Building a Team

What is on Bill's mind? - Elsa

A stab at trying to understand the drafting mind of the Hooded One.

Bill did it again. He left many of us (especially the mediots) scratching our heads. Oh, it's not the first time, and it certainly won't be the last time. Like in the 2010 draft when he selected Rutgers Corner Back Devin McCourty as our first round pick, #27 overall, when there were "CLEARLY" better options on the board - even at Corner Back. Bill explained it away by illustrating his value on special teams making him a 4 down player.

Of course, Devin made the Pro Bowl his rookie year and made a strong argument for Defensive Rookie of the Year had Suh not also been drafted the same year. McCourty struggled a bit his sophomore year surrounded by poor safety play, and slid to the safety spot more full time last year where he has looked stellar.

So this year Bill goes and dips into the same well and pulls out another Rutgers Corner Back, Logan Ryan. Ryan took over when Devin left Rutgers and did a pretty good job. He may not be as athletic as McCourty, but he thrives better in man to man coverage than Devin does. Does this represent a shift toward more man coverage?

Finally comes the real head-scratcher, Rutgers Safety Duron Harmon. Was this guy on anyone else's draft board? Sure, he's more athletic that Steve Gregory, and hits in the style of Rodney Harrison. He plays special teams (4 down guy) and he's always around the ball, but with all of the talented players on the board, why would we draft THIS GUY?

Then it hit me (just like Bill's security guys). Bill Belichick once said, "My job is not to collect talent, it's to build a team. Individuals go to Pro Bowls, teams win championships." Added to that is several comments that he has made in the last couple years about a lack of cohesiveness in the secondary, and a picture emerges. Bill is finding guys not necessarily with the most talent, although the talent is there; he is finding guys that can work together and more importantly communicate with each other.

Why Rutgers guys? His number 1 Free Safety, Devin McCourty speaks Rutgers, and can translate it quickly into Patriots jargon. If you want players that can get up to speed fast, that is huge.

Adrian Wilson is a great veteran presence, but he is a bit lacking in coverage these days. Duron Harmon can play in the box and spell him on passing downs. Add in some special teams play, and you've got all the playing time you're looking for in a second rounder.

Yeah, there may have been more talented players on the board, and Harmon may have been a reach. We don't know the minds of all 32 teams. We don't even know the minds of one. How any of those guys would fit in with the Patriots is a complete unknown. To me, it looks like Bill has a plan in place for exactly what he is looking for. He spent 25% of his time looking at Wide Receivers, yet he picked one receiver and three defensive players - all with coverage skills. The Patriots, since 2007, have struggled in coverage.

More moves are coming, and I'm sure many of them won't seem to make sense if we follow Mel Kiper's mind set. Of course, Kiper has zero Super Bowl rings and Bill currently has five. Hmmmm. Maybe there's something to be said for team over talent after all.

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