It might be time for the Patriots to make some changes with their draft strategy
The Patriots are in this precarious situation because of their poor drafting.
New England Patriots fans have heard enough about it over the past month or so. The team is bad and there are many reasons why, chief among them being Tom Brady’s departure (and the mass free agent exodus) as well as the league-leading eight player opt-outs before the 2020 season even began.
But there’s another big factor that’s been categorized as “underlying” and it should be perhaps recognized as “glaring.”
Rex Ryan yelling “THE DYNASTY IS OVER!” repeatedly into our television screens is the shock value content, but Patriots fans do need to realize the organization has largely failed in drafting top talent for quite some time now. And if you look from 2014-present, a big reason why they stumbled in 2019 and are now decimated in 2020 is because of that.
That much indicates some of the team’s draft strategies need to change.
Here’s what Bucky Brooks of NFL.com wrote about Belichick partly being at fault for the team’s downfall:
"“Reportedly, the Patriots’ extensively sift through eligible players until their draft board consists of 75 names. That prospect menu is significantly smaller than most other organizations, whose general managers prefer a big board of 125-150 players. New England routinely weeds out players who aren’t deemed as good fits and focus on bringing in guys who possess the requisite intelligence, versatility and playing ability that Belichick covets in each position.“That’s why Belichick must fall on the sword for failing to bring in stars and starters with his top picks. He’s intimately involved in the process. He knows exactly what he wants at each position and has the autonomy to pick whatever player he believes best fits. He is the judge and jury on each pick, so he has to take accountability for New England’s draft flops in recent years.”"
High draft picks like N’Keal Harry, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Cyrus Jones, Sony Michel, Duke Dawson and Joejuan Williams (or at least a portion of them) — all of whom were first- or second-round picks — should be contributing in a big way and/or still be with the team. And that’s not the case, is it?
We know the team’s draft process is extremely rigid and Belichick is typically going after guys that fit the “Patriot Way,” but it’s clear there have been some significant cracks over the years in terms of discovering top talent in the draft. 75 names for a seven-round draft that sees 224 players get selected perhaps isn’t enough. Expanding that pool will go a long way in helping the Pats increase their margin for error.
Maybe there are more flaws in the war room that we don’t know about, but that could be a good starting point, especially after all the misses we’ve seen in recent years.