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Belichick’s kind of roster: Patriots have 18 undrafted free agents

BGEatSB AP

The Patriots have put together a roster full of guys that no one else wanted. It’s a motley crew and that seems to suit this organization best.

Sure, Tom Brady is protected by an offensive line with a good pedigree. The defense is led by first round picks Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork.

But overall this is one of the most random rosters in the league. 18 undrafted free agents dot the 53-man roster, including eight starters.

More than one-third of the Patriots roster was undrafted. The Patriots also have eleven more players that were taken in the fifth round or later in the draft.  Less than half of the team was drafted in the first four rounds. 12 Patriots were signed “off the street” or during training camp.

Essentially, the Patriots have a roster of misfits. We think that’s been a big part of their success this year. It’s a roster that Belichick embraces, and one that falls in line with the “Patriot Way.”

“I tell the team that I don’t care how you got here, it’s what you do when you get here. It doesn’t matter if you were drafted in the second round, the fifth round, or not drafted at all,” Belichick said in response to a question from PFT in Indianapolis.

A lot of teams say that to their players, but most squads are more sentimental about hanging on to past mistakes. The Patriots are far from perfect in personnel, but they do a better job than most of self scouting.

“Players ask me before the season, if we sign them as a free agent or if we draft them, ‘What do you want my role to be?’ Whatever you make it, I don’t know,” Belichick said. “If you play good, you will have a big role, if you don’t play very well, then someone else will have a bigger role than you will.”

Belichick says he looks for undrafted players that are dependable and work hard. That sounds obvious, but it’s clear the Patriots genuinely value these skills more than raw talent. Their running back position — led by two undrafted players BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — is a great example of the Patriots finding diamonds in the rough and knowing how to use them.

“There’s a goal that they have in mind with the guys that they bring in, and they try to bring in guys that they think will buy into that,” special teams ace and fifth-round pick Matthew Slater said. “You kind of have that sense of urgency from the day you come into the league knowing that things are not going to be easy for you.”

“With [Belichick], you know the best players are going to play. No matter where you are taken or what the deal is or anything else,  the best players are going to be out there. If you prove yourself, there’s no politics about it,” Wes Welker said.

That’s why Belichick is comfortable enough to bench a $6 million receiver (Chad Ochocinco), release a free agent bust (Albert Haynesworth), or even trade a future Hall of Famer (Randy Moss) in the middle of the season.

“You’ve got to kind of come in and be willing to do dirty work; whatever it takes to stick around,” Slater said. “I think a lot of guys on this team have that mentality, and that’s why we’ve had the success that we’ve had.”

This may not be the most talented Patriots team of the last decade, but it’s obvious Belichick loves to coach this group.

It’s his kind of team.

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111 Responses to “Belichick’s kind of roster: Patriots have 18 undrafted free agents”
  1. commandercornpone says: Jan 30, 2012 8:35 PM

    he uses more players in more different ways than anyone else.

  2. situsavaisprier says: Jan 30, 2012 8:38 PM

    Not only do a great job of self-scouting, but also getting production out of veterans and after thought players.

  3. jaystus says: Jan 30, 2012 8:44 PM

    And Jacksonville is still complaining about Tebow.

  4. tfbuckfutter says: Jan 30, 2012 8:49 PM

    “But overall this is one of the most random rosters in the league.”

    ———————————–

    What does a uniform roster look like?

  5. cappa662 says: Jan 30, 2012 8:51 PM

    He should stop stock piling draft picks… because he’s no good at the draft.

  6. crosbyhasgonorrhea says: Jan 30, 2012 8:51 PM

    Are any of them all pro? Also, if he is such a draft genius, why is he missing on draft picks and resorting to udfas?

  7. nothimagain says: Jan 30, 2012 8:52 PM

    The surprise of this story would have been if the Patriots didn’t have 18 undrated free agents on the roster given how inept Belichick has been when it comes to drafting players.

  8. bobhk says: Jan 30, 2012 8:52 PM

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — is a great example of the Patriots finding diamonds in the rough and knowing how to use them.
    ————
    Are we getting ahead of ourselves? These two *combined* to reach 1000 yards rushing…I wouldn’t call them diamonds (rough or otherwise) yet….

  9. fballguy says: Jan 30, 2012 8:53 PM

    I’m a life long Patriots fan and I have never seen a coach as great as Bill Belichick. Vince Lombardi couldn’t hold Bill’s camcorder.

    And I love Tom Brady too.

  10. ampats says: Jan 30, 2012 8:55 PM

    And that is because Bill Belichick is a terrible personnel GM.

    Bill Belichick is about to win his 4th Lombardi with 18 UFA !!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. istateyourname says: Jan 30, 2012 8:56 PM

    And the Bears were getting ripped for having 5 wankers that couldn’t get themselves drafted…got a new GM too…

  12. nxsteven says: Jan 30, 2012 8:58 PM

    Why do you have to find diamond’s in the rough with so many draft picks year in and year out? This guy is nearly the worst evaluator of talent in the league but he is one heck of a coach.

    Too bad his ego won’t allow a GM to work along side him and focus on the types of things he simply has no time for.

  13. randolph32 says: Jan 30, 2012 8:59 PM

    @fballguy – Please, PUT THE BONG DOWN … Really, Vince Lombardi? I understand, it’s Super Bowl week and your excited….

  14. nxsteven says: Jan 30, 2012 9:00 PM

    I mean, what’s the point in the extra draft picks if you’re going to turn around and cut them for undrafted free agents? Absolutely any team can sign the guys this guy drafts and cuts and not have to waste the draft pick on him.

  15. nxsteven says: Jan 30, 2012 9:01 PM

    fballguy says: Jan 30, 2012 8:53 PM

    I’m a life long Patriots fan and I have never seen a coach as great as Bill Belichick. Vince Lombardi couldn’t hold Bill’s camcorder.

