Analysis of "pipeline" picks - Updated

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by DaBruinz, Jan 12, 2009.

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  1. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Patchick started this thread prior to the 2008 draft. Instead of resurrecting the whole thread, I’ve just updated the portion on the research I did on the players who could be considered coming from the “pipeline”. In previous years, I had reviewed the Pats picks strictly in terms of Saban because his was the only name being mentioned as part of the "pipeline." I did some more research and have now included the likes of Urban Meyer, Pat Hill, Kirk Ferentz, and Charlie Weis to this list. It was made know to me that Hill and Ferentz were on the Browns staff with BB, so I have updated those two in particular.

    In the past, I have felt that the "pipeline" theory was a myth and, well, it kind of is if you just look at Saban or just players from teams that the coaches have coached. However, when you look at it from a broader perspective of whether or not the pipeline coaches might be giving the Patriots information on players their teams have played against, there is clearly something to be said. And that is that the BB and his staff DO rely on the “pipeline coaches” for information.

    Here are the picks that Saban either coached or coached against (Bold are players who have contributed to the Patriots) prior to his joining Miami:
    Jarvis Green, Rohan Davey, TJ Turner, Greg Robinson-Randall, Marquise Hill, Ben Watson, Guss Scott, David Givens, Matt Light, Cedric Cobbs, Brock Williams, Jabari Holloway, Tom Brady, and David Nugent.

    Since Saban returned to the college ranks, here are the picks he might have had insight on because he coached against them: Jerod Mayo - Tennessee and Jonathan Wilhite - Auburn.

    The Patriots have not drafted anyone that Saban has coached since he returned to the college ranks.

    Saban could have had a hand in on Eric Alexander and Randall Gay, UDFA, as well.

    For the purpose of this post and to keep it in line with other posts on the subject I've done, I am including players came directly from teams or who the coach's team played against. Players in RED mean that more than one coach in the pipeline have seen them play.

    Pat Hill - (Started in 1997 at Fresno State.)
    Logan Mankins and James Sanders - Fresno State, Clint Oldenburg - Colorado State, Daniel Graham – Colorado, TJ Turner – Michigan State, Ryan Claridge - UNLV, Justin Rogers - SMU

    Charlie Weis (Started in 2005 at Notre Dame)
    Mike Richardson - Notre Dame , Shawn Crable- Michigan, Jerod Mayo - Tennessee, Matt Cassel - USC, Dan Stevenson - Notre Dame, Oscar Lua, USC, Matt Slater - UCLA,

    Kirk Ferentz - (Started at Iowa in 1998.)
    Mike Elgin - Iowa, Ellis Hobbs - Iowa State, David Thomas- Texas, Shawn Crable - Michigan, Laurence Maroney - Minnesota, Eugene Wilson – Illinois, Matt Light – Purdue, Tom Brady – Michigan, J.R. Redmond – AZ State, Greg Robinson Randall – Michigan State, David Nugent – Purdue, Christian Morton – Illinois, Guss Scott – Florida, Marquis Hill - LSU

    Urban Meyer - (Utah & Florida , Not sure when he and BB became friends)
    Chad Jackson - Florida, Jeremy Mincey - Florida, Mike Elgin - Iowa, Jerod Mayo - Tennessee, Jonathan Wilhite - Auburn, Shawn Crable - Michigan

    What I find interesting is that Shawn Crable, Jerod Mayo, and Jonathan Wilhite show up on the list of at least 2 coaches.

    What is also interesting is the number of players that Kirk Ferentz could have had input on. Its as many as Nick Saban.

    Something to keep in mind is that these coaches are probably feeding information to the Pats on a lot more players than this. They are probably feeding both positive and negative to the Pats. Which probably influences who, in particular, they stay away from. So this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  2. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

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    Doing up a quick count, 38 picks by Belichick since the 2001 draft could have had input from his coaching tree. The Pats have only made 67 picks in that time frame. So, roughly 56.7% of the picks could have been influenced by one or more of the coaches in Belichick's tree.
  3. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    great analysis. Makes sense, but at 57% it's hard to tell if it's just coincidence or if you're really on to something. Why did you put Graham, Oldenburg, Rogers under Pat Hill. I don't think they ever played Fresno State.
  4. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    maybe they played against frensno state a lot?

    also more pluses on ur analysis, very good

    one question though, would u consider pete carrol as a coach u can put on this list?
  5. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Fresno State plays SMU every year, hence Justin Rogers. Fresno State played Colorado (Graham) in 2001 and Colorado State (Oldenburg) in 2001, 2002, and 2003.

    I think that 56% is a bit more than a coincidence.
  6. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    We could consider Carroll, though I don't know how much influence he really has since he never worked for BB.
  7. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    As you've stated, this is just the tip of the iceberg. :cool:

    Case in point:

    Perhaps several of the Pats draft picks came as a result of recommendations by Pats coaches (past and present). David Nugent, Purdue, was drafted the same year that Randy Melvin was hired as the Pats DL coach. Melvin was the DE coach at Purdue while Nugent was there. I'm 100% certain Melvin spoke highly of him.

    The closest player so far was Keith Saunders, an UDFA out of Alabama, who worked out for the Pats back in April (but didn't sign). I'm sure "The Saban Connection" will soon be revived. ;)

    I replied to this before. Saban was a hands-on coach with his DBs at LSU. Worked with them on techniques, etc. Both played for Saban -- of course he recommended them.

    I'm also not sure when they became friends, but they knew each other when Meyer was the WRs coach at Notre Dame, coaching David Givens his last three years. Keep in mind, one of BB's closest friends was Lou Holtz, longtime coach at ND. Coaches do visit each other. The coaching fraternity spreads far beyond just head coaches, but to position coaches as well. Want to get the truth about a prospect, talk to the hands-on coach.


