Although Belichick has three Super Bowl victories on his resume as a head coach, but he may be slipping as the New England Patriots general manager.
It’s hard enough to worry about day to day functions, practices, and weekly games. To be the team’s general manager while keeping up with the hiring process and drafting of players is beyond difficult and time consuming. Belichick, being a defensive minded guy has historically drafted well when it comes to the defensive side of the ball, but not lately. The last four seasons the Patriots have ranked 25th, 31st, 25th, and most recently 26 in defense.
That’s really bad.
While NFL sack numbers are soaring, Belichick and the Patriots front office has yet to find that elite pass rusher off the edge. Of course others are assisting Belichick in drafting advice and free agency such as Jon Robinson and Nick Caserio, but Belichick has the final say. Belichick has great eye for drafting and finding linebackers, as he was taught by Bill Parcells with New York Giants. He has done a decent job selecting defensive players recently in the first round such as Chandler Jones and Donte Hightower in 2012. But that isn’t enough. Too many draft picks are being wasted in the later rounds.
By far Belichick’s biggest weakness is with wide receiver.
The leading drafted receiver for the patriots since 2010 is a running back, Shane Vereen, who has 576 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots depend so much on Vereen’s receiving skills that he has more yards catching the ball then he does rushing. Where is the Randy Moss signing? Where is the big marquee trade for a notable wide out. Every pass play consist of dinks and dunks to little slot receivers. That’s not going to win come playoff time. Deion Branch was the last great receiver the Patriots drafted, in 2002.
Since 2003 the Patriots drafted wide receivers consist of:
2003: Bethel Jackson (2nd round) 30 catches and 4 touchdowns
2004: Philip Sam (5th round) 0 catches and 0 touchdowns
2006: Chad Jackson (2nd round) 13 catches and 3 touchdowns
2008: Matt Slater (5th round) 1 catch and 0 touchdowns
2009: Brandon Tate (3rd round) 24 catches and 3 touchdowns
2009: Julian Edelman (7th round) 174 catches and 10 touchdowns
2010: Taylor Price (3rd round) 3 catches and 0 touchdowns
2012: Jeremy Ebert (7th round) 3 catches and 0 touchdowns
2013: Aaron Dobson (2nd round) 37 catches and 4 touchdowns
2013: Josh Boyce (4th round) 9 catches and 0 touchdowns
Is that awful drafting of receivers or what? Most of these players aren’t even with the team anymore. As a matter of fact, most of these players are not even in the NFL anymore. The only “standout” is Julian Edelman, who was drafted in 2009 as a 7th rounder. Edelman, who isn’t even six feet tall posses no deep threat whatsoever. The last ten drafted wide receivers by the Patriots have a combined 24 touchdowns since 2003.
Of course I’m not going to ignore Robert Gronkowski, however he is a tight end, not a wide receiver. And unfortunately long routes and deep balls don’t come from tight ends. Injuries are also becoming more and more of a concern. Belichick is a fantastic head coach, but he may want a little more help when it comes to the draft.