    And I love Tom Brady too.
    —–

    Maybe because you’ve never seen another successful coach in NE…?

  16. all4patriots says: Jan 30, 2012 9:02 PM

    Gronkowski and Hernandez were BOTH drafted with stockpiled draft picks acquired in trade-downs, so the draft strategy has merits too.

    Sometimes a draft pick fails. Sometimes it saves you if you recognize it early, cut the drafted player, and keep a less heralded one that plays better.

    Example: A major reason Danny Woodhead was cut by the Jets was they thought it would look bad if they kept an undrafted player and cut a drafted player to make room for him.

    When the goal is to keep the best players, period, rather than to look good as a drafter, the team benefits.

  17. fanisy says: Jan 30, 2012 9:04 PM

    How many of them are on defense?
    While BB is a genius in most things, if he actually knew how to draft a lick this team would be wrecking everyone every year.

    Fortunately for everyone else though he whiffs, although he’s had an okay 2 years running.

  18. burm61 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:08 PM

    Proof of what impeccable scouting can do.

  19. doe22us says: Jan 30, 2012 9:08 PM

    Enough already with the Patriot love fest, patriot way yada yada

  20. righthereisay says: Jan 30, 2012 9:11 PM

    Without Brady, he is nothing. Give him Flacco, and we will see what he can do.

  21. towniesman says: Jan 30, 2012 9:14 PM

    In Bill we trust !

  22. cjay12 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:15 PM

    BenJarvus Green- Ellis was a 1,000 yard back last year,has had 24 touchdowns in the past 2 seasons and has never fumbled in the NFL or at Ole Miss… yeah I would call that a diamond in the rough.

  23. NakedCowboy! says: Jan 30, 2012 9:18 PM

    i am loving all the BB news… cant get enough…

    I want to make 2 additions:
    1) Team is led by a 6th round pick… i will let you guys guess who that guys is.
    2) they are playing with 3 elves: welker, edelmen and woodhead. So not only BB is a genius at finding free agents, he is recruiting from lord of the rings as well!

  24. huskersrock1 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:18 PM

    Random

    1.Made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision: “a random sample of 100 households”.
    2.Governed by or involving equal chances for each item.

    Are you inferring that Belicheck blindly throws a dart at a name when he chooses his roster?

    I hate the over use of the word random.

  25. pleasantsurpriselefty says: Jan 30, 2012 9:19 PM

    Divas need not apply. The number one requirement: be coachable. If you aren’t you will be gone (see B. Merriweather, high draft choice.)

  26. lolb23 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:21 PM

    31 other teams passed on Gronk. Just sayin’

  27. countyk66ers says: Jan 30, 2012 9:22 PM

    Belichick is a great coach but Lombardi was legendary.

  28. portnoychunk says: Jan 30, 2012 9:22 PM

    Yeah sure, he’s no good at the draft: Solder, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Mesko, Spikes, Chung, Wilfork, Mayo, Mankins, Light, Brady, Branch, Slater, Ridley, Mallet, Cannon, Koppen, Edelman, Vollmer, Gostkowski etc, etc…..all terrible players.

    It’s easy to hit in the draft if you have a top 10 pick every year. Pats have had one losing season in the past 16 seasons….yet still win without drafting elite talent. Sure….tell us he’s not great in the draft…he’s in the Superbowl AGAIN. Imagine how good they would be if he were as you all put it a “draft guru.”

  29. portnoychunk says: Jan 30, 2012 9:25 PM

    bobhk says: Jan 30, 2012 8:52 PM

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — is a great example of the Patriots finding diamonds in the rough and knowing how to use them.
    ————
    Are we getting ahead of ourselves? These two *combined* to reach 1000 yards rushing…I wouldn’t call them diamonds (rough or otherwise) yet….

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Green-Ellis rushed for 1000 yards last season…he had foot issues this year which limited him in several games. He also has 24 TD’s combined in the last 2 seasons and has NEVER fumbled as a Patriot. Know of what you speak before spouting off your hate.

  30. tombradyallday says: Jan 30, 2012 9:26 PM

    belichick isnt afraid to coach. other coaches just want high draft picks to come in and play right away. belichick doesnt mind working with players who have talent who can get the job done. this is like the 2001 superbowl season all over again

  31. huskersrock1 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:29 PM

    The Pats should have more second and third round picks on their roster than anyone.

  32. lanman11 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:30 PM

    “You’ve got to kind of come in and be willing to do dirty work; whatever it takes to stick around,” Slater said.

    QUICK! GET THE NEW YORK PAPERS ON THE PHONE!

    “PATRIOTS PLAN TO DO SUPERBOWL DIRTY”

    GIANTS RUN WITH IT!

  33. pcsheward says: Jan 30, 2012 9:32 PM

    As a Browns fan, I hate to say it, but *this* is how you know that Belichick is such a great coach. This is why he’s the best there’s ever been. He takes players that wouldn’t make anyone else’s roster and coaches them up so much that they are their best as a unit. It just makes me sick he didn’t figure that out until after he left Cleveland.

    My God, I hope that someday my team is relevant again.

  34. rexismybff says: Jan 30, 2012 9:34 PM

    “You’ve got to kind of come in and be willing to do dirty work; whatever it takes to stick around,” Slater said. “I think a lot of guys on this team have that mentality, and that’s why we’ve had the success that we’ve had.”

    ===================

    Yeah, lot of dirty work up there in Boston over the years. Paid a lot of fines and gave up draft picks for that dirty work, too.

    Nice to see some things don’t change.

  35. bobhk says: Jan 30, 2012 9:37 PM

    Jan 30, 2012 8:52 PM

    The surprise of this story would have been if the Patriots didn’t have 18 undrated free agents on the roster given how inept Belichick has been when it comes to drafting players.
    ——-
    Why are there so many undrafted players on this roster and what happens to that stockpile of draft picks belichick has?

