Every year each team in the National Football League scouts college prospects across the nation. The Patriots, like the other 31 NFL teams, does their due diligence in acquiring as much information on these players as possible. Whether this information comes from pro days, team visits, private workouts, interviews, the combine, or even a player’s agent; this knowledge allows the franchise to upgrade their roster for the upcoming season.

Our friends at NEPatriotsDraft have complied a list of the Patriots pre-draft contacts that can be found here. Below are a few thoughts on the team’s potential targets thus far.

- The Pats have been busy traveling across the country visiting schools and scouting players that can improve their roster for the 2012 season. While very few top-tier schools are mentioned, it does not mean that the team is not doing their homework on a particular player.


Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will look to improve his roster for the 2012 season through this year’s draft class. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- The defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs hold a good majority of pre-draft contacts. After selecting only one player in the first five rounds of the 2011 draft, I would be in favor of a defense heavy draft for New England. After all, even though the team needs to address some offensive needs as well, the defensive holes on the roster are more pressing at the moment.

- The running back list is surprisingly high in my opinion. After Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley were both selected in the second and third round respectively last season, could the team look to add another young tailback to the team’s committee? Boise State’s Doug Martin is a guy I have my eye on and could present a tough decision for Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office next week.

- The offensive line contacts are very low, which comes at a bit of a surprise to me. After Matt Light reportedly retired earlier this week – although we are waiting for an official announcement – along with Brian Waters contemplating hanging up the cleats, the trenches could use an influx of youth. While I do not think the line needs to be addressed in the early rounds, I am always in favor of giving positional coach Dante Scarnecchia more talent to develop in the Patriots system.

- Returner is a need that I believe has gone under the radar for the team this off-season. The patriots struggled in both kick and punt returns in 2011 and I would love for them to add some talent in the area. Arkansas Joe Adams and Florida’s Chris Rainey are two prospects I have had my eye on throughout the pre-draft process. Both could be options in the mid-rounds if the team decides to upgrade the special teams unit, but Joe Adams seems to be the most dynamic return man in this year’s class.

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