Patriots head coach Bill Belichick got defensive when he was asked about his recent draft miscues.
With the New England Patriots’ playoff pulse barely beating, media members have taken the initiative to pinpoint reasons as to why they are struggling this much. We would highlight a combination of them finally succumbing to the sheer difficulty of fielding a winning product for 20 years and having to overcome a slew of free agency departures and player opt outs.
You could also very easily throw in Bill Belichick’s recent draft woes as part of the reason. While it’s worth noting that every general manager has whiffed on a player’s evaluation every now and then before drafting another prospect over a stud, that list in New England — especially in recent years — is too long. Criticism simply must be doled out to the 68-year-old de facto GM.
Clearly feeling the heat from this appraisal, Belichick got defensive and reverted to referencing how much winning he’s done over the last two decades when asked about his recent drafts on Friday.
We’ve seen Belichick pull this card before, and it sounds like he’s very aware of his draft miscues and wants no part of facing the music. He also probably doesn’t appreciate being ridiculed to this extent — not that the question was offensive — after winning six Super Bowls and appearing in three others before finally falling short of expectations, but we digress.
The bottom line is that Belichick deserves to have these mistakes disparaged, because the Patriots could easily be set up to contend had he hit on some of those picks. In 2018, he drafted running back Sony Michel, who’s oft-injured and more of goal-line specialist than an every down back, over the likes of quarterback Lamar Jackson, fellow RB Nick Chubb, and linebacker Darius Leonard, among others.
Fast forward one offseason, and he selected wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who is closer to being labeled a bust than a regular contributor, over current studs Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown and DK Metcalf. The likes of Diontae Johnson and Terry McLaurin were also drafted after Harry.
The jury is still out on 2020 second-round pick Kyle Dugger, but it sure looks like a handful (at least) of budding stars were drafted after him. Not to mention that the Patriots’ other selections this past April, outside of sixth-round beast Michael Onwenu, who was just named to Pro Football Focus’ midseason All-Pro Team, look like glaring swing and misses.
Nothing more needs to be said. Fans lambasting Belichick for his coaching this season are way out of line, but they are more than justified in calling him out for these eye-opening draft failures, because the Patriots are currently suffering the consequences.