  36. heisthejuan says: Jan 30, 2012 9:37 PM

    If playing in the SB with 18 undrafted guys means that BB sucks at drafting, then everyone else sucks worse. He at least saw that there were guys better than who he drafted and better than the guys whatever team you root for (except maybe the Giants) drafted.

  37. rcali says: Jan 30, 2012 9:40 PM

    Belichick has proven he’ll do anything to win…..anything.

  38. yankeemofo says: Jan 30, 2012 9:43 PM

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — is a great example of the Patriots finding diamonds in the rough and knowing how to use them.
    ————
    Are we getting ahead of ourselves? These two *combined* to reach 1000 yards rushing…I wouldn’t call them diamonds (rough or otherwise) yet….
    ————–

    They move the chains/make plays when they have to. It’s part of the “doing whatever it takes to stick around” mentality. Did you read the whole post?

  39. rickrilla says: Jan 30, 2012 9:46 PM

    The only reason Bill is considered one of best is because of Tom Brady. I really think Tom deserves all the credit. Bill is a great coach, but he’s only good as his QB. It works like that so enjoy it Bill. Once Brady retires or gets past prime they will run you out of town!

  40. 1fast84 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:47 PM

    Is anyone else that’s impressed by edelman? Dude plays wr on offense, cb on defense and returns punts. I haven’t seen much of that since primetime himself not saying he’s as good as prime but still impressive.

  41. osnap305 says: Jan 30, 2012 9:48 PM

    Still mad that the Raider’s let Sterling Moore (who was clearly outplaying all of Al’s corners picked in the last two years) walk so they could keep f-ing Jerome Boyd and garbage ass Demarcus Van Dyke.

  42. rickrilla says: Jan 30, 2012 9:48 PM

    The Pats have been one of leagues worst draft teams last few years, you don’t hear much about that. I give them credit for the 18 undrafted free-agents, but that’s just called bad drafting.

  43. patriotinvasion says: Jan 30, 2012 9:50 PM

    Yea, Belichick stinks at drafting. Who needs Gronkowski, Hernandez, Mayo, Wilfork, Chung, McCourty, Spikes, Solder, or Vollmer anyway. The 30 other teams that draft better will be sitting at home watching the Patriots play in their 5th Super Bowl in 11 years and 2nd in the past 5. Hilarious.

  44. snnyjcbs says: Jan 30, 2012 9:51 PM

    That last place regular season schedule the NFL hands them year in and year out does not hurt.

  45. Ralphie says: Jan 30, 2012 9:55 PM

    crosbyhasgonorrhea says:
    Jan 30, 2012 8:51 PM
    Are any of them all pro? Also, if he is such a draft genius, why is he missing on draft picks and resorting to udfas?
    _____________________________

    I don’t think anyone has called him a draft genius, but he is a ruthless motherf’er. If you are a high draft choice and you get beat out by a UFA or low draft choice he’ll cut or trade your ass in a heart beat. He doesn’t care about rank or status. Look what Brady did to Bledsoe (with an assist to Mo).

  46. justentertainingthestupid says: Jan 30, 2012 9:56 PM

    Have fun with that in the Super Bowl When Brady is getting toasted.

  47. stevemo says: Jan 30, 2012 9:57 PM

    People that bash BB’s draft history make me laugh.

    – Individuals in this business that have yet to win a SB are often told to “go win something” when speaking about the game (see the Fisher stories and the comment sections).
    – Somebody wins one SB, it was probably a fluke and they must win another to prove themselves (see Eli Manning prior to this year).
    – Win more than one SB, you probably cheated to get there and are benefiting from a Hall of Fame player that may or may not be a product of your coaching.
    – Win 3+ SBs, your drafting history ought to be immaculate.

    Sounds logical to me.

  48. justentertainingthestupid says: Jan 30, 2012 10:00 PM

    New England is going to lose this game guys and probably by 2 touchdowns. Then we will see what articles are written about Bill and his failure to draft any kind of a pass rush and bring in very questionable acquisitions. Tom Brady is the reason the Pats are here. Period. Paragraph.

  49. Henry says: Jan 30, 2012 10:05 PM

    As Pats fans are fond of saying;

    “In Bill we trust”

    Amen brothas!!!

  50. orthodoxdj says: Jan 30, 2012 10:06 PM

    That, and they have Tom Brady.

  51. fanofthegame says: Jan 30, 2012 10:08 PM

    bobhk said “These two *combined* to reach 1000 yards rushing…I wouldn’t call them diamonds (rough or otherwise) yet….”

    ————————————————

    If I recall correctly, BJGE had a 1,000+ yard season last year all by his lonesome.

  52. rushmatic says: Jan 30, 2012 10:12 PM

    bobhk says:
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — is a great example of the Patriots finding diamonds in the rough and knowing how to use them.
    ————
    Are we getting ahead of ourselves? These two *combined* to reach 1000 yards rushing…I wouldn’t call them diamonds (rough or otherwise) yet….

    _________________

    No, we’re not. Green-Ellis rushed for 1,000 the year before. Try knowing something before you comment.

  53. omegaichiban says: Jan 30, 2012 10:13 PM

    If you want a good story about money/players/bonuses/ who plays and what happens, ask Steve Young (yes that Steve Young) why Calvin McGee only tied a record instead of breaking it. But more to the point, many teams have punished themselves due to vanity, pride “we drafted this guy first”, this undrafted FA is better than him “that will make us look bad, play the guy we made a mistake paying the most money to” SAD

  54. kevo126 says: Jan 30, 2012 10:14 PM

    why does he stockpile all of those draft picks then??? he has been average at best over the last few years when it come to the draft

  55. Soulman45 says: Jan 30, 2012 10:15 PM

    If half of the team is undrafted what happen to the draft picks?

