Patriots

Report: Belichick has been 'more collaborative' entering NFL Draft

Patriots

Bill Belichick is without his right-hand man entering the 2021 NFL Draft -- which could lead him to let more voices be heard at One Patriot Place.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said last week he believes the team is taking "different approach" to this year's draft, which he hopes will produce better results after some misses in recent years.

The MMQB's Albert Breer offered interesting context Monday morning about what "different" means as it relates to Belichick and his staff, which no longer includes director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

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"My sense right now is that has translated inside the building in a more collaborative Belichick, who’s listening not just to his top guys, Dave Ziegler and Eliot Wolf, but also those rising through the organization, like national scout Matt Groh," Breer wrote.

According to Breer, Belichick traditionally has had a "closed-off" scouting process: He meets with his scouts in December and February instead of February and April like most teams and only involves a small number of personnel staffers in the final months leading up to the April draft.

 

That process helped produce six Super Bowl titles in 20 years and bring franchise cornerstones like Vince Wilfork, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and Rob Gronkowski to New England.

All of Belichick's first-round picks with Patriots, ranked

But it's also produced plenty of flops -- notably 2019 first-round pick N'Keal Harry. Breer noted that some Patriots scouts preferred Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown to Harry prior to the draft, but that Belichick didn't consider their input before taking the Arizona State product.

This is a crucial draft for the Patriots, who already have spent big in free agency but still have roster upgrades to make after going 7-9 last season. If they hit a home run with the No. 15 overall pick, then perhaps this "different approach" will stick.