Bill Belichick dragged by NFL team execs over Patriots’ draft failures
Bill Belichick is unquestionably one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history, but his iron-fisted oversight of the New England Patriots’ scouting and draft departments leaves much to be desired.
At least that’s the sentiment expressed by a handful of NFL team execs who anonymously criticized Belichick in comments to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated over the Patriots’ draft failures in recent years.
“They’re just devoid of talent,” one NFC personnel director said. “It’s a bunch of specialty guys that fit certain scenarios, and those guys are fine, but they don’t have line-up-and-kick-your-a– football players.”
Belichick obviously has hit on several picks during his lengthy run as Patriots boss, and the presence of Tom Brady obscured his many misses.
“To me, Brady masked their misses over the years,” said an AFC executive. “Just look at their draft history. You see picks missed on, but Brady, [Rob Gronkowski], [Julian] Edelman, they’d mask those issues… But now they don’t have the quarterback, and it’s tough to mask everything else. I mean, look at the skill positions. They don’t have anybody you’re scared of.”
As noted by NBC Sports Boston, the likes of Dominique Easley, Jordan Richards, Cyrus Jones, Duke Dawson and N’Keal Harry are among the players Belichick has selected in the first two rounds of the draft in recent years who haven’t panned out.
One aspect of the Patriots’ issues with drafting stem from Belichick’s control of every aspect of the football side of the organization, according to an NFC team personnel director. This rigidity from Belichick has led to an exodus of scouts who depart for other organizations where their input is more valued.
The narrative surrounding Belichick’s arguable mistakes and missteps in the draft is a touchy subject for the head coach as well, as evidenced by his salty reaction to a reporter’s question about the issue.
The Patriots organization of course have stumbled in its first season after the Tom Brady Era came to a close. Not only did the team’s streak of an NFL-record 11 consecutive division titles come to end, 2020 marks Belichick’s first losing season since 2000.
Is is possible that Belichick knows exactly what he’s doing amid the Patriots’ precipitous drop? Could success in the 2021 NFL Draft limit the Patriots’ downfall to only a one-season blip? Not likely, according to one AFC team executive.
“Yeah, that’s just not a good roster,” said the exec.