  56. tothefellowshipofthemiserable says: Jan 30, 2012 10:19 PM

    The people who comment that Belichick is not good at drafting, I have one question. Who’s in the superbowl ?

  57. enx31 says: Jan 30, 2012 10:20 PM

    Proof is in the results. And I think he’s done pretty well.

    Hernandez or Gronk could have been easy 1st rounders given their quick and undeniable success. But we got them for a 2 and a 4. Lots of other examples. Look at teams that perpetually over pay a few players? Eagles, Redskins, who else?

    Don’t hate. If BB came to your franchise, you’d be psyched. Winning is winning. Enough said.

  58. vincentbojackson says: Jan 30, 2012 10:21 PM

    Impressive stat. Might explain the 31st ranked defense and the inability to develop a vertical threat at wide receiver.

  59. welkersstache83 says: Jan 30, 2012 10:29 PM

    Jerod Mayo is an all pro, and spikes would have been with a full season

  60. nesuperfan says: Jan 30, 2012 10:30 PM

    snnyjcbs says:Jan 30, 2012 9:51 PM

    That last place regular season schedule the NFL hands them year in and year out does not hurt.
    __________________________________

    Spoken like someone, who does not know what they are talking about…and you don’t.

    The schedule is totally, and 100% formulatic. So how hard it is in any given year is luck. You can determine it years ahead, and for every team.

  61. enx31 says: Jan 30, 2012 10:30 PM

    “If half of the team is undrafted what happen to the draft picks?”

    ————

    Why would it matter? Everyone assumes #1 picks are automatic HOFs I guess? Do yourselves a favor and go see how many #1 picks of the last 10 years are actual perennial pro-bowlers. Yeah…

    SB here we come. Again.

  62. all4patriots says: Jan 30, 2012 10:33 PM

    “If half of the team is undrafted what happen to the draft picks?”

    ————
    You get 7 draft picks a year, a few more if you have traded down before, add a handful of free agents every year, and that doesn’t get to the normally 15-20 players turned over every season from your roster, Do the math, dude.

    I bet all teams have more undrafted players than players picked in any single round, even the first,

    it’s just that the Patriots have more key contributors than most

  63. bobhk says: Jan 30, 2012 10:35 PM

    portnoychunk says:Jan 30, 2012 9:25 PM

    bobhk says: Jan 30, 2012 8:52 PM

    BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead — is a great example of the Patriots finding diamonds in the rough and knowing how to use them.
    ————
    Are we getting ahead of ourselves? These two *combined* to reach 1000 yards rushing…I wouldn’t call them diamonds (rough or otherwise) yet….

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Green-Ellis rushed for 1000 yards last season…he had foot issues this year which limited him in several games. He also has 24 TD’s combined in the last 2 seasons and has NEVER fumbled as a Patriot. Know of what you speak before spouting off your hate
    ———-
    And you need to take off those pats colored glasses. One 1000 yard season in many season does not make a diamond (even in the rough). The fact that he was undrafted makes it better.
    if you want to know what a diamond in the rough is you should look up terrel Davis.
    Even if you give props to green-Ellis please stop gushing about woodhead.

  64. bobhk says: Jan 30, 2012 10:42 PM

    tothefellowshipofthemiserable says:Jan 30, 2012 10:19 PM

    The people who comment that Belichick is not good at drafting, I have one question. Who’s in the superbowl ?
    ——
    He’s resting on having Brady and Brady is gonna be on the wrong side of 35 next season

  65. situsavaisprier says: Jan 30, 2012 10:52 PM

    lolb23 says:
    Jan 30, 2012 9:21 PM
    31 other teams passed on Gronk. Just sayin’

    ——————————————————-

    Not going to go through all teams, but I’ll say the Giants drafting Jason Pierre Paul was perfectly fine.

  66. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 30, 2012 10:56 PM

    Focusing on higher character, hard working players has always seemed like a recipe for success to me…
    The last thing a team needs is a roster full of players who only show up to cash checks.
    As a Raider fan, I’m all too familiar with that…

  67. kisstherings says: Jan 30, 2012 11:10 PM

    @cappa662, @crosbyhasgonorrhea, @nothimagain, @nxsteven and all you other fools that think Belichick is a bad GM:

    The dude has been to 5 Super Bowls in the last 10 years. Thats an average of one every other year.

    He’s gotten their by CUTTING players he has drafted that don’t buy into the Patriot way and who don’t practice proper technique. This makes him a worse GM?? So if he held onto a player like the Jets did Vernon Gholston for 2 years too long…..that would make him better? No, the dud’s a Genius because he gets players that are a good fit for the team, and he plays the best players regardless of draft position, and cuts those that aren’t working out REGARDLESS of draft position.

    Congrats on your team and GM having a better history of keeping the players you drafted on your roster!! Keep those stiffs around and pay them well! Keep your fingers crossed they will work out next year, maybe get a little better no?? They will have plenty of time to practice when your season ends in week 17.

    Morons

    Belichick will keep doing what he does best and he doesn’t care what fools like you or the media think about it.

    Kiss The Rings

  68. xsorethumbx says: Jan 30, 2012 11:19 PM

    @pcsheward

    i believe BB was doing this in Clev which helped run him out of town going from beloved but past his time Kosar for Vinny T.
    he was chosing the best player regardless of history.

  69. Deb says: Jan 30, 2012 11:21 PM

    I’m confused by the comments that Belichick can’t draft. Isn’t that Nick Caserio’s job? He’s the Pats’ director of player personnel, not Belichick. With the Steelers, our player personnel guy–Kevin Colbert–gets all the credit for our successful drafts. It’s the coach’s job to bring out the best in the players he has, regardless of their talent level.

    Belichick has taken a hodgepodge of free agents and late-round draft picks and turned them into Pro Bowlers and Super Bowl contenders. That has nothing to do with drafting, but it has everything to do with being a great coach.

