Back in March, Rotoworld’s Pat Daugherty released his fourth annual list of best head coaches in the NFL and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ranked first for the fourth consecutive year.
Daugherty has now released his list of best general managers and guess who ranks first for the fourth consecutive year?
Yes. It’s Bill Belichick.
“Belichick the coach will always get the accolades, but Belichick the talent evaluator has done a lot more than simply stumble into Tom Brady,” Daugherty writes. “Belichick’s record-breaking Super Bowl victory came 98 days after he traded Jamie Collins, arguably his most-talented defender. A stunning move anywhere else, it was routine in New England. Belichick couldn’t see Collins’ Patriots future so he dealt him. He still finished with the league’s No. 1 scoring defense, a fifth Lombardi and third-round draft pick.
“Belichick couldn’t be nostalgic or sentimental as a general manager even if he wanted to. Those feelings aren’t part of his emotional presets. That might leave you cold, but it keeps Belichick winning.”
The top five of the rankings has stayed fairly consistent over the past four years, with Broncos GM John Elway, Seahawks GM John Schneider, Packers GM Ted Thompson, and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome never dropping below sixth place.
But those are the second-tier options as Belichick has been the best in business without any sign of slowing down.
Belichick does a great job delegating work with director of player personnel Nick Caserio calling some of the shots, and by developing one of the strongest rosters of talent evaluators in the league.
There’s a reason why the league is littered with former Patriots executives in leading roles, and why those teams- Falcons, Lions, Buccaneers, Titans- have all made great strides in recent years. Belichick makes sure his personnel team are prepared for the biggest jobs.
In 2014, former Patriots director of college scouting Jon Robinson left the Patriots to take a bigger role with the Buccaneers and now serves as general manager for the Titans. The Patriots promoted Monti Ossenfort into the job after 10 years with the Patriots.
In 2016, former Patriots director of pro personnel Bob Quinn left to become general manager of the Lions and the Patriots plugged Dave Ziegler into the vacancy without skipping a beat. Ziegler is a John Carroll graduate, just like Caserio and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and actually broke into the league on McDaniels’ scouting department in Denver.
The Patriots are as much of a machine in the front office as they are on the field and if Caserio, Ossenfort, or Ziegler leave there will be someone waiting to step up. Assistant director of college scouting Brian Smith has been with the Patriots since 2000 and would replace Ossenfort, while pro scouts Steve Cargile and Ronnie McGill have more than five years of experience and another John Carroll graduate Frank Ross would be next in line for Ziegler.
Belichick is atop the list because of the structure he built and because of the talent he’s acquired. Some teams might have a better top ten list of players, but no team can go toe-to-toe with New England over the full 53.