The New England Patriots went against the grain in the 2020 NFL Draft, which still managed to push a slight climb in NFL.com’s latest power rankings.
If there’s one thing New England Patriots fans know, it’s head coach Bill Belichick and his staff won’t do anything predictable in the NFL Draft.
Anyone who thought otherwise was again reminded of this by Belichick’s efforts during the 2020 draft, which didn’t lack for speculation the Pats would be looking at a quarterback early to replace the Hall of Famer, Tom Brady. And if not that direction, New England would surely go wide receiver at some point in the first three rounds to upgrade what’s another position of need, right?
Nope. Not even close.
The Patriots passed on a quarterback, at least in the draft, and didn’t bring in a wide receiver either. Belichick did things his way, which is about the only guarantee anyone will have about the team during any offseason reconstruction or rebuild.
And that true-to-the-organization method ended up proving beneficial in NFL.com’s latest NFL power rankings.
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus dished out his post-2020 draft power rankings recently, and he has the Pats climbing up a spot to No. 15 overall:
I joked on Twitter that Bill Belichick traded out of the first round because he didn’t want anyone to see the inside of his house. In reality, it was just the Patriots coach doing the most Belichickian thing possible — beginning their most highly scrutinized draft in ages by selecting a safety out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. Classic. Kyle Dugger is a very good prospect, but it speaks to the reality in New England: Tom Brady might be gone, but the fundamentals of team-building are unchanged on Patriot Way. The Pats didn’t use any of their 10 picks on a quarterback — a decision that shows faith in 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham … or hints at the impending acquisition of a known veteran. Hi, Andy Dalton.
There are a few things to dissect here, starting with New England’s selections on days one and two of the draft. Trading out of the No. 23 overall spot shouldn’t be a surprise, even though Belichick already had a plethora of picks at his disposal. Going with a small-school safety, Dugger, with the team’s top pick afterward should help reinforce a still-elite secondary.
Getting stronger at a position of strength is never a bad idea, right?
Meanwhile, Michigan linebacker Josh Uche towards the end of Round 2 helps alleviate the loss of players like Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, who left in free agency.
The non-wide receiver grabs also put faith in on-roster options, including last year’s first-round pick, N’Keal Harry.
But the quarterbacking aspect is provocative. Belichick admitted the Patriots were indeed interested in quarterbacks. Yet with anything in this regard, it’s important to read between the lines. All signs point to the franchise wanting to give Stidham every chance to succeed right away after spending a year backing up Brady.
As for Hanzus’ idea New England would be interested in bringing aboard Dalton, well, that could be a bit counterproductive.
Unless Stidham somehow flames out during training camp, which isn’t likely to be the case.
At any rate, it’s good to see the Pats starting to bounce back from the loss of Brady this offseason, slowly climbing back up the rankings in what should be a watershed season amid a new era of football in New England.