The Belichick Draft Philosophy

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by PATRIOTSFANINPA, Mar 12, 2011.

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    #12 Jersey

  2. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #12 Jersey

    It's all true, as far as it goes. I think we've learned a lot about BB's draft philosophy that wasn't in the article.

    1) BB drafts for need. Drafting Wilfork, Gostkowski, Light, Mayo, Meriweather, Gronkowski... all need picks. Tim Dimitroff said drafting for need was one of the most important things he learned while he was with the Pats.

    2) BB looks for big strong physical defensive players. His DTs are 320#, his DEs are 300#, his LBs 255#. This is how NTs end up playing DE for him. Long arms and long frame are preferred (witness: Seymour, Warren) on the outside.

    3) His o-linemen are lean 300# and not spilling over their belts. Mankins, Light, Vollmer... big guys, big frame, good feet. Has never shown any interest in the 320# road graders.

    4) BB locks in on a specific player (McCourty, Chung, Mayo) reads what the other teams are looking for, and trades down as far as he can to still get that guy. If his guy comes off the board unexpectedly, he trades down or out instead of picking the next best guy at the same position.

    5) BB doesn't put all his eggs in one basket. He will take many rookies on to fill the same need. Thus, Gronkowski and Hernandez; Wilson and Samuels; Mayo and Guyton. This feels more like an admission that between personalities and injuries, you can never be sure about any player.
  3. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    BB drafts for VALUE. Need is just part of the equation. How many times does he, himself, have to say it before people will actually listen.

    Sorry, but I believe that you don't understand the term road-grader. A road grader is a guy who is know for, basically, bowling people over in the run game. It's about strength and attitude more than being "320 lbs".

    Everyone "fixates" on "their" player. BB only "trades down" when he has people on the phone asking him about the pick and he feels he can move down and still get his guy. You make it sound like BB is always, actively trying to trade down and that just isn't the case.

    As for your examples of taking rookies to fill the same need, that is a huge stretch. First, Gronk and Hernandez are very different types of TEs. Mayo and Guyton are also very different types of ILBs. Again, you are stretching reality to the extreme to fit your hypothesis.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  4. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Regarding the article. BB drafts players where he believes they will provide the team with the highest value. To say that this team doesn't spend "high draft picks on O-line" is just BS. Especially when you see that Light, Vollmer, Klemm were taken in the 2nd round and Mankins at the end of the 1st.

    Light has held down the LT position since Game 3 of the 2001 season.. Vollmer's 2nd team All-Pro nod tells me that we're looking at a guy who could be anchoring the right side for the next decade, or the left if he's comfortable there. Mankins is an All-Pro guard. He's easily top 5 in the league at LG.

    Klemm was good when healthy, regularly winning the RT position out of TC only to get injured quickly.
  5. jsull87

    jsull87 In the Starting Line-Up

    when you list the O line players like that it shows that high in the draft we have had good recent success with our prospects. I am looking at Carimi this year i like his body type, reminds me of vollmer, Now i think his feet might be a touch slower tho
  6. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

    #37 Jersey

    Especially when there is an immediate void to fill. With Neal gone and the futures of Mankins and Light in question, I don't see BB coaching up a 7th rounder to be a starter this year.
  7. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    The bit in the article about drafting coachable players (and having good coaches to work with them) shouldn't be overlooked. There are owners/FOs that, year-after-year, draft uncoachable "studs" and/or never hire people to properly develop their draftees. The Lions are a prime example of the "anti-Patriot Way."
  8. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Rook, I'm not convinced that your examples support your thesis here. Last year, the Pats NEEDED 2 players to fill out their TE corps, were looking at one of the richest TE draft classes ever, and opted for two totally different, complementary players rather than redundancy. Wilson, of course, played safety instead of CB. And Guyton wasn't even drafted, so he can't very well count as evidence of a double-up draft strategy!

    There are certainly plenty of examples of the Pats, like most teams drafting 2 players at the same position -- Wheatley and Wilhite, Deaderick and Weston, etc. But AFAIK there's not a single example of 2 in the top 3 rounds. (Many of us assumed Mankins & Kaczur were that, but as soon as camp started it became clear that the team considered one a guard and the other a tackle.) By the time you get to the later rounds, redundancy may just be a result of the shape of the draft class and the focus of the team's scouting that year.

    For comparison, take a look at Jacksonville Jaguars, a team which does seem to take the strategy you describe. They've drafted the same position in rounds 1 & 2 three years in a row.
  9. sg14

    sg14 On the Game Day Roster

    Seems like the BB philosophy got better once Flyod Reese came on board,,,,,,
  10. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    I absolutely agree. This one statement summarizes nearly completely BB's drafting philosophy. Most of what is in the article is an incomplete attempt to define "value" as BB would define it.

    PS: I do believe that BB and his staff do an excellent job of "coaching up players" in the Patriot system. But they also are tremendous at adapting the system to fit an individuals skillset and that explains why so many UDFA's thrive in our system and why so many homegrown players that move on from our system, do not do all that well in other systems.

