Bill Belichick doesn’t really understand drafting for need

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a press conference on Friday to discuss topics related to this year’s draft and he was predictably mum about what directions the team might go with the eight picks currently in their possession.

Belichick said the team is open to all possibilities, including using picks in trades for players already in the league, and dispatched a question about drafting a quarterback to groom behind Tom Brady by saying they’ll do what’s best for the team. Some have called adding a young quarterback a need for the Patriots while others have pointed to offensive tackle, but Belichick made it clear that he doesn’t see the draft through the prism of filling needs.

“Well, again, the whole draft need thing is — I don’t really understand that,” Belichick said. “You put a card up on the board. That doesn’t mean the guy is a good player. I think it’s important to acquire good players wherever they are. If you take a player at a position that you might so called “need” but he’s not good enough to fill that need, then it’s a wasted pick. So, I don’t understand the whole need thing. I understand player value, and that’s what we try to go by.”

With five picks in the first three rounds, the Patriots have the draft capital to move around the board to get players they’ve identified as being strong fits for their team. Based on what Belichick said on Friday, those fits may not be the same ones that those outside the organization think they’ll be targeting.

49 responses to “Bill Belichick doesn’t really understand drafting for need

  1. thegreatjimbrown says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:23 am
    He should know. He’s drafted some real duds over the years.

    —————-

    Name a GM that hasn’t? Not every pick can be a winning lottery ticket.

  2. harryshavik says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:22 am
    Please cue up C- & D+ draft grades because BB didn’t draft a LT.

    In unison: “Who’s going to protect Brady’s blindside? He’s FORTY ONE!”

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Last years draft pick at #85 overall

  3. He should know. He’s drafted some real duds over the years.
    ——
    Literally everyone has drafted some duds over the years. Everyone.

  4. thegreatjimbrown says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:23 am

    He should know. He’s drafted some real duds over the years.
    ————————-

    Every team does. No one really knows how a player is going to do in the NFL, until they play in the NFL.

    That’s why Belichick is always making roster moves. Regardless, it’s hard to argue about his results.

  5. So if you lose all your QBs in free agency you aren’t going to draft QBs to fill those needs? Of course you would. What is so hard to understand? If you’re loaded at wide receiver , you aren’t going to draft one early in the draft because of his perceived grade and waste a pick on a player you don’t need.

  6. thegreatjimbrown says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:23 am
    He should know. He’s drafted some real duds over the years.
    _________________________________________________

    He has also made some of the most brilliant picks in NFL history. Derp.

  7. I know the media loves the Parcells disciple angle but this is where BB is as much a disciple of Jimmy Johnson than anyone (and BB will go into great length giving JJ credit for advising him another JJ influence: collect draft picks.). You collect the players you want to coach – not by the need for the position. You are not going to draft a tackle, who may be the highest rated tackle on the board but knowing full well he may not be a difference maker for your team, just because he is a tackle, over a talented Safety, even though you may have a couple of talented Safeties.

    Talent is talent. The good organizations make that work for them.

  8. The Texans can explain it.

    They’ll trade up for whatever garbage offensive tackle is available in the second round.

  9. .
    Belichick will draft for need, but when he does it will be for a particular player to fill that need. For example, he moved up to take LT Garcia and back to snag DE Rivers in last year’s draft.

    BTW…. It’s very unusual for the out of town crowd to be so critical of Belichick’s drafting while most Patriots fans are fairly satisfied with his performance.
    .

  10. Before anyone criticizes Belichick’s drafting skills, remember that year after year he’s drafting late in every round. He doesn’t get the “luxury” of periodic bad seasons like the Giants, Ravens, Colts, Jets (well, every year actually), etc. get, where they can then potentially get a stud prospect. He also always preaches that team building is more than the actual draft and he’ll focus on unsigned rookies, value free agents, motivated older veterans, etc. It’s why all they do is win….

  11. So Belichick doesn’t understand drafting for need but does understand player value. I believe half of that. The equation for determining player value includes what position he plays and what positions your team needs to upgrade. When the Patriots grade players, they consider their team needs in determining the player’s value. Sometimes a guy is so good that you have to take him regardless of whether he fits a perceived need, but usually need breaks the tie between players with similar ability.

  12. People look at next years roster and think that’s all a teams draft needs are based on. Smart teams look at the bigger picture and play their moves a couple steps ahead. It’s so short sighted to think you’re only drafting based on the upcoming season and nothing else.

  13. Really. .. what was the thinking behind Hernandez Bill?

    *******

    Aaron Hernandez was a great player until he was overshadowed by Gronk and became injury prone. Like All-Pro great.

  14. factschecker says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:37 am
    He should know. He’s drafted some real duds over the years.
    ——
    Literally everyone has drafted some duds over the years. Everyone.

    ——————————————————————

    Right…but you Pats fans sure love to bash other GM’s for their mistakes!

  15. There’s nothing especially Belichicky about this answer. All NFL GMs pretend they ignore need and focus on best available players. Its considered terribly uncool in NFL circles to admit you’re going to address needs in the draft.

