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• Look for the New England Patriots to be active on draft weekend. The Patriots have six of the first 100 picks (Nos. 23, 34, 47, 58, 89 and 97) and also have two picks apiece in the fifth and sixth rounds. This gives Bill Belichick plenty of chips to use if he wants to trade up in the first round like he did last year to get linebacker Jerod Mayo. The Patriots need to replace linebacker Mike Vrabel, so don’t be surprised if Belichick moves up to snatch Southern Cal’s Brian Cushing.

• Cleveland coach Eric Mangini’s decision to open up the quarterback competition between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson shows there wasn’t a market for either player. Quinn (who went 1-2 last year) saw his status as franchise quarterback disappear when coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage departed. Anderson was 3-6 before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.

• The economy was a major area of discussion at the owners meetings. Houston’s Bob McNair said the realities of business in the NFL focus have changed lately.

”It’s a different atmosphere than 20 to 30 years ago,” he said. “Originally, we worried about selling tickets. Now we’ve got to worry about selling tickets, about keeping media partners happy, operating stadiums, keeping fans happy in the stadium and servicing debts.”


• Patriots coach Bill Belichick and San Diego general manager A.J. Smith were among the 21 teams represented at Connecticut’s pro day. A Huskies player has never been taken in the first or second rounds, but as many as four could be selected this year. running back Donald Brown led the nation with 2,086 rushing yards last year; he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine and led all backs with a 41.5-inch vertical leap. Brown and Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno will be the first running backs selected.

• The Redskins were one of four teams that did not attend the University of Cincinnati’s pro day last week. An interesting Bearcats prospect is Connor Barwin. He played two years at tight end before switching to defensive end last year, posting 11 sacks. At 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds, he projects as a second-day draft choice.

• Sixty individuals from 23 teams were at Texas’ pro day Wednesday. Defensive end Brian Orakpo said a hamstring injury slowed him at the combine. If he performs well during his visits, Orakpo doesn’t figure to be available for the Redskins at No. 13. Kansas City, Green Bay and Cleveland have switched almost exclusively to a 3-4 defense, which suits Orakpo’s skills.


1. Out of the 432 OT games since the current rule was adopted in 1974, the team that won the coin toss won the game 232 times (53.7 percent).

2. In 302 of the games (69.9 percent), both teams had at least one possession, including eight of last year’s 15 OT games.

3. Only 17 games have ended in a tie. The most recent was Philadelphia-Cincinnati in November.

4. Of the 130 times that OT lasted only one drive, the winning team kicked 95 field goals and scored 35 touchdowns.

5. The average length of a winning field goal in OT last year: 37 yards.