Bill Belichick addresses New England’s recent failure to fully develop draft picks

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The Patriots have set the platinum standard over the past 20 years when it comes to building and maintaining a competitive team. It’s not going quite as well this year, which is raising some pointed questions about the team’s recent history of collecting players.

Tom Curran of NBCSportsBoston.com posed a pointed question to Belichick on Friday regarding the team’s failure to develop draft picks in recent years.

“Over the last four years, drafted players, do you have any idea why you’ve had a harder time getting consistent production and development from the guys you’ve selected in the draft?” Curran asked, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

Belichick paused for at least 13 seconds before saying this: “Well, look, any time you bring a player onto your team, you put him into a role or situation that you think fits him. Sometimes you have to modify that a little bit as you get to know the player. Then you work with him to try to develop that. He competes with other players at whatever position it is, or whatever role it is. Ultimately you choose, or we choose, I choose, the best player out of that competition. So that’s really the process. I don’t know how else to answer the question. Obviously, each player is different, each player competes with different players, positions are different. So I don’t know if there’s a general answer to that.”

Curran followed up, focusing on the success (or not) of players acquired via draft picks.

“I know how much you put into the draft,” Curran said. “I know how much every team puts into the draft. I guess there is a disconnect between whether it’s injuries, development, competition. So not asking a question on it and continuing to write or spitball about it doesn’t do us any good if we don’t ask the guy who is in charge of it.”

Belichick, in response, became a little defensive — and a little check-the-scoreboard-y.

“Well, Tom,” Belichick said, “I’d say the most important thing to me this week is winning games. I’m not going to apologize for our record over the last 20 years. I’ve seen a lot worse. So ultimately we try to put the best team on the field that we can to be competitive, and I don’t really see that changing. So whoever those players are, or aren’t, that’s the responsibility I feel to the team. It’s that competition plays itself out and better players play, whoever they are.”

Curran had one more for Belichick: “I know you referenced ‘over the last 20 years.’ But now over the last four, or really since about 2014, do you think the drafting and production you’re getting from draft players is where you hoped?”

For Belichick, that was the end of the conversation.

“Yeah, you know, honestly, Tom, my focus has been on the Ravens,” Belichick said. “Right now, drafting scorecard, which I understand you want to write about that, which is great — but really trying to focus on getting ready for the Ravens. So I think I’ll leave my attention to that.”

Of course, Belichick could have just said that in response to the first question, and not after Curran eventually put Belichick squarely in checkmate on the subject.

Which Curran definitely did.

35 responses to “Bill Belichick addresses New England’s recent failure to fully develop draft picks

  1. Of course, Belichick could have just said that in response to the first question, and not after Curran eventually put Belichick squarely in checkmate on the subject.

    Which Curran definitely did. Lol more like belichick put Curran in checkmate not another coach I’d rather have then bill.

  2. I’m sure BB doesn’t like it but it’s a valid question. Their recent acquisitions (draft picks and trades) have been unimpressive. Giving up a 2nd for Sanu, which Pats fans was genius, turned out to be a disaster. Even worse, you don’t see players wanting to go there like they did before. I get the feeling BB is starting to realize letting TB go was a big mistake.

  3. He’s been drafting well on the O line, but his record of drafting RBs and WRs high is really bad.

    Every team has hits and misses, but the Pats misses are exaggerated because they pick late in the rounds and people generally look at who Belichick picks and expect them to be good.

    But you absolutely deserve scrutiny when you pick Sony Michel when Nick Chubb is still on the board, or N’Keal Harry when DK Metcalfe, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson are still on the board.

  4. until Bill goes on a prolonged losing streak… he will always be able to point out that the Patriots have been on a prolonged (20 years) era of dominance and he, and he alone, is the one that called ALL the shots during that time frame…. I’ve never seen a team do more with less talent than some of those Patriot teams over the years…

  5. Or he could have just said “Look, we don’t have #12 any more to cover up drafting mistakes”.

  6. Yet none of this would be happening if the media acknolwedged Brady was sabotaging the team the last 2 years and he succeeded last year.

  7. I think Tom’s question was valid and reasonable.
    Bill explained the process of developing players.
    Bill effectively-refused to address why recent player development hasn’t worked out as well as prior years (many years).

    It’s not like a 4-year streak is nothing to scoff at… that’s quite a lull!

