- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In this week’s ESPNBoston.com Patriots chat, “AM from NH” asked if a running tally could be kept of all the prospects that come to visit the Patriots before the draft. All NFL teams get up to 30 out-of-town prospects visits.
With this in mind, here is a short list of players seen at Gillette Stadium over the last week, as this was a big week for visits:
LB Kiko Alonso (Oregon)
OT Chris Faulk (LSU)
RB Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina)
CB Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)
WR Kenny Stills (Oklahoma)
G Dallas Thomas (Tennessee)
WR Robert Woods (Southern Cal)
WR Markus Wheaton (Oregon State)
QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: Pre-draft visits are important to keep in the proper context. A visit doesn’t necessarily indicate that the team has a favorable grade on a player, or plans to draft him. In fact, sometimes the visit can lead the team in the other direction. The visits could be tied to medical questions, and updating information along those lines, as a few of the prospects above didn’t fully participate in the combine. There could also be off-the-field type questions. In essence, the visits indicate that there is something still outstanding that the team wants to clear up before placing a final grade on the prospect. Still, the information is considered valuable to other clubs, and that’s why many teams prefer to keep the identity of prospects they bring in confidential. The plan will be to dive into this group above a bit more over the next two days, especially the receivers. Wheaton, in particular, is a player who warrants more attention from this viewpoint. He could be the type of vertical threat that fits the Patriots' needs, and it's notable that the Pro Football Weekly Draft Preview said he has "terrific personal and football character."