Bill Belichick at the Combine: ‘We’ve Been Wrong on Players’
By Duncan Day
Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Belichick’s Search for Rookies
Over the past few seasons, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots’ staff have done a wonderful job of scouting rookies and signing hardworking players. It is a winning determination that pays off in the NFL, right? It seems that way to Belichick, who so often acquires undrafted rookies out of bypassed schools.
Former Bowling Green standout Chris Jones was given a chance to start on Patriots’ D-line this past season. James Develin played defensive end for Ivy League school Brown University in 2012. Belichick adds him to the roster from free agency last year, and the next thing you know, he’s the starting fullback responsible for creating holes to give New England’s running backs field space.
Still, Belichick doesn’t believe that the organization’s decisions are spot on all of the time. He admits that there is a long, arduous system that one goes through to learn a specific rookie player. That system isn’t %100 correct according to one of his most recent press conferences.
"Obviously it’s very inexact. We’ve been right on players, we’ve been wrong on players, just like every other team, every other coach, and every other personnel person has. So we do the best we can. It’s a long process that involves visiting the school, interviewing with the player, talk with the people who have had the most involvement with him, like his coaches, college coaches, high school coaches, even beyond that. Other people that have had associations with him, former teammates, so forth and so on. It’s a mosaic composed of a lot of different pieces and you try to fit them all together and put some type of evaluation on the player."
So, it’s clear that the Patriots have little control over how a certain rookie wants to play in the NFL. They have picked up lazy players. They drafted Aaron Hernandez, but on the bright side, they have procured Shane Vereen, who may truly come into his own next season after showing flashes of brilliance in 2013. Rob Gronkowski, another smart draft pick, will be definitely one of the Pats’ most important offensive weapons if he stays healthy.
Will the the Patriots acquire the next Tom Brady this year, a sixth-rounder with limited playing time as a starter in college? Probably not. However, look out for at least one rookie– many think Jace Amaro–to have a substantial effect on the Patriots’ 2014 season.