New England Patriots: Bill Belichick deserves credit for recent drafting

New England Patriots Head coach Bill Belichick and Mac Jones (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
New England Patriots Head coach Bill Belichick and Mac Jones (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

For years, critics have pointed to Bill Belichick’s drafting as a weak spot and have blamed his picks for the end of the New England Patriots two-decade dynasty.

But after Sunday’s 29-0 demolition of the Detroit Lions on Throwback Day at Gillette, even his harshest critic should be left with no choice but to give him some credit now.

New England Patriots drafting now a problem of the past?

Look, there’s no denying that Bill Belichick went through a rough stretch. Most people could probably be easily convinced that some of his blown draft picks led to the GOAT walking out the door and down to Tampa Bay (thanks N’Keal).

But the way that he’s responded since then has the Pats back on the right track, and for that he deserves to be praised. That was no clearer than on Sunday, with the Pats down to a first-time rookie QB, relying on the rest of the roster to step up. And a large chunk of that collective step up came from the players selected in the past two drafts.

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New England Patriots young players are shining

Take one look at the highlight plays from the game, and Bill’s recent draft successes are all over the page. Bailey Zappe looking like a real NFL QB. Jack Jones staying hot after last week’s debut by making a tremendous read to pick off a redzone pass and defuse an early Lions scoring chance. Cole Strange providing stability and running lanes up front. Marcus Jones giving off pure electricity in the return game. And that’s just this year’s rookie class.

If you add in last year’s rookies, things start looking even better for the present and future New England Patriots. Even though he didn’t play yesterday, we all still know what Mac Jones is for this team and what he will be when he returns to health. Christian Barmore continues to be a wrecking ball inside, his presence opening things up for the rest of the line. And then you’ve got Rhamondre Stevenson, the 1B to Damien Harris’ 1A that ran for a career-high 161 yards against the admittedly horrible Lions defense.

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And if you want to get really wild and add in Kyle Dugger, a much maligned pick at the time due to where he went to school, and Mike Onwenu from the 2020 Draft, that’s just adding two Pro-Bowl talents to the list of recent hits.

Recent drafting giving life to New England Patriots future

The past few years have been a new type of experience for the younger generation of Patriots fans, myself included. Before now, we just simply had never experienced the uncertainty of a .500 team. That’s a good thing, but it has made the past three years all the more challenging to enjoy. Luckily, it looks like the Patriots should be on the way out of mediocrity, as opposed to heading further down.

Game ball goes to Bill Belichick for shutout vs Lions. dark. Next

Yes, Bill Belichick’s poor draft streak played a part in the team needing this kind of transitional period. For that, he has taken more than his share of criticism. However, his recent history of success also deserves credit, because for the first time in at least a decade, the New England Patriots are a roster full of young, exciting players who are already more than living up to the hype.