New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, despite some recent struggles, has enjoyed a ton of success selecting players in the NFL Draft.
Just a few days ago, Hall of Fame general manager Gil Brandt tweeted Belichick is the best drafter of his lifetime. Brandt is 87 years old, so he's seen plenty of drafts.
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Former Patriots scout and current Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy in a few tweets Wednesday provided some interesting information on how Belichick and his staff grade prospects entering the draft. One example he used was based on evaluating cornerbacks.
Check out Nagy's explanation below:
During my time with Patriots, Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli came up with a grading scale that assigned a number value to draft prospects based on their projected role on our team. The scale was very specific. It forced scouts to get off the fence or just ballpark guys.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) April 1, 2020
For example, scouts had to be definitive if a corner prospect was a No. 2 CB (all-downs starter), No. 3 CB (sub-downs starter), No. 4 CB with ST value, No. 4 CB w/out ST value, etc. Many teams, mostly from Belichick tree, are currently using some variation of this scale.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) April 1, 2020
The Patriots' ability to contend in the AFC in 2020 could hinge on their success in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, which is still scheduled to begin April 23 despite the outbreak of the coronavirus.
New England has lost several key players on both sides of the ball through free agency and trades over the last few weeks.
The most notable departure, of course, was quarterback Tom Brady, who took his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent after spending 20 seasons and winning six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots. The Pats have lost a bunch of important defensive players, too, including linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, as well as safety Duron Harmon. Special teams also has taken a hit with the losses of safety Nate Ebner and longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Filling these holes won't be easy, but luckily for the Patriots, they have 12 picks in the 2020 draft. These picks include No. 23 overall in the first round and three selections in the third round. Only the Miami Dolphins (14) have more picks than the Patriots.
Another positive for the Patriots is many of the top players in the 2020 draft class are wide receivers or defensive players -- two areas of need for New England. In fact, it's possible we see more than half of the first-round picks used on defensive players, and many recent expert mock drafts predict Belichick will target that side of the ball with the 23rd overall selection.