- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In a conference call last week, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked about the influence Bill Belichick and the Patriots have had on the draft. His response:
"It's a copycat league and there's certainly no one right way to go about drafting. But when you have as much success as the Patriots have had, everybody in the league self-scouts, [looks] at what they do right and wrong.
"And they look at New England and ... there's position versatility. There's a premium put on football intelligence and IQ and work ethic. And Bill [Belichick] is a bit of a poker player who likes to move up and down the board based on what his value is; not what he perceives the rest of the league is. But he knows league value; that's why he's able to move around.
"So I think different teams have different comfort levels. Pittsburgh drafts extremely well every year. Kevin Colbert is great. But they don't really move up-and-down. They know what their needs are. They know what their board says and they go by it.
"I think a lot of teams take a look at New England and they get nervous about whether they can move up and down as efficiently as Bill can. And when Bill is in his draft room, there are not many other people. There are not many other opinions. It's Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio and a couple other people and that's about it.
"So I think it's hard to emulate the New England model because there are not as many coaches that wear both hats with the final decision. But certainly, everybody around the league looks at what they are doing, especially on the pure football side, the position versatility, the work ethic, the locker room. I think those are important things that the rest of the league has followed."