NFL Draft 2015: Bill Belichick Discusses The Day Three Picks

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Sep 14, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles running back Jalen Richard (30) rushes as Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end Trey Flowers (86) defends at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Southern Miss 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the seventh round of the 2015 NFL draft ended, Bill Belichick met with the media to discuss his day three picks.

Here is the official transcript: (via the official Patriots website)

BB: We’ve got the hardcore – that’s me included, right? All right. That’s another draft in the books. It was kind of a big day for us. We were pretty involved all the way through each round – either picking or moving or whatever in the round. So, doing a lot of activity. I feel like things got off to a good start with [Trey] Flowers; real productive player at Arkansas. [He] played mainly on the edge, a little bit inside. But a young player that I think has got a lot of good football in front of him; a lot of great qualities in terms of leadership, toughness, those kind of things. Then [we] took the two guards, probably pretty contrasting styles. Of course Tre’ [Jackson] played in a pro-type offense with [Jameis] Winston, the quarterbacking and all the things he did at Florida State, whereas Shaq [Mason] played in an offense that was obviously very run-oriented and did a lot of run blocking. [He’s a] aggressive, very athletic player. So, those are two guys that will come in and compete with us from different backgrounds that will have to learn our system and merge together. But Tre’ played next to [Bryan] Stork for most of Bryan’s career down there at Florida State, so they know each other well. Then we took Joe [Cardona], long snapper. That was obviously kind of a need pick based on our situation. Then [we] kept it going with Matt Wells, linebacker, fast linebacker or safety. He kind of played the Sam linebacker for Mississippi State. A lot of what he did was kind of defensive back related, particularly when they faced spread offenses and that kind of thing – [he’s] somewhere between a linebacker and a safety, but runs very well. [He was a] productive player for them on defense and the kicking game; three-and-a-half year starter or whatever it was. [A.J.] Derby is a guy that’s really only played the position – tight end – for a year. [He] was at Iowa, transferred, went to junior college, had a very productive year at quarterback there, whatever it was, 3,000 yards passing or something like that, went to Arkansas to compete at quarterback and was a one-year player at tight end, so I think he’s got a lot of good football ahead of him. He’s transitioning from kind of the linebacker-quarterback high school deal to quarterback to tight end. I think he’s a tight end. He thinks he’s a tight end. In the meantime, he’s got a lot of playing experience, just not at the position that he’ll be playing for us. Darryl Roberts, a multi-year starter down at Marshall. [He’s] a guy that has good size, fast, played primarily on the perimeter down there. Good player though, very good role on the team in terms of leadership and so forth. Then Xzavier Dickson, a three-year starter at Alabama, real good program. [He’s] done similar things to maybe we talked about [Geneo] Grissom a little bit yesterday. He’s played a lot of outsider linebacker [and] defensive end, and in the kicking game. Obviously been in a good program, been well coached. He’s played against a lot of good people and he’s done well at Alabama. [We’ll] put all those guys into the mix and try to start getting them oriented this weekend and see how it all shakes out from there. That gave us a pretty full roster. We’ll sign probably somewhere in the neighborhood of half a dozen or so free agent. We’ll see how that all turns out. [Director of player personnel] Nick [Caserio] and his staff are working and finishing up on that. We’ll get the exact number here whenever all that comes together, it might be a day or so. But that kind of completes the initial part of our roster here. We’ll keep working through the team-building process, as we always do. [We] saw several players come on to our roster halfway through the season or thereabouts last year. There’s a long way to go on that. I think this is just a step, a significant step in the process, but certainly not the final one. We’ll take what we have and work with it and move forward and if we can upgrade it or improve it or change it along the way as we see necessary along the way, then we’ll look at those options. I just don’t think in any way this is a final roster. It’s not even close to it. That’s it for me.

Q: There was also the trade you made with the Packers. What was the thinking to move down 19 spots there? What did you like about that?

BB: That we added an extra player. So, it would have been [Roberts].

Q: Was that so you wouldn’t have to compete to sign him as an undrafted free agent? Was that the thought process?

BB: Well, that’s why we took Joe Cardona.

Q: But the extra pick was toward the end of the draft. There’s still value in being able to draft a guy.

BB: Yeah, sure. Yeah, absolutely. But we felt like we would be able to – we took Joe at 147 or traded down to [166], I forget the numbers, but whatever it was, we felt like we would be able to draft him at a later number in the fifth round and just add another player. You never know how that pick is going to turn out. Maybe you draft somebody, maybe you trade it, maybe you use it to move up somewhere else [if] you see somebody. You know, when you’re moving back to 247, you’re not doing it because there’s a guy there that you can’t live without. If you feel that way about, then you take him earlier than that. It just gives you added currency to either select the player, or use it in some other way.

Q: What do you know about Joe Cardona’s availability?

BB: We’ll work through the process. There are some things that are out of our control, but whatever it is, we’ll work with it. It’s not the first time we’ve had a guy from a service academy and went through some version of this process. So we’ll see how it goes.

Q: You mentioned he was a need pick. If he has a commitment to fulfill, then the need will still be open.

BB: Well, [if] the player got hurt. That’s football. We’ll see how it goes. If he can’t play this year, then he plays next year. If he can’t play that year, then he’ll play the year after. He’s a good player. [We] felt like he was the best long snapper in the draft. So, we have his rights. Whenever he plays hopefully he’ll be able to contribute and play well. Whenever that is, we’ll see. I don’t know.