  70. joyjoy69 says: Jan 30, 2012 11:27 PM

    crosbyhasgonorrhea says: Jan 30, 2012 8:51 PM

    Are any of them all pro? Also, if he is such a draft genius, why is he missing on draft picks and resorting to udfas?

    ——————————–

    I guess that depends upon what you mean by draft success. I could mention Brady’s 6th round heritage or Rob Ninkovich and Dan Koppen (5th round picks), but those might be obvious. Any idiot can draft a player in the first round and have a decent chance they are a stud someday – especially an early round pick. The Patriots have picked in the top 10 twice in the Bill Bilichick era – Richard Seymour (6th) and Jerod Mayo (10th) and both are perennial all-pros. Indeed, EVERY SINGLE 1st ROUND PICK since 2000 (when Belichick became head coach) is still a starter in the league (*unless you don’t consider Maroney a starter anymore, fair enough). Not every one is a star, but they are all starters*! I could be wrong, but I don’t think you could find ANY OTHER COACH in the history of the NFL that had a 9 year track record like that (it’s 11 years, but they didn’t have a 1st rounder in 2000 or 2009 – although they had 4 2nd rounders in 2009 and 3 are still playing on the team, 2 as starters). Has any draft been a complete success with every pick being a stud? If that is your standard, than he is no draft genius. But if over half the players drafted any given year stand a good chance of improving the roster, and he deals with free agents like he does, you will have a chance at a dynasty – even in a rebuilding year like this one! Go figure.

    And you heard it here first: with the Colts transitioning from a Tampa-2 D into a 3-4, Belichick with vampire several pieces of their roster and the D will look dominant by mid-season next year. If you hadn’t noticed, the Patriots transitioned from a 3-4 first D into a 4-3 first D this year, to adjust to the league shift in demand for 3-4 defenders. With more 4-3 stars available than before, BB will take advantage of the talent available and the transition year will be complete… after winning a Super Bowl!

  71. 2sausage11 says: Jan 30, 2012 11:29 PM

    30 PATS

    24 other guys because nobody remembers who lost

  72. j0esixpack says: Jan 30, 2012 11:32 PM

    This what I’ve been saying for years.

    Belichick isn’t a football genius because he doesn’t make mistakes.

    Quite the opposite. He makes mistakes – and he works to identify them as quickly as possible and then do his best to fix them.

    Others would let ego stop them from cutting a high priced free agent or first round pick.

    Belichick doesn’t make a mistake worse by letting ego affect football decisions.

  73. angusosborne says: Jan 30, 2012 11:35 PM

    The reason they’ve got so many undrafted free agents is becuase they’ve got a star, veteran QB with a massive contract, and there’s this thing called a salary cap in the NFL. You can’t have huge stars at every position.

    And look at the Colts, a star QB and a collection of no-names is not unique.

  74. howiehandles says: Jan 30, 2012 11:35 PM

    “Are any of them all pro?”

    What would you rather have?

    a. A team of All Pros

    or

    b. A team that goes to the Superbowl

    I’m not a fan of the Pats, but I could care less if my team’s players were stocking the shelves at Walgreens, if my team had the Pat’s success.

  75. howiehandles says: Jan 30, 2012 11:36 PM

    “Are any of them all pro?”

    What would you rather have?

    a. A team of All Pros (Chargers, Ravens)

    or

    b. A team that goes to the Superbowl

    I’m not a fan of the Pats, but I could care less if my team’s players were stocking the shelves at Walgreens, if my team had the Pat’s success.

  76. superbowltruffle says: Jan 30, 2012 11:53 PM

    I’ve had season tickets for 19 years. The patriots have had 3 losing seasons over that time: 1993, 1995, 2000.

    This is super bowl appearance number 6 in that time.

    They have been to 7 conference championship games in that time.

    They have reached the divisional round by winning the wild card game or making the bye 9 times.

    There have been 14 home playoff games in that time. I’ve seen them all all. 12 wins 2 loses.

    Lol every other team.

  77. kisstherings says: Jan 31, 2012 12:09 AM

    @crosbyhasgonorrhea says:Jan 30, 2012 8:51 PM

    Are any of them all pro? Also, if he is such a draft genius, why is he missing on draft picks and resorting to udfas?

    ——————————————————-

    lol another hater moron merely making a stronger case for Belichick.

    Yes, to answer your question. The Pats had 9 Pro Bowlers this year, the most of any team in the league, and should have had 10 because Hernandez should have made it as first AFC TE alternate, but oh yeah, he was going to the SB too.

    Regarding your second question: The same reason other teams miss on Draft picks, he just does a better job at trimming the fat a lot faster than other teams do, and doesn’t care what people think about his “draft hit ratio” Maybe other teams should follow suit. They would be happy to go to half the Super Bowls he has..

  78. bucforever says: Jan 31, 2012 12:12 AM

    I just hope the Bucs new coach Greg Schiano ( Belichick has great respect for him I understand)
    will be able to copy these tactics when building this team. The Glazers have promised to spend on free agency this year so we will see.

  79. 6ball says: Jan 31, 2012 12:13 AM

    .

    The prime directive of the Patriots is to be in the hunt every year. They do not aspire to catch lighting in a bottle, go to a super bowl, then return to a decade of 8-8. Where exactly are recent super bowl participants, Seattle, Indianapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Arizona, and Carolina?

    Keep trading for future picks. It’s money in the bank and insurance against unforeseen losses via injury or free agent departures.

    .

  80. joyjoy69 says: Jan 31, 2012 12:16 AM

    rickrilla says: Jan 30, 2012 9:48 PM

    The Pats have been one of leagues worst draft teams last few years, you don’t hear much about that. I give them credit for the 18 undrafted free-agents, but that’s just called bad drafting.

