NFL

Bill Belichick Refuses to Own Up to His Draft Mistakes

Although Bill Belichick has led the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl titles since 2014, his misses in the NFL draft have resulted in a roster that severely lacks young talent.

But when pressed about the issue, the architect of the greatest dynasty in pro sports delivered a snarky response that shows he has no interest in discussing his failures as a general manager.

The Patriots have a severe lack of young talent

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For all of his brilliance as a coach, Bill Belichick has let himself down due to his poor decisions as a GM. In particular, his NFL draft misses have come back to bite him.

Early in his Patriots tenure, Belichick excelled at developing young players. Tom Brady, Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, and Asante Samuel all became stars in New England after arriving via the draft. Years later, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Nate Solder, and Dont’a Hightower formed a new nucleus of homegrown talent.

Recently, though, Belichick has blown a staggering number of early-round picks on players who have failed to live up to expectations:

  • Malcom Brown (1st, round 2015)
  • Jordan Richards (2nd round, 2015)
  • Cyrus Jones (2nd round, 2016)
  • Derek Rivers (3rd round, 2017)
  • Antonio Garcia (3rd round, 2017)
  • Isaiah Wynn (1st round, 2018)
  • Sony Michel (1st round, 2018)
  • Duke Dawson (2nd round, 2018)
  • N’Keal Harry (1st round, 2019)
  • Joejuan Williams (2nd round, 2019)

Among that group, Wynn is the only full-time starter. Injuries have kept Michel and Harry off the field, and neither player looks like a long-term building block. Williams looks like another second-round whiff by Belichick.

New England’s 2020 draft class has also failed to provide an impact. Though Belichick did find a hidden gem in sixth-round offensive lineman Michael Onwenu, the Patriots have gotten next to nothing out of the rest of their rookies.

Bill Belichick doesn’t seem too keen on discussing his draft results

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Due in large part to poor personnel on both sides of the ball, the Patriots have gone 3-5 in their first eight games. On offense, New England lacks dynamic playmakers at tight end and receiver. A lack of talent along the defensive line and at linebacker has resulted in a significant drop-off from a unit that dominated in 2019.

Because they have not hit on their draft picks, the Patriots lack young, cheap talent at key positions. In fact, an argument could be made that New England has one of the worst overall rosters in the NFL.

Just don’t bring up the subject of the NFL draft with Bill Belichick. Because when asked about his dismal draft results, he delivered a snarky response that shows he has no interested in accepting responsibility for his failures.

“I’d say the most important thing to me this week is winning games,” Belichick said. “I’m not going to apologize for our record over the last 20 years. I’ve seen a lot worse.”

When pressed further about whether the results he has gotten from the draft have measured up to expectations, Belichick refused to answer the question.

“Yeah, you know, honestly Tom [Curran] my focus has been on the Ravens,” he said. “Right now, drafting scorecard, which I understand you want to write about that, which is great—but really trying to focus on getting ready for the Ravens. So I think I’ll leave my attention at that.”

What does the future hold for New England?

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Bill Belichick diverted the attention away from his dismal draft results by bringing up New England’s 20-year run of dominance. While the Patriots certainly deserve credit for winning a ton of games, Belichick also deserves blame for the scary state of his team’s roster.

New England does not have a young, franchise quarterback to build around. Cam Newton has done little to show he deserves a long-term contract. The offense desperately needs an infusion of talent at wide receiver and tight end. And unless Damien Harris runs away with the starting job during the second half of the season, the Patriots may have to draft another running back.

On the other side of the ball, New England does feature a strong secondary. But even that group could see significant changes this offseason.

Stephon Gilmore will likely be traded. J.C. Jackson will be a restricted free agent. The McCourty twins will be one year older and could finally decide to retire. Will Patrick Chung call it quits after opting-out this season?

Up front, the Patriots lack size and athleticism. Belichick just spent two early-round picks on linebackers, but neither Josh Uche nor Anfernee Jennings have locked down starting spots.

Will the 68-year-old go back to his roots and build through the trenches? Or will he have to trade multiple draft picks to move up to select the team’s next franchise quarterback?

What’s quite clear is that the Patriots have a lot of work to do in order to rebuild their roster. What’s unclear is whether Bill Belichick is still the right man for the job.

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