BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Belichick has long been criticized for giving short non-answers throughout his time at the podium (or more recently, in front of a webcam) as head coach of the New England Patriots. But every so often, he will give a long, thoughtful reply that dives deep into the nitty gritty of what he was asked.
And it’s not always about special teams and Jersey rockers. On Thursday, in his annual pre-draft availability, Belichick gave a lengthy response when asked about the New England brass’ “in-game adjustments” come draft time. More succinctly, does the team play out different scenarios when evaluating whether or not to move up or down in the draft, something that is very possible this year with the team possessing the No. 15 overall pick.
Sit back, crack those knuckles and grab a beverage as Belichick brings you inside New England’s pre-draft approach.
“Each draft is a little bit different, so each year’s a little different. But all that being said, I think at 15 we can eliminate a few players that won’t be at 15. And then you could look at couple scenarios and say, ‘Well, if these three players are there, which one would we take? If these other three different players are there, which one would you take?’ You go through that exercise and talk about that but I’d say normally, something, there’s less options at 15 than there are at 28, 30, 31, some other spots we’ve drafted from, but I’d say normally something would happen and there could very well be a player there that either you don’t expect to be there or maybe he is a couple spots, maybe at 12, 13, he’s still on the board and you really thought that he’d be gone in the top six, seven picks,” said Belichick.
“Then the question comes, do you move up and try to get that player that’s fallen a little bit? Those are kind of the scenarios you got through. Which players would you move up for to get? Which players would you not move up for that you would wait and decide whether you want to pick them at the spot you’re at and what players, if certain players weren’t there and you felt the value of that pick might be the same whether you’re at 15 or a lower position,” he continued. “Again, it’s the same thing in every round, but you’re talking about the first round. You feel like you’re going to get the same quality of player or maybe the player that you like for whatever reason you think would be available at 20, then maybe you trade back to 20 and take him there or take that value at 20 rather than taking it at 15. Again, I’m just picking numbers here out of the hat but the concept, that’s really what it is. Who do you move up for? Who do you take if you stay and what players are on the board? If players are on the board that you feel like don’t add a lot of value or maybe they’re not the kind of fit for your team that you’re looking for in that particular situation, then maybe you say, ‘OK maybe we consider moving back.’ Now you can only move back if somebody else wants to move up, so ultimately you have to be ready to pick but sometimes… there’s certainly been many of times where we felt like we were able to get the same player or comparable value at a lower point in the draft so we moved backwards.
“Really, all that is to say, I think the best thing we can do is do our homework, know the players, know the board and when we walk into the room for the final exam and see the questions on the test when it comes our turn to pick or maybe spots in front of our pick, then we have to potentially start making some decisions. Sometimes people will come to you with opportunities that you may not have anticipated and you have to make those decisions then, as to whether or not you would want to move your selection pick up or down, depending on what the offer is and so forth,” Belichick said, rounding third with his story. “So, a lot of it’s fluid but there are certainly those scenarios that are worth going through as exercises to think about and to kind of prepare, I’d say, more often than not, the ones that you go through don’t happen. It’s usually something a little bit different. But, you never know. Again, it’s a good exercise.”
Got it? Now store that in your memory bank until April 29, when we’ll ultimately find out what Belichick and the Patriots do with that No. 15 pick.
It’s interesting that in his make believe scenario, Belichick mentions someone potentially being available at 12 or 13. The immediate reaction to that goes to potential quarterbacks at that spot, with the Patriots in need of a young passer for the future.
Or it could just be Belichick throwing more smoke at the rest of the league, trying to throw everyone off the scent of what the Patriots really want to do come draft time. Again, we won’t really know what’s going on in that brain until April 29.
But with his lengthy response on Thursday, at least we got a glimpse inside.