    Thanks for the topic...:)

    Oh, I forgot to mention one tidbit. Remember Jarron Gilbert, the prospect talked about here - Well, Fresno St. beat them this season... wonder what Pat Hill will have to say about this co-defensive player of the year. If we draft him, chances are Hill had something positive to say, if we don't...
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  8. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    Is it really? I'll buy the Pat Hill connection since relatively few players are drafted from that conference. But Ferentz coaches in the Big Ten and Meyer coaches in the SEC. Regardless of the coaches involved, the Pats are going to get a significant number of their players from these conferences. Add in Weis and the ND links to the PAC Ten and you have almost half the BCS schools covered by these 3 coaches.

    So the point is that about half the Pats rookie players come from the SEC, Big Ten, Notre Dame, USC and UCLA. Not that surprising. I'm sure Belichick uses coaching contacts to help make draft decisions and discover players his scouts may have missed...but outside of Pat Hill I don't see any broad influence.
  9. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I respectfully disagree, Metaphors. Looking at the LSU players that came here during Saban's time, it's hard to discount that influence. We also don't know where the Pats looked to draft Iowa players, for example, that came highly recommended but might have gotten scooped up before they were available to NE.

    Granted, a few more "ifs" than I'd like, but considering we're talking about a handful of coaches within a field of dozens of BCS teams, it's easy to see that the extra word of a coaching confidante (for better or worse) can help make a decision.
  10. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams I'm no Mona Lisa Vito.... Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Both Saban and Myer have not been in place long enough for guys that they recruited to come through Florida and Alabama. So picks from these schools may start coming. Of course both of the are in the premier conference in college football (I'm assuming that nobody wants to debate this fact with me, but if you disagree, feel free) the SEC. So having two sets of eyes in the SEC, and one an offensive coach, and the other a defensive guy, is got to be a great asssistance to the Pats scouting.

    I'm very excited about Whilite, I thought that he got better by leaps and bounds every game he played. He was pretty good at Auburn, but maybe BB got some insight on him from Meyer, Saban or both. I thought that Mayo would be a good player, but I never thought that he would be "this good", plus the Pats got what they needed out of the first round of the draft and picked up some extra picks by trading down a few slots. But anyway you cut it the SEC guys, were far and above the rest of the draft class.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  11. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    I guess what we need to know is the percentage of all draftees who fit this description to compare. But no, I'm not volunteering to calculate. :)
  12. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Interesting take, good points.
  13. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams I'm no Mona Lisa Vito.... Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Last years 1st round picks per confrence:




  14. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Ah okay, I thought you were just doing the analysis based on in conference opponents. This makes it even more detailed.

    I see Graham and Oldenburg played Pat Hill, but not Rogers:
    SMU Football :: SMUMUSTANGS.COM - The Official Site of SMU Athletics
  15. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Dude! Sick research! :rocker:
  16. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    I have to stand corrected. 2003 and 2004, SMU and Fresno State played. Both those years, Rogers was at SMU. Its only been recently that SMU and Fresno State stopped playing one another as they played each other every year from 2000 to 2004.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  17. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    I tend to agree. For example, Yes, since Fresno St. played Colorado one year, maybe BB asked Hill for his impressions, but is he going to let a coach who played the player one year significantly alter his opinion? And is Hill's impression going to be anything that can't be picked up on film?

    I think that the second degree of separation touches 57% of draft picks isn't really extraordinary...or unusual. Most NFL teams probably have a like figure.

    Now, I'm not out-of-hand dismissing this. Obviously a guy like Saban who not only plays against most of the SEC every year and probably watches every SEC game on film, but likely recruited a lot of the players who he's going up against, will have a lot of information about some players....going back to high school. But let's not contaminate the discussion by bringing in players whom a "BB" coach happened to play against once in a non-conference matchup.

    This exercise also assumes that we wouldn't have drafted Mayo or Wilhite if they didn't play against Saban-coached teams, and that Saban convinced BB he should draft them. I don't think we can say that.
  18. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    How about a list of schools that played Fresno State, Iowa, Alabama, Notre Dame, or Florida in 2008 where there are at least 2+ schools matching coached against. I wish I had the time to do it myself.
    I'm thinking it may give us a better picture of what schools BB will be tracking most predraft.
  19. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    dryheat. It's called input. From coaches whose opinions BB trusts, rather than some coach giving BB a line of bs so his player will get drafted. And some of these coaches (not all), have coached in the Belichick system. In technical lingo, they're able to communicate whether or not 'player A' would fit in the Pats system. Pat Hill and Saban are good examples. Sure Hill only played Colorado once, but that was Daniel Graham's Mackey award winning season, and Hill was BB's TE coach at Cleveland. Chances are, Hill was speaking to BB as a TE coach -- not as Hill the HC. Same would apply to Oldenburg. Hill not only played Colorado St twice, but as the former OL coach for BB, he knows a thing or two about OT prospects.

    We all know the Saban history by now. But BB's relationship with Nick extends beyond similar defensive schemes. They both seek out similar players. Character, coachability, size to play the position, are all qualities they both look for.

    BB doesn't tell his scouts and coaches, "Skip scouting the conference, I'll just give Pat Hill a call." ;) :D

    Seriously, these connections are just part of a much larger process, and an effort by BB in covering all of the bases on a player. But some of these connections are rooted in trust, and in some cases -- friendships. And awaiting, lie opinions BB is more apt to respect than not.
  20. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    You're not wrong.

    My point was that if you have that list of five or six coaches, times 10-13 games played, times 3-5 years, you could probably cover about two-thirds of the D1 eligibles. I think we're reaching here in some cases that player A was drafted largely because coach A, who is Belichick's friend, played against him.
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