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Friday, December 5, 2008

Out-Drafting Bonanza Part 4 - The New England Patriots and Bill Belichick

Welcome to part 4 of the Out-Drafting Bonanza. Today's team is the Bill Belichick lead New England Patriots. For all cheating and video taping allegations, they certainly have given off the aura of being the Gold Standard for drafting. The team is considered a model franchise and the New England fans seem to turn a blind eye to how the team is run, as long as it produces winning results (so far so good). So, let's wind another one our and remember, the goal of this exercise is to compare a few different "successful" (and one really unsuccessful) NFL regimes and discover who's good, who's bad and where the hell we'll put Andy Reid.

In case you don't remember, here's a look at our Scoring System again.

And here's the regimes we'll be looking at:
Let's not tie up any more of your time. Let's get to the Belichickian Era Drafts:

Year Round Name Score (1-5) Bonus Note
2002 1 Daniel Graham 3 0 Graham was an adequate starter for the Pats. Not as special as they believed he would be

2 Deion Branch 3 0 Again, Branch was a capable starter and SB MVP. He got it done when needed, but wasn't special

3 Traded to move up and pick Graham 1 0 A third round pick for Graham? Ouch

4 Rohan Davey/ Jarvis Green 2 0 Davey was a total flop and Green is a decent rotation DL

5 Traded to move up and pick Green 1 0 Can't say trading up to get a reserve DL was worth it in hindsight

6 Traded for future pick 0 0 ?? - The Pats traded a lot and it was almost impossible to track all of them

7 Antoine Womack/ David Givens 2 1 Womack (0) never made the team but Givens (3) was a fine starter while with the Pats

This draft really was mixed. Belichick found three adequate to good starters, but nothing special. Graham, Givens and Branch are/were good players in New England who did help produce a few Super Bowls, so its hard to argue with the results, but no studs really were taken.

2002 Score: 13 Points. First Round Hit Total: 1/1. Quality Players Selected (total): 0/6

Year Round Name Score (1-5) Bonus Note
2003 1 Ty Warren 4 0 Warren is a fine leader on defense and a stud DT

2 Eugene Wilson/ Bethel Johnson 2 0 Wilson was a decent safety who worked the Pats system while Johnson had speed, but only showed flashes and his lack of work ethic ended his career

3 Traded to move up and pick Wilson 1 0 Can't say trading up for Wilson was awful, but wasn't worth it

4 Dan Klecko/ Asante Samuel 4 4 Klecko (3+1) was a fine DT and great reserve while Samuel was an all-pro (5+3)

5 Dan Koppen 4 2 Koppen is a pro-bowl center on a Super Bowl team

6 Kliff Kingsbury 0 0 Another miserable backup QB, never made the team's 53

7 Spencer Nead/ Tully Banta-Cain/ Ethan Kelley 1 0 Nead never made the squad, Banta-Cain was a decent reserve/role player and Kelley played one game as a Pat

Talk about a marquee draft. Belichick scored higher in the 4th round than the Lions did in the entire 2004 draft. Five of his first 6 picks were hits of at least starters and he even found a decent backup (Banta-Cain) in the 7th...which you'll note is a trend with BB, he does find relative Diamonds in the rough. Its not always Brady, but he finds contributors.

2003 Score: 22 Points. First Round Hit Total: 2/2. Quality Players Selected (total): 2/16

Year Round Name Score (1-5) Bonus Note
2004 1 Vince Wilfork/ Ben Watson 4 0 Wilfork (5) is a stud DT while Watson (3) is a solid starter

2 Marquise Hill 1 -1 Hard to fault the Pats here, but Hill was a backup until his death in 2007

3 Guss Scott 1 0 Scott was a special teamer for 1 season with the Pats

4 Dexter Reid/ Cedric Cobbs 1 0 Both were reserves/special teamers

5 P.K. Sam 0 0 Between legal issues and stupidity, Sam never suited up but did collect a Super Bowl Ring

6 Traded for Jamil Soriano 0 0 Never played as a Pat but if you google his name, you'll see him on facebook

7 Christian Morton 0 0 Practice squadee who never suited up

This was clearly his worst draft. Marquise Hill and Guss Scott aren't even recognizable names, but the on thing Belichick didn't screw up was the first round, where he found a stud Defensive lineman in Vince Wilfork and a nice starter in Ben Watson.

