Albert Einstein once wrote, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing that it is stupid.” The insinuation is that we are all smart in some walks of life, but not in others. While it’s possible to be the smartest in the world at one thing, it is also possible, and likely, we are the dumbest at something else. Such is the case of Patriots coach and general manager Bill Belichick.
Bill Belichick is a genius. He is the greatest head football coach in the history of the sport. Any argument against that fact is futile, and chocked full of jealousy and nonsense. I’m sorry you are a Cowboys or Steelers fan, but don’t make matters worse by spouting off about cheating and other such fairy tales.
He is also a fantastic GM. Belichick is a genius at finding bargains. Nobody shops the island of misfit toys, and creates the greatest Christmas ever, quite like he does. No player exemplifies this more than Kyle Van Noy. A washed up second round pick in Detroit who goes to New England, and showcases skills that get him a really nice free agent contract with the Dolphins. After washing out there in less than 2 seasons, he ends up back in New England, where his renewed shine gets him a nice free agent deal with the Chargers. Trent Brown, Wes Welker, and even Randy Moss went from disappointments to stars in the state of Massachusetts.
This eye for the rembrandt at the yard sale shows itself in the draft every year as well. Michael Onwenu was a 6th round pick, Jake Bailey was a 5th, Ja’Whaun Bentley was a 5th, and Jokobi Meyers, JC Jackson, and Malcolm Butler were all undrafted free agents. But the flip side of the coin reveals Belichick’s dumb side. The area of football and talent evaluation where he is not and never will be considered a savant. His use of early draft capital.
His success drafting wide receivers (N'Keal Harry, Malcolm Mitchell, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien) is well documented and publicized. I’m not sure if he isn’t good at scouting that position, or if he feels like anybody with a social security number can play the position. Whatever the reason, it’s a position he frequently misses on. That’s not my criticism, however. There is no team or scout that accurately assesses every position in the draft. As Brad Pitt says in Moneyball, “You don’t have a crystal ball.”
Bill Belichick's mismanagement of draft capital is evident in how he spends his first few picks. Those early round players he takes that everyone else has rated two rounds later in the draft.
He is so good at finding bargains that he tries to take them when it’s not a bargain at all. Case in point is 2022 first round pick Cole Strange, who many draft experts had going in the 75-105 range. The Patriots took him 29th. He may be the next great NFL guard, like former Patriot Joe Thuney. He could go down as the greatest offensive lineman in history, and it would still be a bad pick.
Whether or not a pick is a bad pick has nothing to do with how their career turns out. It has to do with what you paid and what the asking price was. If you find a mint condition 67 Mustang fastback at a dealership and they are asking $5,000, and you offer to pay them $10,000, you are an idiot, even though the car's value is $70,000. Why would you pay double when you don't have to? That’s exactly what Belichick does every year.
In the same draft, he took wide receiver (uh-oh) Tyquan Thornton with his first pick in the second round. In fact he traded up to get him, despite Thornton’s fourth round projection, and rating as the 22nd best receiver in the draft.
He took 2 tight ends in the third round in 2020, and neither one has done anything. Both were a shock to everyone that was following the draft coverage. In 2019 he traded a 2nd and 3rd round pick to move up and get JoeJuan Williams, who was projected 35 picks later. They had two first round picks in 2018 and took the most undersized tackle in the draft, with a history of injuries, and took a RB (only idiots draft RB’s in the first round) who wasn’t even the best RB on his college team. In 2016 we saw him take CB Cyrus Jones in the second round.
Somebody needs to take the draft reigns away from Bill Belichick in rounds one and two. He’s a genius coach and a genius at finding a bargain. Let him do what he does best, and hire someone to draft rounds one and two for him, so he can stop lighting draft capital on fire. He’s an amazing fish. Don’t put him in charge of climbing trees.