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Some insight into Belichick's draft day philosophy

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

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    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/2007-09-20-1144316459_x.htm

    A few years ago, Bill Belichick was asked how an undrafted free agent cornerback named Randall Gay had performed so well in the NFL when he wasn't even a starter at LSU.

    "We thought he was pretty good in college," Belichick replied. "He was just behind a guy who will be a first-round draft pick."


    A little while ago I posted a long analysis of Belichick's draft day patterns, concluding that the Patriots have a solid, somewhat predictable drafting philosophy that is far from "take the best player available". But also, it is divergent from "take the guy who helps us the most." Rather, it is "take the guy who helps us the most, so long as his position is of value where we are drafting." The above quote further supports this argument....


    [Edited: please do not post full copyrighted articles, it gets this site in trouble. Just let people follow the link. Thanks!]
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  2. FarScapeR

    FarScapeR On the Game Day Roster

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    I think Belichick's approach for QBs is to find a young, promising QB in the mold of Tom Brady, for the purpose of eventually transferring Brady's brain into said QB's body.
     
  3. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    1. DLinemen yes. Offensive linemen? No. one (1) in the very bottom of the first round. Their left tackle is not even a first rounder.

    Tight ends? Clear physical difference etc?, not the ones they've drafted. They've gone big for TEs and haven't gotten value.

    2. CBs. They've had a first rounder (Law) for most of BB's tenure. They drafted a consensus first rounder by trading up in the second, then switched him to safety out of necessity. They got lucky with a small school corner (it happens) and have not yet given up on signing hinm long term IMO.

    To say there is little difference in talent between a 1st and 7th round corner is just absurd. Because of BB's relationship with Saban, they knew a guy who was talented but unknown because he was always hurt and ended up a backup. That's the advantage of connections.

    I'd do a little more research before writing the doctoral thesis on Pats cornerback tendencies.

    3. If you have future linebackers figured out, you're a better man than me.:confused:

    Cornerbacks are way higher draft priority than linebackers. That one astounds me. Keep in mind they were paying a gazillion dollars for an all pro CB for quite a while

    Hybrid skilled players. What's that?
     
  4. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...44316459_x.htm

    Good article, by the way. Sammy Morris is a versatile BB pickup who helps every time he's on the field.

    A lot of teams keep guys who want to start as backups and they can be malcontents. Morris knows he's a backup and needs to do a number of things. It doesn't matter what his potential is, he plays his best when needed and at short notice.
     
  5. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    As I posted in another thread, your analysis is almost the opposite of the truth. When we look at units where the sample size of young players is sufficient -- namely DL, OL, DB, maybe TE, maybe WR -- the keepers are spread among rounds more often than not.

    DL: 3 1sts, 2 4ths, 1 6th, 1 UDFA (Counting K. Brown but not S. Thomas)
    OL: 1 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 2 5ths, 1 UDFA, plus some young guys who were almost like UDFAs.
    DB: 1 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 2 4ths, 1 UDFA
    WR: 2 2nd, 1 7th (counting Branch, Givens, Jackson, admittedly a stretch since otherwise I was only counting CURRENT players)
    TE: 1-2 1sts, 1 3rd (depending on whether one counts Graham)

    And that's the keepers. There also have been plenty of second-day tries who didn't make it at most of the positions.
     
  6. BlitzFritz

    BlitzFritz Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    this is a fascinating topic of course!!

    i appreciate the attempt to de-code the Beoli approach (and i am sure every other team in the league is trying to do this too!!)

    since the original thesis appears to be a reach given the facts, where does that leave us? back to where we started?

    1. We like mid to late first rounders cause they have more value.

    2. We dont draft linebackers on the first day.

    3. We DO draft for need (we just say we dont). But we only do that if there is value on the board in that position. (We needed a safety to replace Rodney. We needed a RB to replace Dillon. We needed a TE to replace Graham.)

    4. Is the secret simply that we do a better job of talent evaluation FOR THE PATRIOT SYSTEM? (hard working, dedicated, good enough talent set for the position, limited ego, ability to be coached and learn, some versatility in position )

    5. We value DL massively more than almost every other team in the league. BB obviously began this journey by building a top flight run stopping D. And DL has been the place to invest 1st rounders each year. Now we are looking for value behind those 3-4 guys.

    6. I have no idea what we are doing w QBs....why we draft more of them, waste roster slots....bring in more of them on practice squad.... No one is replacing Brady or another 5 years. The guy who takes Bradys place is in high school right now. So we are just managing risk, and maybe trying to find a diamond in the rough for trade value? (Cassell, Guitierrez?)

