable breaking news nuggets, Caserio did explain where the Pats are right now on the road to the April 28 draft. All pro days and private workouts are pretty much done, he explained. The 30 team visits each club can schedule must be completed by next Wednesday. After that, any team that needs last-second questions answered about a player must go to that players' hometown to work him out. A few other nuggets: Caserio explained that - at this point - similarities are being drawn between players who are in the league so projections can be made. For instance, if the Patriots believed 2011 prospect Cam Jordan was similar to Willie McGinest, they would find film of McGinest while he was at USC and match that to the way Jordan looked at Cal. It's an exercise that takes "a lot of time" said Caserio. (By the way, Cam Jordan doesn't remind me of Willie McGinest . . . just a for-instance). When a player is flagged for an issue, whether it be physical orcharacter-related, the Patriots don't enter that into evaluation until all football evaluation is made. Find out how good the football player is, then - when deciding where he fits - enter the "alerts" into the equation. Don't downgrade the player for the person in the evaluation process. Caserio said the foundation is being laid right now for trades. Who wants to move? Who wants to come up? Who wants to go down? Those are the conversations. The hard discussion, though, begins five to seven picks before the team is onthe clock. There are two goals in scouting. 1. Get it right. 2. The sooner you arrive at a final conclusion, the better. Private workouts are absolutely essential if a prospect is going to be asked to do something in the NFL that he hasn't done in college. Julian Edelman was an example Caserio used - a college quarterback who was being asked to switch. New England worked him out at running back, punt returner and wide receiver before settling in. Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.
By Tom E. Curran