Bill Belichick may have skipped the 2022 NFL Combine, but that doesn’t mean the results won’t matter to the Patriots.
New England has shown an affinity for draft prospects who tested well in certain combine drills, both recently and historically. The three-cone drill has long been known as a position of interest to the Patriots, and not just at obvious spots like wide receiver or cornerback, but at defensive end and even quarterback.
Other combine drills have proven to indicate potential Patriots draft picks. Several other factors go into whom they ultimately select, and whether they pan out as NFL players in the first place. But the connections are worth knowing.
Some 2022 draft prospects ran certain combine drills at their schools’ Pro Days. Belichick has been busy on that circuit since the combine, and the Patriots have otherwise had a presence at other pre-draft events around the country. The 2022 draft also marks the return of top-30 visits, which weren’t available the past two years, so Belichick can meet any particular prospects that pique his interest from what the team has gathered.
Despite the disruption of traditional combine and Pro Day events over the past two years, the pattern with combine drills still holds for the Patriots. In 2020, they signed undrafted cornerback Myles Bryant, who was first among all cornerbacks in the three-cone drill (6.81 seconds) and fifth overall at the NFL Combine. Tight end Dalton Keene (7.07) was third among all tight ends. There was no combine in 2021, but based on data gathered at Pro Football Reference, Patriots seventh round pick Tre Nixon finished 11th out of 53 receivers who recorded a three-cone time (Nixon, like Bryant, clocked in at 6.81).
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