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New England Patriots Links 4/22/11 - Bill Belichick Expects Homework To Be Done On All Players

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Ian Rapoport notes that Bill Belichick expects everyone in the Patriots war room on Thursday to come with a complete knowledge of every single player -not just the players the Patriots are interested in.

"You need to know the whole board," Belichick said in a phone call last night. "That’s part of what has helped us in making trades and maneuvering on draft day, understanding what we think is the value on the board as it relates to us, and our perception of what it is in the league. It’s just doing your homework."

"If somebody’s interested in or you think they’re interested in a certain player, from your evaluations, you have some idea of whether that is or isn’t a possibility," Belichick said. "If you (evaluate) the guy and you say, ‘There’s no way this guy could go in the first round, here’s all the reasons why, I can’t imagine any team taking him,’ well, that might be good to know. Versus, if you haven’t done it at all, maybe the guy would go, maybe he wouldn’t. But you at least want to know what the player’s true value is."

"But you want to know what you’re trading away from or what somebody else might be trading into," he said. "Even though that might not be your guy, it’s still useful information."

Paul Perillo talks with Patriots director of college scouting Jon Robinson about the upcoming Draft.  One topic discussed was how to evaluate pass rushers who will be able to make the transition to OLB in the NFL.

Belichick has often cited the parameters he targets for outside linebackers as players who are 6-4 and run in the neighborhood of 4.6 40s. With that in mind, Robinson was asked if there were any tell-tale physical attributes we might look for to tell us if and how such a player may be better-suited to make the switch in the Patriots system.

"I absolutely agree with Bill on that. If he’s a defensive end in college does he have the capability of standing up and playing outside linebacker? Or maybe an interior defensive tackle, is he big enough and strong enough to move over and play nose tackle in a 3-4 front? Those are some of the questions you have to ask yourself when you evaluate the player. Because if you think he can do it but in the end he really can’t, then you’re just trying to put a square peg in a round hole," Robinson said.

"With the amount of zone blitzes colleges do you’ll see enough examples of those defensive ends dropping into coverage and you try to ear mark those plays and pay particular attention to that because that’s something he’s going to be asked to do. Then when you ask the guy to rush the passer, well, rushing the passer is rushing the passer so if he can do it pretty good in college then you’d think it would translate to the NFL. Likewise, if he can hold up against tackles and not get knocked off the ball on the edge you would think that would be able to translate. Against good competition – not dominating against some lower level teams. Does he do it against the good teams on a consistent basis? That’s where you can kind of get a correlation."

"It is a bit like Christmas for us," Robinson said with a laugh, "but as long as the trades are in the best interests of the team it doesn’t matter to us."