By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — It appears that Bill Belichick is expecting to have a first-round pick by the time the 2017 NFL Draft rolls around.

Belichick attended Vanderbilt’s Pro Day on Thursday in Nashville, and was spotted working closely with Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham. Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt tweeted a photo of Belichick working with Cunningham on a drill, looking at the linebacker like he’s already a Patriot.

A video by 247Sports NFL writer Kevin Boilard shows Belichick getting in some “extra work” with Cunningham:

The reason this should raise some eyebrows is that Cunningham is widely projected to be drafted in the first two rounds, likely around the end of the first. The Patriots currently do not have a pick in April’s NFL Draft until the third round. Why would Belichick spend this much time working so closely with a player he had no chance of drafting?

Belichick’s presence at the Vanderbilt Pro Day with Cunningham is an ancillary, but telling, sign that he expects to be selecting in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That doesn’t mean it’s definitely going to be their own pick, which they may be getting back from the Saints in exchange for cornerback Malcolm Butler – but it appears that the Patriots are not done trading for draft picks just yet.

Matt Dolloff is a writer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at

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