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Patriots Notebook

There's still plenty of work to be done today

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By Christopher L. Gasper
Globe Staff / April 26, 2009
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FOXBOROUGH - The Patriots started the draft yesterday with 11 picks and after all their swapping and switching, which resulted in four second-round picks, they go into today with seven picks in the remaining five rounds.

Round 3 kicks off at 10 a.m. The Patriots have four third-round picks (Nos. 73, 83, 89, and 97). Picks 73 and 83 were acquired from the Packers when the Patriots traded out of the first round altogether. The 97th pick is a compensatory selection awarded by the league.

After the third round, the Patriots have a pair of compensatory picks in Rounds 5 (No. 170) and 6 (No. 207), and a seventh-rounder (No. 234).

Coach Bill Belichick wouldn't rule out making more trades today to maximize the value of those selections. A trade into a future year - a staple of past Patriot drafts - could be a possibility.

Belichick praised the work of director of player personnel Nick Caserio and director of college scouting Jon Robinson in setting up the draft board.

"We're not done yet," said Belichick. "They did a great job in terms of preparing everything and having a real good sense of kind of where some of these guys are going to go and still be able to maneuver a little bit. Hopefully, we'll be able to capitalize on some of these picks in the third round and all the way through the draft."

Instant updates
The Patriots used the social networking site Twitter to announce their trades and selections. In fact, their three trades and four selections were posted on their Twitter feed (twitter.com/realpatriots) prior to being announced on television.

"The 5,000 Patriots fans following realpatriots on Twitter were the first outside the team draft room to learn of the team's three trades and four second-round draft choices. It was a great addition to what is always an exciting day for football fans," said Patriots spokesman Stacey James via e-mail. "The feedback was tremendous and we look forward to continuing the 'tweets' again [today]."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, who has a Twitter account, said via e-mail that the league planned to review after the draft whether it needed to develop a policy related to how teams announce their picks before commissioner Roger Goodell has an opportunity to do so on the telecasts by NFL Network and ESPN.

Aiello said that "there is no issue regarding Twitter" specifically.

The NFL had one of its public relations spokesman, Brian McCarthy, tweeting from the draft in New York, but his announcement of the picks did not come prior to the television broadcast. Goodell was also tweeting from New York.

Double the fun
When the Patriots used back-to-back second-round picks on Boston College nose tackle Ron Brace (No. 40) and Connecticut cornerback Darius Butler (No. 41) it marked just the second time the team has had consecutive picks in the top 100. The only other time was in 1982, when New England also had Nos 40 and 41 and took running back Robert Weathers and future Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett. The selections of Brace and Butler also marked the first time since 1999 that the Patriots picked two players from New England schools in the same draft. That year, they used a first-rounder on BC center Damien Woody and later selected Brown wide receiver Sean Morey in the seventh round . . . The Patriots didn't make a pick in the first round for just the fourth time . . . The last time the Patriots used a pick at No. 34 was 1974, when they selected linebacker Steve Nelson. That year, the Patriots didn't pick in the first round as well, having traded it to San Francisco. However, Nelson was the team's second selection, as the Patriots also had No. 30 . . . Adalius Thomas signed autographs at the team's draft party at Gillette Stadium and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia addressed the crowd.

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