  16. He’s right but he hasn’t always abided by that edict. As great a Coach as Belichick is, he hasn’t been a great personnel guy when it comes to the draft.

  17. My only criticism of his comment is that there is no one way to go into a draft by either selecting need or player value, nothing is absolute, especially in selecting talent and how it transforms into the NFL. As previous posters have mentioned, it’s a combination of both. He passed on DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai and Marice Jones-Drew for Laurence Maroney and he didn’t select a player based on value because he could have picked Santonio Holmes or Nick Mangold, both of which were rated a higher value in the 2006 Draft. I’m not trying to sell him short, I’m just saying it’s not that simple, if it were he’d be batting 1,000.

  18. Really. .. what was the thinking behind Hernandez Bill?

    *******

    Aaron Hernandez was a great player until he was overshadowed by Gronk and became injury prone. Like All-Pro great.

    *******

    All-pro great? More like Top 15 in the league good. Borderline probowler.

  19. Kyle Shanahan said the same thing last year. It’s one thing to know an area of concern, it’s another to draft a college player a team has highly rated that fills that position at the level a team requires.

  20. crackillsdumb says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:59 am
    Really. .. what was the thinking behind Hernandez Bill?
    ——————————————-
    You mean the pro bowler H-back/tight end Hernandez? On the field I’d say that worked out incredibly when he and Gronk were both lined up…

  21. mumfio says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:45 am
    So if you lose all your QBs in free agency you aren’t going to draft QBs to fill those needs? Of course you would. What is so hard to understand? If you’re loaded at wide receiver , you aren’t going to draft one early in the draft because of his perceived grade and waste a pick on a player you don’t need.
    ———————————————————————————
    Um, no you are wrong. In 2000, they had just paid Bledsoe a record contract. They had 3 QB’s on the roster, and very little cap space. No need for a QB, but they drafted one in the sixth round, because his value was so high they could not pass on him.

  22. Of course Belichick drafts for need. He just doesn’t reach for need. The year Wilfolk was drafted, a nose tackle wasn’t the Pats biggest need, but he represented such good value that the Pats had to take him. If there was another player available in a need position that had the same talent as Wilfolk I assure you Belichick would have selected that player and not Wilfolk. He takes this same approach throughout the draft and fills in needs via free agency and I drafted players if those needs still exist. So he places value above need but when all else is equal or close to equal he drafts for need.

  23. Most fans would be thrilled with BBs draft “success” if they also had his Super Bowl success.

  24. Bill got Tom Brady. That’s what got him to his status. He wasn’t stellar before #12 so his way isn’t necessarily the right way.
    ======

    12 Super Bowls in his career, winning 7.. nearly killed Joe Montana, twice.. stoned two of the best offenses in NFL history in the Super Bowl..

    .. I’d bet the farm he’d be one of the legendary figures in the NFL with or WITHOUT Tom Brady.

  25. grogansheroes says:
    April 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Um, no you are wrong. In 2000, they had just paid Bledsoe a record contract. They had 3 QB’s on the roster, and very little cap space. No need for a QB, but they drafted one in the sixth round, because his value was so high they could not pass on him.
    _________

    Nobody drafts for need in the late rounds, unless it’s a kicker. And having three QBs on the roster doesn’t mean you don’t think you could upgrade at #3 QB. Brady was drafted to see if he could replace the #3 guy, not to take Bledsoe’s job. They would never have considered drafting a quarterback in the first round no matter how high they had him rated.

  26. Sure Belichick has picked some duds. But because of his team’s success he almost always has a low pick. The further down you go in the draft the more likely your pick is going to be a crapshoot no matter how diligent you are.

  27. testmicroblog22 says:

    April 13, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    “Literally everyone has drafted some duds over the years. Everyone.”

    I can honestly say that I have not. Not once. Been called a dud though

    Awesome !

  28. The whole thing is a complete crapshoot.

    The so-called draft experts rank the players, but what really matters is how that player performs within each teams’ system and coaching.

  29. if you disagree with belichick on how to build and maintain a football team, then you also probably think you know more about building wealth than warren buffett, understand gravity better than einstein, and have children in the slow reading group.

  30. admittedly einstein was no belichick, but at least give einstein credit for making massive (pun alert) contributions to gravity. i think our understanding of a unified theory would be much more advanced if belichick had majored in physics or had time to dabble in it. ever modest, when asked he said “ i’m just trying to coach my football team”

  31. patswhatsup says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:47 am
    thegreatjimbrown says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:23 am
    He should know. He’s drafted some real duds over the years.
    _________________________________________________

    He has also made some of the most brilliant picks in NFL history. Derp.
    ———-

    Not just some of the most brilliant picks, but THE most brilliant pick with landing Brady.

  32. freedomofspeechyesway says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:18 am
    And he’s right.

    And he’s not alone. Most teams draft this way. BPA. (Best player available.)

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