    —————————

    Time for a fact check. By “last few years, do you mean 3? OK:

    2011
    1 (17): Nick Solder (solid tackle as a rookie)
    2 (33) Ras-I Dowling (DB on IR)
    2 (56): Shane Vareen (#4 RB who was injured much of the season)
    3 (73): Stevan Ridley (#3 RB who dominated at times once recovered from pre-NFL injuries)
    3 (74): Ryan Mallet (QB with bad attitude projected for 1st round, but character questions let him fall this far, who knows if/when he’ll get a chance to play)
    5 (138): Marcus Cannon (OL who started season on PUP dues to cancer treatment, played significantly late in season)
    5 (159): Lee Smith (Did not make roster)
    6 (194): Markell Carter (on practice squad)
    7 (219): Malcolm Williams (DB special-teamer, played sparingly)

    2010:
    1 (27): Devin McCourty (pro bowl as a rookie)
    2 (42): Rob Gronkowski (heard of this TE who set the record this year for most TDs by a TE?)
    2 (52) Jermaine Cunningham (started 11 games as a rookie, on IR this year)
    2 (62): Brandon Spikes (Has injury issues, but started 6 of the 8 games he was healthy enough to play this year)
    3 (90) Taylor Price (bust WR)
    4 (113) Aaron Hernandez (the fourth best TE in football this year)
    5 (150) Zoltan Mesko (the best coffin-corner punter in football already, with a heck of a leg!)
    6 (205) Ted Larsen (bust Center)
    7 (208) Thomas Welch (bust Tackle)
    7 (247) Brandon Deaderick (Roll-playing DE who has played in 20 games in 2 years)
    7 (248) Kade Weston (bust DT)
    7 (250 – Mr. Irrelevant) Zac Robinson (bust QB)

    2009:
    1 (no picks)
    2 (34) Patrick Chung (Pro-bowl Safety)
    2 (40) Ron Brace (roll-playing DT who has trouble staying healthy)
    2 (41) Darius Butler (mediocre CB traded to Carolina this year, started 6 games of 13 played for them)
    2 (58) Sebastian Volmer (dominant right tackle, when healthy, being groomed to be LT)
    3 (83) Brandon Tate (mediocre WR/KR who plays for Cincinatti now)
    3 (97) Tyrone McKenzie (bust LB)
    4 (123) Rich Ohrnberger (promising Guard with injury issues, on IR all 2011)
    5 (170) George Bussey (bust Tackle)
    6 (198) Jake Ingram (Bust Long Snapper)
    6 (207) Myron Pryor (promising DT with major injury concerns – missed most of 2011 on IR)
    7 (232) Julian Edelman (utility WR/KR/DB who looked like a promising “poor-man’s Welker” when he was out, but has played CB most of this season due to injuries to that position)
    7 (234) Darryl Richard (bust DT, but it’s so cool to have two first names…)

    OK, mixed results, but overall more players on the roster than most teams could boast, and several dominant ones. I remember scratching my head after each one of these drafts, but I have to admit in hind-sight they were above-average. If Ryan Mallet grows up and learns from Brady, he has the talent to replace him in 3-4 years. Several potential long-term starting OL is always nice, and a few star defensive players, 2 of the top 5 TEs this season, and a couple developing starters at RB. Take a look at other team’s drafts over the past few years (ignoring ESPN’s “Draft Grades” the following week after the draft) and I son’t see how you could maintain they’ve been among the worst. Maybe there were better, but I’ll take this. Perhaps we should go back further – They drafted Jerod Mayo the previous year, 2007 was basically a complete bust, 2006 brought in many busts, but also Stephen Gostkowski, 2005 was great, and every other year was a mixed bag of studs and duds. Looks slightly above average, but not horrible any year (except 2007).

  81. kisstherings says: Jan 31, 2012 12:25 AM

    rickrilla says:Jan 30, 2012 9:46 PM

    The only reason Bill is considered one of best is because of Tom Brady. I really think Tom deserves all the credit. Bill is a great coach, but he’s only good as his QB. It works like that so enjoy it Bill. Once Brady retires or gets past prime they will run you out of town!
    ———————————————————

    2008 Season: 11-5 without Tom Brady

    Catch what happened to the Colts this year without Manning??

    Yes, Brady will eventually go down as the best of all time, and Belichick probably will also. They will both have been a big reason for each others success. In 2008 Belichick proved he could have success without Brady. As a Pats fan I hope I never see the day that Brady has to prove he can do it without Belichick. But he could.

  82. db105 says: Jan 31, 2012 12:29 AM

    The NFL draft is an imperfect science. Most of BB’s draft picks are not high draft picks. Higher draft picks also have high salaries. So keeping an undrafted FA may be less expensive and the production may be similar.

  83. craggt says: Jan 31, 2012 1:08 AM

    The other way of looking at this is that he has so many UFA because they’ve messed up so badly in the draft for the last 5 years or so. Frankly for all his draft day moves and trades the last few years Bill hasn’t drafted all that well. A roster will very few first and second round picks shows that they’ve messed up the draft.

  84. tatum064 says: Jan 31, 2012 1:09 AM

    its going to get exposed on Sunday.

  85. tatum064 says: Jan 31, 2012 1:13 AM

    fballguy says:
    Jan 30, 2012 8:53 PM
    I’m a life long Patriots fan and I have never seen a coach as great as Bill Belichick. Vince Lombardi couldn’t hold Bill’s camcorder.

    And I love Tom Brady too.

    ===================

    Well, prepare to read the “Book of Eli” next Sunday.

    The Ravens gave that game away – blinking on what should’ve been a winning TD

  86. tedmurph says: Jan 31, 2012 1:55 AM

    Difference is BB has last call on drafted players, as he did when Pioli was there. If there is a dis agreement, BB holds sway, unlike Tomlin in Pittsburgh.

