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Belichick fielding calls on draft picks

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / April 19, 2011

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There is an assumption Patriots coach Bill Belichick will have his auctioneer’s cap on at the NFL draft April 28, and after his comments yesterday, it seems a certainty.

Belichick, who has said little in the media since the Patriots’ loss to the Jets in the playoffs, was on Sirius NFL radio and said the Patriots have been fielding calls about their first three draft picks — the 17th, 28th, and 33d slots.

But don’t expect any deals until the first round is underway.

“I think you really have to wait until draft day, kind of see how it all plays out, but we’ve definitely been contacted by teams offering to move back and seeing if we want to move up,’’ Belichick said. “And we’ve also been contacted by teams behind us looking to move up into a better position.

“But there definitely seems to be a lot of interest in our draft picks and, as you know, we’re not afraid to trade them; we’ll do what’s best for the team. So we’ll evaluate those opportunities.’’

Belichick believes this draft ultimately will be judged by how teams evaluate players in the defensive front seven, especially “hybrid’’ players who could be converted from college defensive end to NFL outside linebacker.

“The teams that are able to come out with the impact players in that group, [that] has a lot to do with who’s able to gain the most out of this draft, so that will be an interesting part of it,’’ Belichick said.

Belichick believes there’s depth at the defensive end and offensive tackle spots this year; tackle appears to be an area of need for New England.

“Offensive tackle is a very interesting board with guys that can play [what] looks like left tackle but may have some flexibility to play right tackle,’’ he said. “There are some other players who are good tackles and have to move into guard. It’s definitely a group that has good depth.’’

Parcells reminisces
Bill Parcells took part in a conference call yesterday morning in conjunction with being a finalist for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

He said if he could do it over again, he might not have ended things in New England the way he did.

“As you know I had some, let’s say we had a couple ‘domestic misunderstandings’ with the ownership,’’ he said. “I do regret that. Those things have since been resolved. I think retrospectively, I would’ve handled things substantially differently than I did.

“And I was always saddened by the fact that I had to leave there, and in all honesty, didn’t really want to. And I’m sure [owner] Bob [Kraft] would say something along those lines himself, because we have talked about that.

“Hey, that’s life, and you learn from things as you go on, and certainly, I would’ve approached it a little differently.’’

The former Giants, Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys coach said that at almost 70 he’s enjoying having time to himself and “will leave the NFL to someone else now.’’

Parcells said he is flattered that he’s a finalist for the Patriots Hall along with Drew Bledsoe and Houston Antwine, and stopped mid-sentence to stump for Antwine, a six-time AFL All-Star defensive lineman.

“I saw him play quite a bit, and I thought he was really, really a tremendous player. And he’s one of those guys that I don’t think ever got a lot of notoriety, but I can tell you first-hand, he was terrific,’’ Parcells said.

He also revealed that he and Belichick own condos two floors apart in the same Jupiter, Fla., complex and called his longtime co-worker one of the best coaches in league history.

“Just put him right up there at the top of the conversation — with what he’s done, there’s no doubt about it,’’ Parcells said. “I think he’s done a remarkable job. So, you can put his name up there with anybody who has ever done it.’’

Ingram tweets
University of Alabama running back Mark Ingram broke a cardinal Patriots rule when he tweeted that he was at the airport headed for Boston.

The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner didn’t say he was going to Foxborough for a visit, but the implication was clear, particularly when he sent another message a short time later:

“Everyone is assuming I’m visiting New England, maybe I have a connecting flight in Boston? Lol who knows.’’

New England might have been doing a medical check on Ingram’s knee, which caused him to miss some time last fall. In a conference call last week, NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi said enough hasn’t been made about some teams’ fears over Ingram’s knee.

Greg Bedard of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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