  8. The draft is one of those things that people always use against Belichick, because its convenient. In his 20 years as coach, I would say his batting average on draft picks is right up there with the best of them. I would take a guess that if you get it right 1 out 3 times, over a prolonged period, you are doing well. So when the best in the league around 40% success rate, why is it a knock on Belichick for being at 35% over his last 200 picks? For every N’Keal Harry there is a Michael Onwenu. This is not disputable. Was Harry a bad pick? Yes, it was. Was Onwenu one of the best draft value picks of the last decade? Yes it was.

    Curran has a legitimate question, and Belichick recognized that, and answered it as best he could. I thought it was a really honest answer, versus just moving along, or giving some generic non answer. At the same time, are you actually saying Bill is wrong? The track record over the last 20 doesnt speak for itself?

  9. Well, the Patriots lost 8 coaches to other teams plus their national and college scouts. They are hallowed out this season. Then BB didn’t pursue to keep Brady. This dismal record is to be expected. Hopefully our Pats will rebuild and be stronger and not lose more personnel assets.

  10. Because drafting is a lot of times a crap shoot. They’ve gotten it right for a long time – more so than any other franchise. Not the end of the world to admit that the last few years didn’t pan out as well as the previous 15-16.

  11. in 1995 belichick traded DOWN to get craig powell mike frederick and a ther then traded the 4th rnd for ..wait for it….. steve bono….. derrick brooks was on the board and rated waaaayyy higher…… belichick trades down often for what i call a belichick “gem” lesser kn own players that are 9 out of 10 times a bust… Brady def saved belichick from getting fired in NE because Brady made Bill great.. defiantly not the other way around this above was just one example there are tons more of bad trades by bill belichick

  12. one more.. in 1994 in Cleveland he traded UP to get Derrick alexander.. in CLE at the time we were who????? mind you Isaac Bruce was on the board.. in CLE when the trade came across and my party we all were CERTAIN it was to grab Bruce before the rams and bengals picked… NOPE History bengals again screwed up and JUMPED on Darnay Scott and the RAMS got their man……

  13. “Of course, Belichick could have just said that in response to the first question.”
    ————–
    That would have been a cop-out answer. At least BB tried to provide a reasonable explanation.

  14. Was Onwenu one of the best draft value picks of the last decade?

    ——————————

    Seriously? A productive 3rd day interior lineman is a dime a dozen!

    As a Vikings fan that have had terrible OL play for a decade I can still easily say that Danielle Hunter, Stefon Diggs and even an UDFA in Erik Wilson are far more valuable than a top 15 OG… and I’m sure the other 31 teams have 4-5 great value picks of their own.

    He’s a great player… but a single day 3 pick doesn’t justify a decade of bad drafts propped up by the best QB of all time

  15. Or, BB could have simply noted the basic truth that there are always ebbs and flows when it comes to drafting success. Doing well with drafting is not defined by snapshots, but by complete track records, as well as the team results that were achieved in part by those complete draft results.

  16. itsamadmadmadmadworld says:
    November 13, 2020 at 10:57 am
    ……I get the feeling BB is starting to realize letting TB go was a big mistake.

    I don’t. If Bill had paid Tom the $25 million/year he wanted then he would have had no money to get him some WR’s and TE’s. Pats were salary cap strapped earlier this year when TB was a free agent. And even if Tom had been here this year with the current cast of talent, Pats would probably have a couple more wins but they would not have been a super bowl contending team and Brady would have been miserable again (as he was last year). TB was not willing to work with the rookies last year. And if you’re not in Tom’s circle of trust, you ain’t getting the ball.

    Tom is 43 years old and can’t play forever (even though he thinks he probably can). At some point you have to hit the reset button and Bill decided it was this year.

  17. It’s so easy to wait a few years after a draft and act incredulous that your team didn’t select a star player on another team. And then say – I couldn’t believe it at the time!

  18. I love it when people look back 30 years to his time in Cleveland and conveniently forget that he turned a 3-13 team into a playoff team in 3 years. He is the last Browns coach to actually win a playoff game.

    As far as drafts, just tell us who is going to get injured and we’ll avoid drafting them.
    Same with Sanu, who simply got seriously injured a few games into his patriots tenure. Compare that to Amendola or Welker, who stayed healthy. Drafts are a gamble and players who were skipped over sometimes overcome their risks and red flags and become good players. Promising players sometimes don’t work out with the team that drafts them (Favre, Chris Carter, etc.) and some are slower to develop. Would it be better if he drafted talented prima-donnas who get greedy after 3 years and burn the team down? nah. As a fan, I would rather he not draft talented jerks.