  87. hedleykow says: Jan 31, 2012 2:17 AM

    Interesting story, but I feel sorry for those guys. They are going to get demolished by the Giants.

  88. bobhk says: Jan 31, 2012 3:25 AM

    situsavaisprier says:
    Jan 30, 2012 10:52 PM
    lolb23 says:
    Jan 30, 2012 9:21 PM
    31 other teams passed on Gronk. Just sayin’

    ——————————————————-

    Not going to go through all teams, but I’ll say the Giants drafting Jason Pierre Paul was perfectly fine.

     ————–
    Lost in that statement is the fact that pats themselves passed on him in favor of mccourty. Yeah sure belichick and co know exactly what they are doing!!

  89. patsdrukker says: Jan 31, 2012 4:20 AM

    One thing to add here:
    – why was Hernandez drafted in the 4th round?
    – BC everone knew he is talented but he had a bad reputation and they wouldn’t take the risk.

    BB knows how to discipline. Remember R.Moss? He as a Raider? And as a Patriot? And then when he got back on the old track just for a few weeks….
    Look at 85 this year as persona.

    He is pretty much: “My way or ….”

  90. BernardPollardIsAnAss says: Jan 31, 2012 6:00 AM

    As I am sure many of the comments above point out, this sounds like somewhat of a feel-good story, but is actually a point of frustration for many Patriots fans. Having all these undrafted free agents is a painful reminder of how infrequently the Patriots seem to capitalize on draft picks under GM Bill Belichick. I guess all will be forgiven though if they can pull off the win on Sunday.

  91. drednot says: Jan 31, 2012 6:40 AM

    Is anyone else fed up with espn? Why is it they beat us over the head with what NY has to do to stop NE, but won’t tell us what NE has to do to stop NY?

  92. bunjy96 says: Jan 31, 2012 6:43 AM

    11-5 without Brady in 2008 with Cassell.

    So maybe its not all Brady.

    How is Cassell doing now with that other team?

  93. mistrezzrachael says: Jan 31, 2012 7:09 AM

    cappa662 says:
    Jan 30, 2012 8:51 PM
    He should stop stock piling draft picks… because he’s no good at the draft.

    THAT IS A BRILLIANT COMMENT!!!!

    I guess his 2010 draft, including an excellent punter…doesn’t count.

    Belichick puts teams together HIS way…, not afraid to gamble,,,realizes 40% of 1st round picks do not make it….gone after 3-4 years.

    Think he’s the reason they are the standard for ALL pro sports???

  94. tatum064 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:21 AM

    countyk66ers says:
    Jan 30, 2012 9:22 PM
    Belichick is a great coach but Lombardi was legendary.

    ==========================

    That’s why its the Lombardi Trophy, and not the Belichick Trophy.

    how in the hell did that get 38 dislikes?

    That being said, i’m expecting Brady to take his rightful place among the greatest to ever play next Sunday….he’d better, or the N.Y. papers will be all over another loss.

  95. inbbwetrust12 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:21 AM

    all4patriots says:
    Jan 30, 2012 10:33 PM
    “If half of the team is undrafted what happen to the draft picks?”

    ————
    You get 7 draft picks a year, a few more if you have traded down before, add a handful of free agents every year, and that doesn’t get to the normally 15-20 players turned over every season from your roster, Do the math, dude.

    I bet all teams have more undrafted players than players picked in any single round, even the first,

    it’s just that the Patriots have more key contributors than most

    _____

    An excellent argument that I have posted on here many, many times. I guess with a “free” site there are no standards for people to post on here. But, it’s a sound argument. You dress 45 people on gameday…just how many draft picks to you expect to hang around? As everyone knows, BB ha about ten picks per year. If he kept everyone he would turn his entire roster over in 4.5 years. That would mean no Brady, no Mankins, no Wilfork, no Mayo, no Chung, etc etc etc.

    Most people in NFL scouting circles consider the patriots (with Chargers a very close second) to have had the best drafts over the past ten years.

    Oh yeah, someone just wrote a book called “War Room” and it is a story of BB’s draft skills and resulting legacy.

    Hmmmmmmmm

  96. 8man says: Jan 31, 2012 7:56 AM

    I think Deb nailed it. I’d like to think that Belichick is constantly looking for talented and versatile players. So while the Patriots do stock draft picks, at the end of the day, if a free agent is the better choice for that roster, they’ll keep the free agent.

    It’s those sort of options that make a roster constantly better. Someone once said to me, “If you discriminate to tightly in your hiring practices, you shrink your pool of available talent, lose quality people and increase your hiring costs.”

  97. 2sausage11 says: Jan 31, 2012 8:55 AM

    That’s why its the Lombardi Trophy, and not the Belichick Trophy.

    =============================
    Because he coached way before Bill started coaching think before you type

  98. arlingtonassasin says: Jan 31, 2012 8:59 AM

    Look at all the Pats trash talking! What? you mean just opening your mouth isnt trash talking? Well according to Pats fans that’s what the definition is.

  99. ytsejamer1 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:09 AM

    BB loves football players…period. If you do what’s asked, do it well enough, and put in the work…he’ll give you a shot. He values that and thinks with that type of work ethic, he can get more from a player. Top picks are already talented…how much more can he expect to get in relation to cap value? That’s why he has traded down….and down…and down again.

    I personally don’t like it myself but I think we’ll see a revised outlook in future drafts now that there is a rookie cap.

    His drafts in 2005-2008 were pretty awful. The FA pickups save for Moss and Welker really didn’t pan out. That’s what has stunted the defense for the last few years. But his 2010 and 2011 drafts have been pretty decent and fruitful.

  100. vietnambob2473 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:10 AM

    what happened to that plethora of draft picks? You’re going to have a lot of UFAs on your team when the majority of your draft picks are not very good.

