Ben Volin | Three Downs

Breaking down the Patriots’ top draft needs

epa04600599 New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (C) celebrates an interception in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, USA, 01 February 2015. EPA/ERIK S. LESSER

EPA

Cornerback and guard are the top categories to address, but linebackers and receivers should also be on their radar.

NFL Draft preview | Wide receivers

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/12/01/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/459732442-7088.jpg NFL Draft features potential game-changing receivers

Alabama’s Amari Cooper had the more solid career but West Virginia’s Kevin White wowed scouts at the Combine.

NFL notebook

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/27/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/454859184.jpg NFL notebook: Adrian Peterson situation with Vikings still in limbo

A Yahoo Sports report said the Cowboys and Cardinals are not willing to pay the price for Peterson.

NFL DRAFT PREVIEW | SPECIAL TEAMS

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/26/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/ea4cd0944f4d491fa3760851de765a68-ea4cd0944f4d491fa3760851de765a68-0-7344.jpg Patriots won’t be punting on their special teams needs

Last season, eight playoff teams were ranked in the top half of the league in special teams rankings; the Patriots were third.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/24/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/460965748.jpg NFL teams go extra yard to vet prospects before draft

Teams morph into private detective units, running exhaustive background checks on potential draftees.

BEN VOLIN | SUNDAY FOOTBALL NOTES

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/26/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/200_todd_gurley-7753.jpg Whose stock has risen, fallen heading into the NFL Draft?

A look at the prospects who helped and hurt their draft value over the last three months.

NFL DRAFT PREVIEW | DEFENSIVE LINE

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/24/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/Harvardfootball07-7625--90x90.jpg Harvard’s Zack Hodges confident he can graduate to NFL

The defensive end and Ivy League Co-Defensive Player of the Year has no doubts that he can compete at the highest level.

NFL DRAFT PREVIEW | LINEBACKERS

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/05/21/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/2-3845.jpg NFL teams always on lookout for next Jamie Collins

A durable, productive, and versatile linebacker/pass rusher in the Collins mold could be quite an asset.

NFL DRAFT PREVIEW

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/22/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/7e39e9ce3c9e4ffd802be290af38cedd-7e39e9ce3c9e4ffd802be290af38cedd-0-7421--90x90.jpg How valuable are combines and pro days for NFL evaluators?

Some still swear by game tapes, but these mini-circuses may have their intrinsic benefits, too.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 03: Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones waits in a time-out as he defends his title against Daniel Cormier during the UFC 182 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jones retained his title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Getty Images

New Mexico police seek arrest warrant for brother of Chandler Jones

Witnesses told police want that the brother of Patriots player Chandler Jones left the scene of an accident in Albuquerque.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/19/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/3733cf573c104abba7ea9e95d663f2a9-3733cf573c104abba7ea9e95d663f2a9-0[1].jpg No timeline for release of Deflategate report, Roger Goodell says

The NFL commissioner said it was unlikely the report would be released during the upcoming week, with the draft ahead.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/24/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/ef90d277ced64e37972ad42421ee8d9f-ef90d277ced64e37972ad42421ee8d9f-0.jpg Roger Goodell: LA can support NFL teams

The commissioner touched on numerous, including the league’s domestic violence policy, in a Friday session with journalists.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/23/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/Tlumacki_patriotsatwhitehouse_sports270-7507-U732036907123ER--90x90@BostonGlobe.com.jpg Obama takes a little air out of Patriots’ celebration

The president’s remarks at a White House reception included a joke about Deflategate.

BEN VOLIN | ON FOOTBALL

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/23/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/img_3898A-7559.jpg Patriots get dose of perspective from real patriots

Before the White House ceremony, a select group from the team went to Walter Reed Medical Center and met wounded soldiers.

BEN VOLIN | ON FOOTBALL

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/22/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/04202012_mp20pnotes111-8246877-7441--90x90.jpg Nick Caserio is Patriots’ crucial link between football and business

He is the quarterback in the front office, Bill Belichick’s point man on roster decisions, and can even conduct on-field drills.

NFL DRAFT PREVIEW | OFFENSIVE LINE

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/04/21/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/AP859633120599-7342--90x90.jpg Hobart’s Ali Marpet hopes to make NFL draft history

The offensive lineman could be the first player drafted from the Division 3 school.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/10/16/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/chin101614PatriotsJets_spt1.jpg A closer look at the Patriots’ 2015 opponents

The Patriots have learned what their schedule looks like; here’s a look at their opponents.

Ben Volin | On Football

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2015/02/06/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davis_neden20_spts.jpg 16 thoughts on Patriots’ schedule

Among the notables: The Patriots will play five night games and three national day games.

Belichick era database

INTERACTIVE DATABASE

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/01/10/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/2004g18c-2786--90x90.JPG Patriots during the Bill Belichick era

Look back on the Boston Globe’s coverage of every game the Patriots have played since Bill Belichick became the head coach in 2000.

From the archives

Super Bowl XLVI

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/02/07/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/138327411--150x150.jpg Giants break Patriots’ hearts again

Look back at complete coverage of the Patriots' loss loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

Past seasons

2013 season recap

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2014/05/06/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/davis_neden5_spts-10061-13863--90x90.jpg An ugly end in Denver

Track the high and low points of the Patriots’ 2013 season before their eventual loss to the Broncos in the AFC title game.