Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the New England Patriots:

1. Here’s something to consider when watching the Patriots and Chiefs on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”: If Bill Belichick had his way, Kansas City cornerback Marcus Cooper would be a Patriot today, not a Chief. Cooper was a seventh-round draft choice of the 49ers last year out of Rutgers, and the Patriots had put in a waiver claim on him when San Francisco released him at the 2013 final cutdown. But the Chiefs claimed him too and they had priority based on their 2012 record. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Cooper has played in every game since joining the Chiefs, with eight starts, and set the franchise rookie record with 20 passes defended in 2013. We know how much Belichick likes Rutgers players who played under Greg Schiano — he has four of them in safety Devin McCourty, cornerback Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon and tight end Tim Wright — and Cooper would have been a fifth.

2. With Cooper’s backstory as a springboard, it sparked some NFL roster research. I was curious how many Rutgers players are in the NFL and with what teams, and was also interested in how unusual it might be for a team to have a cluster of four or more players from the same school on their active rosters. The breakdown as of Friday:

Rutgers scorecard

Patriots – 4

Bengals – 3

One each for Bears, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Dolphins, 49ers, Lions, Rams, Ravens, Titans

Biggest roster clusters

Bengals – 5 from Georgia

Cowboys – 5 from Oklahoma State

Eagles – 5 from Oregon (Chip Kelly influence)

Cardinals – 4 from Notre Dame

Giants – 4 from Syracuse

Lions – 4 from Nebraska

Patriots – 4 from Rutgers

Steelers – 4 from Ohio State

Vikings – 4 from Notre Dame

(19 teams tied with top cluster of …read more