    PSS: I myself have over the years questioned the ability of our defensive coaches to "coach up" OLB's. And while part of the problem is a complete lack of raw material to work with, ie: BB does not draft many of these position players; I think the biggest roadblock to developing homegrown OLB's is BB's inability to trust this position to inexperienced players. That is why Cunningham represents a huge shift in drafting philosophy for BB and why this year, we may finally see that elusive stud pass rusher drafted early.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  11. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Of course. But I assume that Rook wasn't implying "need to the exclusion of all else," just that need is an important factor in the draft value calculation. That may seem obvious, but there's a very persistent myth that BB drafts "BPA" regardless of need.
  12. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

    you have it backwards......value is a part of need. Richard Seymour was a need. Daniel Graham was a need. Ty Warren was a need. Vince Wilfork was a need. Ben Watson was neither. Mankins was a need, Maroney was a need. Meriweather, Mayo........they were all needs. value comes in picking the right player........maroney was poor value compared to deangelo williams....the need was the same

    typically, being over 320 lbs is a characteristic of a 'road grader'....the world is not as black and white as you make it out to be


    since he wasn't drafted, guyton is not a good example of value versus need.

    clay matthews was great value at the time the pats were drafting........they did not draft him because they felt they did not need him.

    one could argue that ryan clady or chris johnson would have been better value than jerod mayo, troy polamalu could be seen as better value than ty warren....ed reed could have been considered better value than daniel graham.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  13. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Agreed. I didn't understand the OL comment at all.

    And the last sentence of that OL paragraph was the following:

    Out of 25 picks in the first two rounds over 11 drafts with BB, we've spent 1 pick on a RB, 3 on WRs (2 of which were busts), and 0 on a QB, for 4 picks on the "skill positions." That's the same number of picks spent on the OL during the same rounds, which the author said we don't do.

    The stockpile pick seems a bit of an oversimplification as well. It's true that we've made a lot of picks, but we don't trade down just for the sake of trading down. It's about value, and in many instances BB is willing to go up and get a guy too.
  14. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    Don't forget the 3 picks on TEs (Graham, Watson, GRONK).
  15. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

    I don't know........I think its as simple as using your day 1 and day 2 picks on OL and DL until you simply can't upgrade the position is the way to go as long as you can get better at any OL or DL position, thats who you should draft.

    fill in the other spots later. teams who can run the ball and stop the run make life easier for their passing games. with the guys the pats have on offense, they need to force teams to play 8 in the box. beef up the OL and make the running game a real viable option like it used to be without resorting to these stupid runs out of the shotgun. make the play-action as dangerous as possible.

    in the 3-4 defense, seymour already proved that half of the OLB battle is who you have at DE.

    if your OL and DL are littered with 1st and 2nd round picks, your team will always be in it
  16. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    I've been trying to forget 2 of those 3 for a while now, thank you very much :p
  17. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    It occurs to me that the single greatest statement of BB's draft philosophy is that he runs a complete independent scouting operation, rather than subscribing to one of the big services. IOW forget consensus rankings, forget conventional wisdom and look at the value to the Patriots.

    One intriguing mini-trend that results from this: drafting the "other guy." Ever notice how often the Patriots choose a player who plays behind or opposite a more highly touted prospect at the same position on the same team? Off the top of my head:

    Jermaine Cunningham (Carlos Dunlap)
    Ron Brace (B.J. Raji)
    Brandon Tate (Hakeem Nicks)
    Jonathan Wilhite (Patrick Lee)
    Matt Cassel (Matt Leinart)

    And I'm sure there are others. That seems like a sign of a club relying on its own eyes rather than received wisdom.
  18. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

  19. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    We can say that Belichick doesn't draft for need as many times as makes us happy; that does not make it so.

    The reality is that the first round pick has been for need since Belichick arrived. Obviously, we poor mortals did not see the need for a pass-catching TE when Watson was drafted.

    Belichick looks at players in terms of the need of the patriots for a player, how he would fit in for us. A player's value as a prospect for other nfl teams is irrelevant. If value or talent were the issue, then this would not be so.

    Belichick does NOT draft players who we don't need and that Belichick doesn't expect to fit in.

    Belichick ranks players he wants in terms of value to the team. Availability in the draft also affect value. Obviously, NEED is a tremendously important component to that value. In this draft, OTBE. QB's and NT's just don't have the same value to us as OT's OG's and DE's. The need and scarcity component changes as the draft unfolds. Also note that quarterbacks are more valuable as we get into the later rounds.

    Belichick must put values on each of the players in terms of when they are worth drafting in this draft. Thus, Belichick may have only five or six players with 1st round value available when we pick at 17 or he might have 20. This greatly affects strategy. It is not just about picking the highest value on the board.


    Belichick must maintain a general board that includes the values of other teams. It is here he can see who others value at various spots. Belichick also needs to understand the tendencies and values put on players by other teams.

    This is a complicated set of decisions based on both kinds of board. Also scarcity at a given point in the draft is a key component.

    For example, if we have the 5 OT's rated pretty equal, and we have the choice of all of them at 17, we would almost assuredly move down, securing an additional pick and still getting one of the five almost-equal OT's. This presumes that we looked at the board and decided that the best value for us was at OT at pick 17. The same is true at OLB/DE. If there is a rush on OT's and QB's before 17, thre could be four or five DE/OLB's available at 17. Again, Belichick might very well trade down.

    Trading up could be for two very different reasons. The first is that we have an opportunity for a player that slipped is worth much more than the then current position in the draft. For Belichick, this doen't happen much (if ever) in the first round. The more likely reason to move up is because of scarcity. Lety us say that Belichick wants one of the DE/OLB's and has 5 players on his board. If only one is available at 12, Belichick might very well move up, as he did for Warren.
  20. CTHuskies

    CTHuskies Practice Squad Player

    My hats of to you! Excellent summary of BB draft process.:D
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