2004 Score: 6 Points. First Round Hit Total: 4/4. Quality Players Selected (total): 4/24

Year Round Name Score (1-5) Bonus Note
2005 1 Logan Mankins 4 0 Mankins is a probowler and 2nd team all-pro, nice late round pick

2 Traded for picks to get Hobbs, Thomas (06) and Mincey (06) picks 2 0 Hobbs as a 2nd still isn't a bad pick but the package still didn't work out by 06

3 Ellis Hobbs/ Nick Kaczur 3 0 Hobbs (3) is a nice starter while Kaczur, regardless of legal trouble has been an effective starter at tackle

4 James Sanders 3 1 Sanders has adequately replaced Wilson

5 Ryan Claridge 1 0 Claridge spent 1 year as a special teamer and was released

6 Traded for Stevenson pick (06) 0 0 Ouch

7 Matt Cassel/ Andy Stokes 2 1 Stokes (0) never made the 53 man team but was Mr Irrelevant, and Cassel (3) has filled in very well for Tom Brady.

Again, Belichick didn't miss on his first four picks, finding a pro-bowl lineman and three starter to decent backup players. Then in the 7th round he found current starting Quarterback Matt Cassel. I have a feeling I might get some flack for calling Cassel a three, but while he's played well, he's a backup QB on that team. A good one, but a backup.

2005 Score: 17 Points. First Round Hit Total: 5/5. Quality Players Selected (total): 5/31

Year Round Name Score (1-5) Bonus Note
2006 1 Laurence Maroney 3 0 He's a starter, but injuryprone

2 Chad Jackson 1 -1 13 career catches and injury prone

3 David Thomas 2 0 Thomas is a decent blocker and adequate backup

4 Garrett Mills/ Stephen Gostkowski 2 1 Mills never played a down as a Pat, while Gostkowski is a adequate kicker

5 Ryan O'Callaghan 2 0 O'Callaghan is currently a career backup but could become a decent starter

6 Jeremy Mincey/ Dan Stevenson/ Le Kevin Smith 0 0 Mincey & Stevenson never made the 53 man team, while Smith has seen little time

7 Willie Andrews 1 0 Decent special teamer

Again, Belichick hit on the first round. While he didn't find much gold (the jury's still out on Maroney), he did find adequate players to form the high powered team for 2007. There was the Jackson bust but he was only one of two negative scorers for Belichick. The proof is in the pudding here but off the top of my head I see five players here who have contributed to successful Patriot squads (Andrews, Gostkowski, Thomas, Maroney and O'Callaghan).

2006 Score: 11 Points. First Round Hit Total: 6/6. Quality Players Selected (total): 5/41

So its reasonable to believe the Belichick drafts were a bit overrated. On the negative side, Belichick found a lot of 2s and 3s and wasn't afraid to make some 0s and cut losses (almost all the 1s were cut quickly too and none proved to be any good regardless). His positive was his ability (again) to find a lot of 2s and 3s which played crucial roles on teams that won Super Bowls. Moreover, he never missed on a first round pick (the weakest being Maroney, Watkins or Graham, though each still started a few games).

Final Scores:
  • The Philadelphia Eagles and Andy Reid/Tom Heckert: 76. First round % (3 or better): 80%. Quality Players Selected (4 or better): 15%
  • The Detroit Lions and Steve Mariucci/Dick Jauron/Rod Marinelli: 47. First round % (3 or better): 40%. Quality Players Selected (4 or better): 5%
  • The Seattle Seahawks and Mike Holmgren/Tim Ruskell: 69. First round % (3 or better): 60%. Quality Players Selected (4 or better): 10%
  • The New England Patriots and Bill Belichick: 69. First round % (3 or better): 100%. Quality Players Selected (4 or better): 12%
Note: 14.28% represents 1 pick out of 7 (per draft) is a quality player

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