There’s an interesting note from SI’s Peter King
in his column this week— Bill Belichick has been shockingly bad at drafting defensive backs.
While Belichick is known as a master organiser and a defensive wizard, he has put himself at a disadvantage by drafting DBs who flame out over and over again.
Here’s a list of every defensive back Belichick has drafted since he became head coach in 2000.
Of the 21 players, just one made a Pro Bowl, four were starters for at least two years, and 11 were off the team within three years.
Only one player drafted before 2012 is still on the team:
- Antwan Harris (4th round, 2000): Started two games in three years, out of the league by 2004.
- Leonard Myers (6th round, 2001): Started one game in two years, out of the league by 2004.
- Eugene Wilson (2nd round, 2003): Started 55 games in five years with New England.
- Asante Samuel (4th round, 2003): Perenniel Pro Bowler, played five season in New England before being traded.
- Guss Scott (3rd round, 2004): Cut after one season.
- Dexter Reid (4th round, 2004): Cut after one season.
- Ellis Hobbs (3rd round, 2005): Started for four years in New England.
- James Sanders (4th round, 2005): Started for two season, back-up for four others in New England.
- Willie Andrews (7th round, 2006): Never started, let go after two years.
- Brandon Meriweather (1st round, 2007): In and out of the starting lineup for four years before leaving for Tampa Bay.
- Mike Richardson (6th round, 2007): Cut after one season.
- Terrence Wheatley (2nd round, 2008): Cut after two seasons.
- Jonathan Wilhite (4th round, 2008): Started 13 games in three years before leaving.
- Patrick Chung (2nd round, 2009): In and out of the starting lineup for four years before leaving.
- Darius Butler (2nd round, 2009): Cut after two years.
- Devin McCourty (1st round, 2010): Has started for three years.
- Ras-I Dowling (2nd round, 2011): Cut before this season .
- Malcolm Williams (7th round, 2011): Appeared in four games in two years, zero starts. No longer on team.
- Tavon Wilson (2nd round, 2012): Started five games last year.
- Nate Ebner (6th round, 2012): Back-up last year, zero starts.
- Alfonzo Dennard (7th round, 2012): Started six games last year.
Pass defence has been New England’s biggest weakness for a few years now. They finished 23rd out of 32 teams in pass defence ranking last year, according to Football Outsiders’ advanced stats.
From 2009 to 2012 the Patriots finished 12th, 30th, 31st, and 29th in passing yards allowed, respectively.
The arrival of cornerback Aqib Talib helped things out a little bit last year, but the core weakness is still there. The Patriots lack depth, talent, and experience in the secondary. When you can’t cover people, you can’t be as aggressive rushing the quarterback (the Pats haven’t finished in the top 10 in sacks since 2007), and the entire defensive strategy goes out the window.
All of this is a direct result of Belichick’s poor draft history.
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