    They played in 4 of the last 6 superbowls and won 3 of them. Sure, look at DK Metcalfe, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson and tell me how many superbowls they have won. Take all the time you need.

    I am not going to criticize other teams, I honestly feel bad for how much they struggle compared to the Pats over the passed two decades. Pats fans are spoiled and this coach and team has given us everything we could hope for. This year is a down year but I am not any less a fan. Love our QB Cam and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and next year when the Pats salary cap will allow them to dominate in free agency.

  19. Brady at least could “make players around him better”. Cam can’t and Stidham and Hoyer do not even know what the expression means.

  20. unfairbutbalanced says:
    November 13, 2020 at 1:13 pm
    Belichick has a losing record without Brady.

    1 3 Rate This

    —————-

    False. As GM and Coach with decision making power, he is 17-11 without Brady.

    Thanks.

  21. As a Pats fan, I DO NOT CARE how many draft picks or players are Pro Bowl or All Pro Selected. As a fan, it comes down to winning games and it takes a 53 man roster week in and week out every game to win consistently. He’s put together winning rosters for 20 years. Yes Brady helped, but he never played defense or special teams.

    This is the ultimate team game, would you really rather have a roster full of pro bowlers like the Cowboys over the last few years or an opportunity to win championships.

    BB has earned the right to rebuild the franchise, judging him after 9 games is weak sauce.

  22. They should have had Ron Borges drafting all along – he was right 105% of the time, just ask him.

  23. Belichick has proved to be a poor judge of talent throughout his 20 years as a GM. As a head coach, he has a losing record without Tom Brady at quarterback. He was fired in Cleveland, jilted the Jets and rode Brady’s coattails for 20 years. Now he is going to have another losing season and his koolaid drinking backers make every excuse for him

  24. They played in 4 of the last 6 superbowls and won 3 of them. Sure, look at DK Metcalfe, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson and tell me how many superbowls they have won. Take all the time you need.

    —————

    Aren’t these guys all in just their second year? You do know Harry hasn’t won anything either right?

  25. They played in 4 of the last 6 superbowls and won 3 of them. Sure, look at DK Metcalfe, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson and tell me how many superbowls they have won. Take all the time you need.

    —————

    Aren’t these guys all in just their second year? You do know Harry hasn’t won anything either right?

    – – –
    You’re re exactly making my point, the TEAMS that drafted those players have not been to a SB in over 6 years, except Seattle and we know how that ended… with an UDRFA winning the superbowl for the Pats after a come from behind rally.

    I mean, if you seriously want to make the argument that Washington Football team drafts better than the pats, by all means, let’s compare records. Was Washington a draft genius, or lucky?

  26. Brady covered up all the mistakes, and everyone thought Belichick was smarter than everyone else. Now the media is treating Belichick like any other coach who doesn’t have the best QB. Now Andy Reid gets to be the GOAT. Every move he makes is a great move because Patrick Mahomes erases all the mistakes. Don’t blame Belichick. He didn’t invent this stuff. It’s been going on since the beginning of the NFL.

  27. timbuk3 says:
    November 13, 2020 at 6:58 pm
    They played in 4 of the last 6 superbowls and won 3 of them. Sure, look at DK Metcalfe, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson and tell me how many superbowls they have won. Take all the time you need.

    —————

    Aren’t these guys all in just their second year? You do know Harry hasn’t won anything either right?

    – – –
    You’re re exactly making my point, the TEAMS that drafted those players have not been to a SB in over 6 years, except Seattle and we know how that ended… with an UDRFA winning the superbowl for the Pats after a come from behind rally.

    I mean, if you seriously want to make the argument that Washington Football team drafts better than the pats, by all means, let’s compare records. Was Washington a draft genius, or lucky?

    —————

    I’m not arguing whether he’s bad or good that’s above my pay grade. I’m just saying all these guys you pointed out are young. Unfair to judge them on Super Bowls just yet.

  28. “Brady covered up all the mistakes, and everyone thought Belichick was smarter than everyone else.”

    Yes, Brady played tremendous defense last year while helping them carry the team.

  29. It is a valid question. Watching Belechick sit in silence for 12 seconds on Zoom after a question he is annoyed by wearing seven masks may be how I remember football from 2020

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