You didn't think Bill Belichick would take much time to enjoy the moment, did you?
- Scout's Notebook: Cam must evolve as QB
- Free Agency's biggest unanswered storylines
- Harrison: All-Under-25 Team
- Brandt: Best second-round picks since '12
- MJD: Ranking the '17 RB prospects
- Players who won free agency
- Brooks: Peterson 'just another' RB now
- Schein: Each division's favorite, top contender
- Rosenthal Why is everyone ignoring Big Ben?
- Scouting Report/team fits: Malik Hooker
"As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff," Belichick said at a news conference Monday morning. "... Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."
Clearly for Belichick, draft season will commence in short order. But for the prospects, it's been underway since all-star games began in January. Of course, the Patriots had their share of scouts and personnel executives on hand for those events like every other NFL club, but the Patriots and Falcons coaching staffs can only now begin taking a closer look at the draft. The NFL Scouting Combine will be held from Feb. 28 to March 6 in Indianapolis. Among the Patriots' areas of need are offensive tackle and linebacker.
"I'd say if you don't do a good job with your football team in February, March and April you're probably going to see that in November, December and January," Belichick said.
Especially April 27-29, specifically in Philadelphia.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.