Terrific article from Yahoo’s Pete Thamel on what separates Bill Belichick (and the New England Patriots) in the draft and evaluation process. Thamel’s piece offers some incredible insight on how the Patriots go about researching prospects and making their official selections. Great stuff in here on what Belichick’s conversations with college coaches sound like, what the Patriots value, how/why they’re willing to divert from specific criteria, and why Belichick keeps drafting players from Arkansas.
While imperfect, the vision and directives appear. There’s a famous story in New England about Belichick reaming out a strength staff member because he couldn’t come up with a drill to replicate and quantify Wes Welker “short area quickness,” or his ability to burst in spurts to get open. It’s obvious watching film that what Welker does stands out. And Belichick’s burning desire to find it left the staff sympathetic to the strength coaches who couldn’t figure out a metric to quantify it. There’s no 40-yard dash or 225-pound bench to measure things the Patriots have truly come to value – toughness, love of football, willingness to play hurt and an ability to comprehend and execute schemes. Does someone love ball? Is he a team guy? Is he self-motivated? One key question the Patriots frequently ask prospects: “Tell me about a time in your life when you had to overcome some adversity?”
For more on the Patriots roster:
-The one number that proves Bill Belichick is smarter than everyone else (LINK)
-Belichick to rookies: “You become us; We don’t become you” (LINK)
-Everyone’s got a Bill Belichick story (LINK)
-How Belichick rules the draft (LINK)