  101. brutus9448 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:14 AM

    just goes to show you that all you need in the nfl is a quality QB.
    That;s the only issue I have with sport of football. The QB position makes or breaks it for a team. No other sport is a single position so much more important than all others. It really is not a team sport. Its a QB sport with a bunch of other players to fill in the gap

  102. dyims says: Jan 31, 2012 9:48 AM

    What I find amusing and somewhat amazing is that people like nxsteven are on here knocking the Pats on how and who they draft, who they keep on their roster and what he thinks of BB and co are doing in their jobs..Really, that’s a whole lot of the pot calling the kettle out don’t ya think? How’s all those draft picks of your team(s) working out for ya???? Smell your own stink first before calling out others.

  103. havok82 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:49 AM

    BB’s drafts, like all drafts, are hit and miss. How well has Bill Polian done as a drafter in the last 5 years? Everyone lauded him as a drafting genius, yet the Colts were a steaming mess this year.

    At the end of the day, it is about putting players on the field that can make plays. BB never seems to care if you are a cast off, undrafted, or highly touted. You all get the same shot to make plays. If you don’t, you are gone. It’s very refreshing. There is no entitlement.

    The real reason why people scrutinize his drafts is because of how high profile the media treats him and how he has been labeled a “genius” by the media types. No one is talking about all the busts that other GM’s are making, so why do we care about a coach/GM who is now heading into his 5th SB?

  104. wiley16350 says: Jan 31, 2012 10:05 AM

    The best attribute of Belicheck and the reason he has been so successful with the Patriots can be summed up by 1 word. FLEXIBLE. He isn’t the defensive whiz or draft genius that he is made out to be. He has had many great picks and many horrible ones and sometimes he ignores a total draft (see Brandon Merriweather draft). His defenses aren’t always elite or great. But what makes him different then the majority of coaches is that he is flexible. Most coaches have a certain style that they want to play and they force that week in and week out no matter the opponent. Where the Patriots change up their gameplans based on opponent. One week they’ll attack with short, quick passes and deceptive runs. Another week they’ll pound it out. Sometimes it’s the deep pass that takes focus and other times it’s the screen pass. The same on defense, one week they’ll attack and another they’ll sit back and react. It all depends on the weaknesses of their opponent. Teams that have repeatedly sucked, like the Browns and Bills are teams that are rigid. They attack every opponent the same and constantly parade the kind of team they want to be. These usually are run first teams. They’re too stupid to realize that their rigidity is why they continue to lose. Balance is a big key in life and that is the same in football. Belichick is the same with talent, he is going to play the best players that make the fewest amount of mistakes. He doesn’t care about the players pedigree, if the player isn’t flexible, coachable or smart then he doesn’t want to play them. I have never considered Belicheck a genius because to me his flexibility is just plain common sense. And nothing drives me insane more than coaches that have predictable game plans and refuse to play players that are obviously better just because of another players pedigree.

  105. bozosforall says: Jan 31, 2012 10:57 AM

    situsavaisprier says:
    Jan 30, 2012 8:38 PM
    Not only do a great job of self-scouting, but also getting production out of veterans and after thought players.

    __
    Yet he whiffs on most of his picks after the first round (the rare exceptions being Gronkowski and Hernandez).

    He HAS to use undrafted players and vets to fill all those misses.

  106. jweinsto says: Jan 31, 2012 12:50 PM

    The success of who you draft is generally subject to huge amount of chance, and it generally increases at an increasing rate the farther you get away from the first player selected. Add the chance of injuries, and the draft is a crap shoot. This is because it is difficult to evaluate player talent as this talent can only be viewed within the context of the competition, i.e. other good college players. Further football is a team game, and the importance of how a payer fits into this context is probably paramount. So talent evaluation both competitively and within the context of the team, really starts when you get a player in camp. This is a trial and error iterative process. This is where Bill is genius. That as well as understanding that the only thing that counts is a players competitiveness within the scheme and not where a player was drafted (as Bill recognizes the preeminent role of luck in the whole process. )

  107. 1historian says: Jan 31, 2012 12:56 PM

    “Just WIN, baby.”

    That’s what they do

  108. patpatriot7 says: Jan 31, 2012 4:05 PM

    Prior to 2008, Scott Pioli and his staff (Thomas Demitroff et. al.) were primarily responsible for the Patriots draft. When you are consistently finish at the top of the league, you draft at the bottom. So, you take shots with players who have a big upside, but can also be big flops like Chad Johnson. The Patriots currently have 24 drafted players still on the roster since Belichick was solely responsible for the draft in 2008. Is there another American Conference team that is a consistent contender that has had greater success? Pittsburgh 22, Baltimore 23, Indianapolis 22 and San Diego 16. Furthermore, players that the Patriots have cut have been picked up and are on other teams rosters. Since Coach Belichick became solely responsible for drafting, nearly every player drafted is still in the league.
    As for next year, remember, the Patriots always draft for value, often trading down for additional picks. However, now that there is a rookie cap; that strategy wouldn’t be employed as much any more. The Patriots have four picks in the first two rounds in the 2012 draft. Unless they are overwhelmed with a trade offer, expect them to make those picks -mainly on defense – to strengthen the roster. Furthermore, the positions of greatest need are those that are the strongest in the draft!

  109. kurmudge says: Jan 31, 2012 5:12 PM

    Belichick handles it well, but the bargain basement roster fill still only works because he has a few acknowledged blue chips who were drafted high, on top of his residual blind luck at QB, which had exactly nothing to do with brilliant scouting.

  110. jg725 says: Feb 5, 2012 9:24 AM

    Before everyone makes bellichik out to be “the free-agent master” – i think the giants actually have 1 or 2 more free-agents on their roster…… just saying

  111. swagger52 says: Feb 5, 2012 4:24 PM

    Amazing what you can do with just a few refs like Walt Coleman making up tuck rules.

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