After the end of his team’s draft, Bill Belichick sat down for his classic conference call with the media. While he did speak about the five players the New England Patriots had added, the biggest story coming out of the session was another one.
The 2021 NFL Draft was the last for Patriots research director Ernie Adams.
Belichick dropped the news during his opening statement and went on to thank Adams for his contributions to the organization’s draft process.
“Certainly, he’s been a huge part of the draft process with the New England Patriots going all the way to Coach [Chuck] Fairbanks to the Giants to Cleveland back to New England,” Belichick said. “The acquisition of a lot of great players, all the process that goes into drafting, grading players, scouting players, setting up the grading scale, trading — really every single thing that is involved in that, Ernie’s had a seat in that role and been a part of all those things in the draft room.”
In his role as research director, Adams has been a mystery man of sorts for the Patriots since he joined the club alongside Belichick in 2000. The two men go back all the way to the New York Giants of the 1970s, however, and with some minor pauses in between have worked alongside each ever since. Adams was thus instrumental in helping the Patriots win six Super Bowls.
While Belichick did not confirm whether or not Adams would retire from his other roles as well or simply leave the draft operation, the Patriots will have some big shoes to fill moving forward.
“Ernie’s contributions are historic,” said Belichick on Saturday. “He’s literally been involved in every single aspect of football program at every level that you could possibly be involved in and has done an outstanding job in all of them.
“Not all coaches have the kind of involvement that Ernie’s had in the draft process throughout his career. His knowledge, experience and decisions and organization and being part of the process, the way he set it up and taught it to really all the people that have come through here ... he’s really had a big hand in the foundation when it was laid in the middle 70s. It’s on a major level.”
Belichick also noted that Adams will be able to talk about “all that” himself at one point in the future.