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Happy Birthday Bill and How That Might Affect the Draft

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
2 years ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Happy Birthday Bill and How That Might Affect the DraftWinslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick turns 69 this Friday.  How does his advanced age affect the draft?

The Patriots spent big bucks on free agency, quite the opposite of Belichick’s Modus Operandi.  Were the Patriots spending to hasten the rebuild of the team and was that related to Bill’s advanced age?  Will BB pull off a big trade-up to snag one of the top QB’s in the draft?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe Bill’s age will have anything to do with it.   The spending on Free Agency was a brilliant stroke by Belichick.  The Patriots had the cap space available.  They spent the money on players that fit Belichick’s model.  The new TV revenue beyond 2021 fit into their strategy and played the remainder of the league in being aggressive.  Add to this they had 30 Free Agents from last year’s team.  They signed who they wanted at their terms.  Outside of the QB position, the Patriots as currently constituted are a legitimate threat in the AFC.  Bill Belichick’s age will have nothing to do with the draft.  Bill will draft according to his strict evaluation system.  I think he will not insert his opinion as much as he has in the past.

In last year’s draft, Bill Belichick went against his own tendency by selecting a Division II player as his 1st selection.   The Patriots drafted relatively unknown Safety Kyle Dugger from Lenoir – Rhyme.  Bill Belichick was able to attend the Senior Bowl practices last year.  In the previous 19 years, he was unable to attend in person because the Patriots were in the playoffs.  Belichick traded down and out of the 1st round to select Dugger as their 1st selection overall in the 2nd round.  I personally loved this move, as Dugger was my favorite player in the draft.  Belichick ignored his scout’s evaluations and made the selection on a player he saw with his own eyes.  He then traded up in the 2nd round for Josh Uche, another player he scouted in person at the Senior Bowl.  Josh Uche was more of an uncertain because of his limited play at Michigan, lack of instincts, and lack of height for the Edge/ Lb. position.  Further, Albert Breer reports that Bill Belichick overrode the evaluation of his scouts and selected N’Keal Harry.  Harry has been a bust and is reported on the trading block.

Belichick has pledged to be more receptive to his scouts.  He did not attend the Senior Bowl this year (mistake).  This should be an interesting draft.  We have 20 years of draft history on Belichick’s tendencies.  With the major need of the Patriots being the QB position, the speculation of what he will do have run rampant.  Bottom line is that we have no idea what he will do.  We conduct mock drafts and fall in love with certain players only to have Bill draft some unknown safety that nobody has heard of.

Finally, I need to address the comments made by a former Patriots advisor, a friend of Belichick, father of one of the Patriots coaches, Mike Lombardi.  We got a glimpse inside the Patriots Draft process.  Everyone is aware the patriots have a very strict and rigid evaluation process.  For instance, they favor players from the SEC because the game in and game out competition is higher in this conference.  They give players who are team captains extra points in the evaluation.  They have standard height, weight, and other measurable standards such as 40-yard dash and 3-cone drill numbers.

What was interesting about Lombardi’s comments about moving up in the draft to take one of the top QB’s, was that he didn’t think Belichick would do it.  He predicted that BB would not give up draft capital to make that risky move.  The Patriots usually have 16 players with 1st round grades.  If it comes to the Patriots selection and there is not a player with 1st round grades, they trade out of this position rather than select a player.  Lombardi doesn’t think the last two QB’s of the big five have the grades to be selected at #15.  Do not be surprised if the Patriots trade out of #15.

Julian Edelman Announces His Retirement

Edelman was listed on the Official NFL Transactions as terminated by the Patriots today due to a failed physical.  Edelman posted a video from Gillette Stadium field. Announcing his retirement, saying “I would play until the wheels fell off.”  A note about this announcement was the sky was dark, which meant this was recorded before the day’s announcement, which took place around 5:30.

We were aware that Edelman’s chance to play this year was 50/50.   The failed physical means the Patriots can get out of the last year of his contract (about a $3M savings against the cap).  I will quote Matt Miller of The Draft Scout “Edelman is, to me, a Hall of Famer. His impact in the playoffs was undeniable plus he had 11 years of basically being Brady’s go-to wide receiver”.   I second his endorsement.  I have a 3’x 4’ Fathead of Edelman making the catch in Super Bowl LI in my mancave.  I didn’t have Edelman making the team this year and I was planning on the Patriots drafting a slot receiver anyway.  I am glad Edelman is retiring as a Patriot.

My columns this month are sponsored by Matt Millers The Draft Scout

Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2021 Patriots Draft Bill Belichick New England Patriots

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