FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick was a guest on NFL Network prior to the NFL Draft, answering questions from Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock.
What are your thoughts on where you stand as you get set to add two more players, or maybe another draft pick [via a trade]?
“Yeah, we’ll have to see how it all plays out. We have a lot of teams picking in front of us. We’ll just have to see how the players come off the board, and try to make good decisions that are best for our football team over the course of the evening.”
Overall, on offense, you have the No. 2 offense in the league. No. 31 defense in the league. I know it’s kind of oversimplifying it, but it’s pretty obvious that defense would be a necessity throughout the weekend.
“Right, well, we’ve added a lot of players to our team. We’ve re-signed some players from last year. We’ve added some players in free agency over the last month. So I think we have a pretty competitive team, and we’ll just have to see what happens tonight and see where we can add players to us that we feel will be the best both short- and long-term additions to our football team.”
Because of the success of the Patriots, you are typically drafting at the end of the first round …
“That’s a good thing.”
[Laughing] Exactly. Can you give fans at home an idea if your board gets wiped out and you can’t get out into the second round, do you have a “safe” guy in your back pocket? I’m sort of thinking about Logan Mankins in 2005.
“I think that was a real unique situation with Logan’s pick. I’d say, no, not so much. This year, I think there is good depth in the draft into the second and third round. I’m sure that if you look at different teams, they’ll have the players arranged differently based on what they think the individual players will do for their teams. But the draft is filled with a lot of young guys, guys that came out early in the draft, so there's a little bit less information on them than the players who have been in there for their full collegiate career. Because of all those variables and unknowns, we'll have to see how it all plays out. But when it comes time to pick, we'll do what we usually do: look at the board, try to take the players that we think are best for our football team, or if we think there's another option that we feel benefits us in terms of a trade, that's always a possibility too. We'll handle the first round the same as we'll handle any other picks."
What are the difficulties of evaluating offensive players because of spread offenses in college?
"Defensively, there are teams that never even huddle on defense. They get the call from the sideline, and have to make adjustments on the fly, so they're less traditional type defense stuff. Of course, offensively, a lot of the quarterbacks are being taught to read the defensive end, or the end man on the line of scrimmage, and in the NFL, I think most quarterbacks are taught to read the middle linebackers, and the safeties, and the people who dictate what the coverage will be defensively, where as a lot of the times in [college] offense, they're reading a front or a particular player in the front as it relates to the option, or possibly a player in the run force for the running game. So there are certainly a lot of differences. Certainly the college rules that enable the offensive linemen to go downfield makes the tear screen, or the jailbreak screen a much better play in college football. So that's one that colleges have to defend and they run a lot of to their receivers that are good with the ball in their hands, a lot more than what we probably see in the NFL. But we're all watching the same film. So it's equal for all of us in the NFL. We just have to do a good job with what's available. But you're right. It's a different game. The competition levels are quite a bit different, so we just have to try to project what guys would be able to do in the NFL. Although the evidence that we have in college is sometimes is more than, or sometimes not all that much, sometimes we have to try to project it."