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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Bill Belichick wraps up the draft

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick wrapped up the final day of the draft in a news conference on Saturday night.  Some quick-hit thoughts:

Explaining the lack of a front-seven selection. Belichick said before the draft that he felt the 2011 early rounds would probably be defined by which teams evaluate the front-seven players the best because that crop was so deep. Yet the Patriots didn't select one, which Belichick said was more of an indication of the way the draft unfolded. "You see a lot of players get taken at a certain position in a draft, I think naturally that gives more value to another position, another spot," he said. "I think you see that in every draft -- there is a run on a certain position then that elevates the value of another position."

Six team captains. Of the Patriots' nine picks, six were team captains. That's a good thing, but not necessarily something the Patriots targeted. "We don't go into the draft saying 'we want to get four captains'," Belichick said, before adding that the Patriots value "leadership, respect, hard work and unselfishness", which are characteristics often associated with captains.

Offensive flavor not necessarily by design. Belichick said it wasn't part of his plan to necessarily make six of the team's nine selections on offense. "I can't say in any draft that I really know which direction it's heading in," he said. "I think when you're picking at 6 or 7, or something like that, you usually have a little better idea, but things always happen on draft day that are unpredictable. That's the exciting part of the draft, just seeing how it all turns out."

Not the complete picture. Belichick made the point that the draft represented "one step in the team-building process. I'm sure there will be others to come, but maybe for a while. We'll have to wait and see." Belichick often says there are three ways to add players to a team -- the draft, free agency and trades. Because of the lockout, free agency and trades are not allowed. In addition, teams can not talk to, or sign, rookie free agents.

Uncertain future. As Belichick left the interview podium, he said: "I don't know when I'll see you [reporters] again, but I'll see you." And in this lockout world, that's how it ended.