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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Inside the draft room

By Mike Reiss

Seth Wickersham of ESPN Magazine writes a piece on the "War room" and stacking a draft board, and he includes comments from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

A snippet from the piece:

The Patriots, for example, use lowercase and capital letters: "C" stands for circumstance -- if, say, a receiver's stats are down because he played with a lousy quarterback; "c" represents a character concern. Other teams add some levity to the process. The 49ers post a picture of Bill Clinton to signify character questions, a green leaf for drug issues and a red cross for injury problems. ...

...In the end, however, most teams focus on just two boards: a vertical one, where players are ranked by position, and a horizontal one, where prospects are listed according to other factors, such as team need. Merging them is the toughest part of the drafting process. It takes weeks to compare, say, the value of the No. 1 fullback to that of the sixth-ranked slot receiver or a kick returner with Pro Bowl potential coming off a severe injury. "We argue between the 133rd and 134th players," says Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "But the chances of a decision coming down to those two guys is miniscule."