Another NFL draft with Bill Belichick is over and like clockwork the pundits are still reeling from all their head scratching. “Patriot Way” and “unorthodox” are being thrown around like rice at a wedding. Unfortunately for us, those words don’t have the same effect on pundits that rice does on pigeons.
With the departure of Revis and Browner, people were screaming, begging and pleading for Belichick to draft some defensive backs. Belichick looked down at them and whispered, “No.” Well, he drafted one cornerback in the 7th round. Anyone trying to tell me Belichick’s plan is to use this 7th round CB as the guy who’s replacing Revis can go walk off a cliff. In case you don’t get it yet, Belichick is not drafting talent specifically. He’s drafting talent in the context of his team. The reason the term “1st Round talent” will get you thrown out of the Belichick War Room is because it is irrelevant to label someone as a talent like that if it is not in the context of who can be replaced or, how the player in question will better the team.
With this in mind, it is clear that Bill Belichick thinks his current CBs will do just fine next year. Like I’ve said and been saying, the Patriots roster is good enough at cornerback. Arrington, Ryan, Dennard and Butler will fill in and combined with Bradley Fletcher and Chimdi Chewka, produce decent results. You’re never going to replace Revis. So why would we try and draft players around a defensive game plan that’s impossible to deploy without the best CB in the game?
The Patriots are almost certainly going to switch to some form of Cover 2 defense, with 2 safeties over top. We don’t have skilled enough CBs to handle single man coverage anymore and Belichick is loathe to give up any big plays ever. With this in mind, Belichick drafted a bunch of versatile lineman to try and generate pressure on the QB without having to blitz. Most notably Malcolm Brown, who looks strikingly like Big Vince. He will contribute to the team immediately and hopefully eat up double teams like Wilfork on a Turkducken. Given that the Patriots only have Hightower, Mayo and Collins, before the depth at LB drops off, having many versatile lineman will allow Belichick to mix up and disguise defensive fronts as he has done in the past with his linebackers in a 3-4 formation. I expect there to be a lot more 4-man fronts from the Patriots this upcoming season.
The pick that shocked everyone was the 2nd round pick of Jordan Richards. Given that his analysis is, “a super-smart and dependable box safety lacking ideal foot speed and athletic ability to match up with NFL receivers, yet smart and tough enough to get by playing angles” we’re lucky Belichick was able to control himself from taking him in the 1st round. First of all, he’s described as highly coachable so he’s only going to get better, thats a guarantee. People can train to be better athletically, but as Chad Ochocinco showed, you can’t fix stupid. Richards will probably fill in along side McCourty quite nicely. He can help stop the run and has great ball skills for when he has to drop back over the top. Given that our other safeties are Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson, we can’t do worse.
We picked up two offensive lineman to fill in depth on our roster and drafted a long snapper from Navy. Belichick has a history with Navy so no one saw this pick as a surprise. All in all, I think this was a solid draft. Our D-Line will have better skill and versatility and we picked up some O-lineman with promise for the future.
I want to close with all this nonsense about how the Patriots should have drafted a WR. First of all, No. There is absolutely no reason the Patriots need a WR. All these people talking about how he only has Edelman and LaFell, blah blah blah. Have people forgotten that we signed Scott Chandler, AKA the Second Coming of Gronk. Its going to be a long, long year for defenses with those two tearing it up. Both of them can line up on the line and block or line up outside like a WR and take it over the top. The Patriots offense is going to wallop people next year. Mark it.