    Fun stuff. I would love to hear what other ppl think.
     
  7. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I think it's hard to find too many patterns except perhaps that we do not take LBs high.

    I see someone say we do not take CBs high, but we took Wilson and Samuel in the same year (and what a year!! also got Warren and Koppen).

    I believe most teams get most players from the draft. Do we know that the Pats are that much better than other teams? Is this just an uncompared comparison?

    I looked back and saw that in 2000, Brady was really the only player with a significant and lasting contribution and he came in the 6th; in 2001, it was Seymour and Light only.

    There have been some good deep years more recently: Warren, Koppen, Wilson, and Samuel in one year; and later, Mankins, Kaczur, Hobbs, and Sanders.

    One interesting thing -- we have not missed on a first rounder in the BB era. And maybe that's enough.

    For some reason, it appears we have hit decent contributors in every round except the 4th, unless I'm missing something. Even 7th round has been better with Patrick Pass and David Givens.
     
  8. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Strike that last comment -- Samuel was a 4th. Although it still seems not as good as some lower rounds.
     
  9. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How is it that you say you have no idea what they are doing with QBs, but then go on to say they are just managing risk? That's exactly it. While Brady may not be going anywhere for 5 years, it would be irresponsible of the Patriots to NOT have someone who can step in for Brady in the even that Brady is injured. That person won't have to be Brady. They just have to be able to play solidly at QB.

    Its not a waste of a roster slot to have a QB who knows the system and a QB who you like enough to develop into the system in case the 1st back-up leaves, which is a big possibility with Cassel. There are at least 3 teams in the NFL where Cassel would be as good as or better than the current QB. The Raiders, the Bears and the Dolphins. The Ravens could be a 4th. And it seems like every year there is a team that ends up in a QB emergency because they lose their starter and don't have an adequate back-up. Teams that have exhibited this recently are the Raiders, Vikings, Eagles, Phins and Bears.

    People seem to not understand the value of a quality back-up quarterback. All you have to do is go back to 2001 and think about where the Pats would be today if they hadn't kept Brady as the 4th QB in 2000.
     
  10. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    A hybrid skilled player is someone whose skills project out to more than one position. Ala Eugene Wilson and Brandon Meriweather. Or a guy like Adalius Thomas.
     
  11. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    The past two years have not been great LB draft classes, esp for 3-4 Ds. I was surprised they let David Harris go this year, but I'd be even more surprised if Maualuga, Laurinaitis or Brinkley get passed up in '08 (if available when NE drafts). I also like Jonathan Goff from Vandy for his potential versatility, though he's been evaluated as a second-round talent.

    Before they drafted Mankins, it had been "established" (by me as much as anyone) that the Pats didn't draft O linemen high (Light was a third, Koppen a fifth, Neal a UDFA college wrestler). They saw value in Mankins and got a guy who consistently beats the bejeebus out of opposing DLs.

    I also assume that the Pats will trade many of their picks this year for future picks and higher picks, based on the lack of second-day choices sticking.

    but I assume a lot of things with this team, without much success. ;)
     
  12. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    We drafted Wilson as a corner, he was no hybrid that I'm aware of. Meriweather did play some corner and we didn't draft Thomas. We certainly like versatility and develop it too, but that's not what the poster said.

    Matt light was a second round pick. I believe that would make him not a first rounder.:confused:

    Until very recently, most of our OLinemen were low picks and free agents.

    Watson and Graham projected to be monsters physically, but neither wer head and shoulders above other tight ends IMO. Both have had problems with stone hands and injuries.

    If Watson becomes a much better blocker and holds on to the ball he has the potential to be a monster. He's not yet. Yeah Caldwell caught 65 balls too.I certainly wouldn't put our TE drafting in the same category as our DLs. Leading receiver?

    They had an all pro corner making huge money so there was no need to spend big on the other side. traded up for Gene Wilson. They can get by with role players at corner better than anyone because of coaching, but to say a 1st and 7th round cornerback are the same will be absurd no matter how many times you say it.

    Your right about Gay. He's injured all the time in the pros, just once that I know of in college.
     
  13. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Dabriunz,

    1) When Reid and Scott came in it was *clearly* for need. NE had nothing but guys who should never see the light of day outside of special teams behind Wilson and Harrison.

    2) I agree with you about Graham and Watson. I just think that most people compare them to the other guys NE has brought in. People just lose sight of just how few 1st rounders go on to become stars. Getting a solid starter in the second half of the 1st is actually good when look at the overall picture. And Watson is still growing into his game.

