The Patriots are the most successful franchise of the 21st century, but in recent seasons, the team hasn’t hit on as many NFL Draft picks as they would like.
Kraft is hoping that will change this year.
“I don’t feel we’ve done the greatest job the last few years…” Kraft said. “I’ve seen a different approach this year.”
According to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, one instance in which the process might not have been great is the selection of N’Keal Harry. Bill Belichick reportedly went against the opinions of his scouts to draft Harry over other players on the board.
Where most teams had draft meetings with their scouts in February and April, the Patriots would have theirs with scouts in December and February. And at that early point, it’s tough to set the board, with two and a half months of information still to come. So from there on, the scouts would just be gatherers, which frustrated plenty of them, and played into the exodus in the scouting department the last few years. It also, as some saw it, led to misses like N’Keal Harry in 2019. Harry killed his 30 visit that spring and had a college coach, Todd Graham, who was close to Belichick. In that end, without more input from scouts who preferred Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown, the coach wound up leaning on his own experience with Harry, rather than the red flags his scouts planted, and lost a golden opportunity to fill a hole on his roster.
Perhaps that “process” will be different this time around.
If the Patriots are going to bounce back from their disappointing 2020 season, they’ll likely need to hit big on a draft pick or two later this month.
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