The New England Patriots aren’t built like many other teams in the NFL and that plays a part in their uncommon success over the years. While other teams are often married to certain early draft picks, Bill Belichick has shown a willingness to move forward with the more talented player, regardless of pedigree, and that makes New England a desired landing spot for a lot of undrafted players out of college.
As a result, the Patriots have a ridiculous 18 undrafted players on their active roster heading into the Super Bowl, double what the Philadelphia Eagles have, as Yahoo! Sports highlighted, and a total “higher than any of New England’s past four Super Bowl champions.”
Patriots undrafted: QB Brian Hoyer, RB Brandon Bolden, FB James Develin, WR Danny Amendola, WR Chris Hogan, WR Bernard Reedy, TE Jacob Hollister, C David Andrews, OT Cole Croston, OT LaAdrian Waddle, DT Adam Butler, LB Eric Lee, LB Nicholas Grigsby, LB James Harrison, LB Brandon King, CB Johnson Bademosi, CB Malcolm Butler, P Ryan Allen
Eagles undrafted: RB LeGarrette Blount, RB Corey Clement, WR Marcus Johnson, TE Trey Burton, DE Bryan Braman, DT Destiny Vaeao, LB Dannell Ellerbe, S Rodney McLeod, LS Rick Lovato
And it’s not like these are all bit players on the back end of the New England roster. Amendola, Hogan, Andrews, and Malcolm Butler are all starters; Bolden, Hollister, Grigsby, King, Bademosi, and Allen are core special teams players; and Develin, Adam Butler, Harrison, and Lee all rotate due to their positions.
The only players not to see much time are Hoyer, Reedy, and Croston. Despite being a back-up, Waddle played almost as many snaps as Develin.
New England’s willingness to build a team of the most talented players instead of a roster of players with the greatest cost of investment allows them to win year-in and year-out.
It doesn’t sound like a novel idea, but a lot of what makes the Patriots so great shouldn’t be such a surprise, right? Just think of all the praise Belichick is given for being such a brilliant coach.
“Do your job;” The Patriots build their team around the strengths of their players; Belichick isn’t afraid to move on from a player that doesn’t fit with the team; New England will keep the more talented player.
None of that is original and yet only the Patriots have been able to follow these rules every year- and thanks to 18 undrafted players, they’re back in the Super Bowl competing for another championship.