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Patriots earn an A in first round based on Belichickian philosophy.

Nate Solder is a BIG man

Entering the first round, if you had told me someone would pick Cameron Jordan at #24 and Mark Ingram at #28 I would have been jacked up, guessing the Patriots traded down from #17 and still ended up with their guy, Cam Jordan and added a Heisman winning runningback to the team.

Many saw them as the two ideal weapons that would put the Patriots over the top on both sides of the ball.

That of course was not the case. It was the Saints, not the Patriots, who came away with two players that might have looked very good in blue and silver.

But it’s tough to be dissapointed because if you had told me Belichick and company would draft a mammoth of a tackle (Bill has a very good track record drafting offensive linemen lately), traded the 28th pick for a first rounder next year and the 56th pick tonight (a bit much in my opinion), and that going into the second round the team would have three picks with Jabaal Sheard, Da’Quan Bowers, Andy Dalton, Akeem Ayers, Torrey Smith, Titus Young, Brooks Reed and Mikel Leshoure, among others, all still available, I’d say the Patriots probably have a game plan, and it’s to get a couple of those guys in the second round.

That is how I’ve rationalized it today. Last night, when I was in manic draft mode, I  went into a lengthy diatribe cataloguing the reasons why the Patriots should have made a move similar to Atlanta’s–they traded five picks (far too much) for the right to draft Julio Jones. My argument was, that Bill Belichick’s philosophy to always look to build a complete roster for the future is the perfect decision in pretty much every scenario except for the one the Patriots are in now.

With Tom Brady turning 34 in August, the Patriots time with the best quarterback is dwindling. He could have 5 years left, or he could have 2. Noone knows. So, the Patriots should be doing everything they possibly can to win right now because as much as a I love the Patriots and want them to win in the future, I care more about Tom Brady’s legacy, because as much as sports are about the team, being a fan is really about the players. Celtics fans don’t talk about what it means to be a Celtics fan. They talk about what it was like to watch Larry Bird in his prime. Older Red Sox fans talk about what it was like to see Ted Williams hit a baseball, not how special Fenway is. Those are abstract ideas, but being a fan is about the tangible. The visible greatness of the players we love, and the championships we see them hoist as evidence.

With Brady it’s the same thing. He has three championships, and I think he could win three more. But is Belichick making decisions to fulfill that reality, or is he making decisions to set the Patriots up for the next 10 years?

I’m probably wrong to even ask this question, because it’s likely that they’re one in the same. Maybe what Bill is doing now sets the Patriots up both today and tomorrow better than any other strategy would, because it’s likely that he targets specific players and then maneuvers to get them. It’s not unrealistic to think McCourty was the number 1 player on Bill’s draft board last year, or that Solder was this year, and he just gets them at the right spot. And whoever he drafts today in the second and third, might be the other players he wanted all along.

My buddy T.J. took a different view of it. He chooses to believe that it’s Belichick’s goal to own every second round pick in the 2016 draft and every decision he has made, trading down for the last 6 or so years, has been geared towards that goal.

Either way, just yesterday I wrote the phrase “In Bill I trust.” The draft is the perfect test of whether someone actually believes that. In the end, I think I do, because as much as I’d like to see the Patriots draft Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan, or Mark Ingram, do I have any real idea of who they’ll be in the NFL? No. Does Bill? Probably. And it’s comforting to know we have a coach and owner who don’t care about “winning” draft day. NFL Network and ESPN keep showing polls or “who won the first round.” Of course, the Saints are in the lead. But does that really mean anything? Of course it doesn’t.

We won’t know for years who really won this draft. But we already know the Patriots chose to fortify the offensive line, an area of significant need, and that they have 5 picks tonight to fill the rest of their holes.  

So if we’re trusting Bill you have to give the Patriots an A for the first round. They managed to get a first rounder next year, and a second rounder this year, while adding an important piece to the team.

All I want now is to have an idea of who will be putting some pressure on the quarterback next year.


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One Response to “Patriots earn an A in first round based on Belichickian philosophy.”

  1. Russ Loede says:

    Mike,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    “I care more about Tom Brady’s legacy, because as much as sports are about the team, being a fan is really about the players. Celtics fans don’t talk about what it means to be a Celtics fan. They talk about what it was like to watch Larry Bird in his prime.”

    Probably one of the most insightful things I have ever read in sports concerning the player vs. team topic. I tell people this all the time, I’m more in it for the players than the team. The player is the reason why you watch the game, not for the team.

    Excellent Stuff!

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