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Robert Kraft acknowledges New England’s recent draft failures

Mike Florio and Charean Williams reflect on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's press conference, discuss Cam Newton, and NFL free agency.

The Patriots needed to splurge in free agency this month due in large part to the fact that the 2020 roster lacked talent. The roster lacked talent due in large part to the fact that the team hasn’t drafted well in recent years.

In a Wednesday conference call with reporters, owner Robert Kraft acknowledged that reality.

“Really, the teams who draft well are the ones who will be consistently good,” Kraft said, based on a transcript provided by the team. “I don’t feel like we’ve done the greatest job the last few years and I really hope and believe I’ve seen a different approach this year. In the end, it all comes down to what happens on the field and how people execute and you really don’t know how good a draft is for at least two years.”

That’s an obvious slap at coach Bill Belichick, who runs the football operations. It’s also an indictment of his primary table-setter since 2009, Nick Caserio -- who’s now the G.M. of the Texans.

“We missed, to a certain extent in the draft, so this was our best opportunity,” Kraft later said of the all-in move during free agency.

It’s more than just bad drafting, in our view. It’s a combination of bad drafting and a failure to develop the players who were drafted. Either the players had a low ceiling or the coaching staff couldn’t get them to their ceiling, or both.

It’s also possible that Belichick has little patience for young players who don’t quickly figure out how to be solid pro players, expecting them to sink or swim no matter how big the stone tied to their ankle may be.

Regardless, it’s stunning to hear Kraft speak so candidly. Then again, like the guy who never uttered a word in his entire life until he said one night at dinner that “the damned mashed potatoes are cold” because, as he explained, the damned mashed potatoes had never been cold before, Kraft hadn’t had since 2000 any reason to be dismayed by the fact that his team was underperforming.