    3) It is absurd to say that there is little difference between the 1st and 7th round. Just because you can anecdotally point to guys from any round that become good doesn't discount the overwhelming odds in favor of getting an impact player early on.
     
  14. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    The Pats have drafted a lot of TEs in the BB era. I'm not sure why -- maybe because he'll use the receiver first type (Watson) and the blocker first type (Graham, as he evolved and whether or not intended that way). A TE can also turn into a FB or a WR depending on the situation.

    If I counted right, since 2000 (8 drafts), they have drafted 9 TEs and 5 WRs, even though a team might carry 3 TEs and 5-6 WRs.

    It's apparent that the two places BB looks for experience is WR and LB and to some extent RB. Just about everything else is home-grown.
     
  15. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I'm fairly sure your point #3 must be right, but it would be interesting to see if there's a web site of all starters in the NFL, break down by position, and then show where they were drafted.

    If I had to guess, I would think DLs are mostly high picks (1-2), QBs average fairly high, OLs are all over the map with high variation (including a number of UFAs), and RBs and WRs are somewhere in the middle of the range of variation.
     
  16. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    Jarvis Green was a 4th also.

    Ditto James Sanders.

    Ditto a couple of guys who were the starting RT for about a year each.
     
  17. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

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    DaBruinz, thanks for your post. As the OP, I did a lot of research. A lot of people were quick to shoot this down after glossing over the facts, not realizing there is a difference in the value of second round vs. fifth round picks, failing to realize BB did not draft some of these players, and just generally not understanding the basic ideas of this post.

    I'm guessing most people didn't even read it, but scanned it quickly.
     
  18. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yup, people need to realize you can't put the Patriots down as not ever drafting a certain position in the 1st. Before they drafted Mankins people were saying they wouldn't draft an O-linemen in the 1st. Before Maroney people said they wouldn't draft a RB in the first, and before Meriweather some on here said BB likely wouldn't draft a Safety in the first. Now, the Patriots to this point haven't drafted a LB in the first round but that doesn't mean they never will. This year seems like one of the few years they just might draft a LB in the first two rounds:

    This year's likely crop of ILB's seems to feature a lot more LB's with 3-4 size than recent crops.

    Rey Maualuga (6'3" 250lbs) If he comes out and is still on the board I could honestly see NE pulling the trigger.

    Jonathan Goff out of Vandy (6'4" 240lbs) Had 93 tackles in 2006, 6 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 5 PD's, and 1 INT
    http://www.insidevandy.com/drupal/files/images/FBS14.preview.jpg

    James Laurinaitis (6'3" 244lbs) 115 tackles in 2006, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 PD's, and 5 INT's.
    http://blog.cleveland.com/sports/laurinaitis.jpg

    Jasper Brinkley (6'2" 262lbs) In his first season after transfering from juco he put up 107 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 5 sacks and 4 PD's. I need to scout him a little more with his being a Juco tansfer.
    http://images.athlonsports.com/d/5586-1/JasperBrinkley.jpg

    Then you have Dan Connor who while mostly being an OLB is interesting because he's seen time at ILB as well, and he has good height (6'3"), but needs to gain some weight (233lbs).

    Really I could see both Seau and Bruschi retiring after this season so it'll be interesting to see if they pass up this larger crop of ILB's.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  19. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    There wasn't a lot new in the post, so these are all lines of argument we're pretty familiar with.

    The "planet" theory -- "There only are so many guys on the planet with certain combinations of characteristics" -- has been discussed for years as an explanation of why BB's first round picks have been so concentrated on DL and TEs.

    Most of us who recall the reporting around the times of various drafts think you're flat-out wrong in your point about CBs vs. safeties.

    I think you're flat-out wrong about asserting BB prefers veteran WRs, given that he's taken three in the second round, at a total cost of three 2nds, a 3rd, and a 4th.

    BB famously said that interior OL can and should be acquired cheap -- before, of course, he went out and drafted Mankins, and also before paying Koppen the big bucks. That contradictory combination serves to undermine almost any deterministic theory of Patriot drafting.
     
  20. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

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    I don't feel I am putting them down at all. As I mentioned before, the Patriots would prefer to sign seasoned veterans at the position. Their two largest free agent signings have been A. Thomas and R. Colvin. They've also signed Seau and Vrabel, as well as other role players (who weren't good) Beisel, Brown, etc. Time will tell if they draft a linebacker, but it seems that after seven years, a pattern has developed. I don't believe they have drafted a linebacker before the 4th round, despite plenty of available talent.
     

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