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5 takeaways from Bill Belichick's pre-draft press conference

Ryan Hannable
April 13, 2018 - 11:29 am

FOXBORO -- For the first time in several seasons, Bill Belichick, not Nick Caserio, spoke at the Patriots' pre-draft press conference, which was held Friday morning at Gillette Stadium.

The coach spoke for nearly 25 minutes, with an over eight-minute opening statement, but didn't really reveal that much information as it relates to how the Patriots will approach the draft. 

New England has four picks in the first two rounds, including two in the first and two in the second, so there's a lot more buzz surrounding the draft than in year's past when the team didn't have a pick at all in the first round.

Here are five takeaways from the presser.

1. No indication on whether or not team will draft quarterback

While it seems very likely the Patriots will be drafting a quarterback with their current situation (Tom Brady being 40 years old and the only other quarterback on the roster being Brian Hoyer), Belichick didn't give much on how he views the position.

“We’ll do what is best for the football team," he said when asked if the team plans on selecting a quarterback. "We’ll look at our opportunities and do what’s best.”

Really anything can happen as it relates to a quarterback potentially being taken. The Patriots could trade up for one, select one in the first round, select one in the second round, select one in the middle rounds, select one in the later rounds, select multiple, or even not take one at all. All options remain on the table and it all depends how the team feels about this year's class and also how it views next year's class, too.

2. Patriots down to final stretch of preparation

With just under two weeks left until the draft, Caserio, Monti Ossenfort and the college scouting team are pretty much done with their work on the prospects. The scouts have done all the scouting they can do at the combine, pro days, private workouts and official visits -- now it's about fine-tuning the information that they have.

"I think we’ve accumulated – let’s call it 99 percent of the information, 98 percent of the information – and now we really have to go back and kind of fine tune that, which it’s a little easier to do when you have all of the information so you’re not sitting there talking about, ‘Well, these two guys but we really need to find out more about this guy before we can make that comparison,’" Belichick said. "I think we’re approaching that point now, so when we get into early next week and we finalize some of the – like for example – this weekend is the medical recheck in Indianapolis. That’ll affect some players. Some will get cleared up. Some may not get cleared up. So again, to try to make that evaluation today with information outstanding is kind of a waste of time because you’re going to have to go back and do it again when new information comes in, especially when you know it’s coming. Our process is kind of to get to that point, call it a week before the draft, and pretty much have all of the information in."

3. Belichick not fan of "drafting for need"

When many people try and project who teams will select in the draft, they look at individual team's needs and which positions may need more help than others. Belichick doesn't appear to be a fan of this philosophy.

"The whole draft need thing is – I don’t really understand that," he said. "You put a card up on the board. That doesn’t mean the guy is a good player. I think it’s important to acquire good players wherever they are. If you take a player at a position that you might so called 'need' but he’s not good enough to fill that need, then it’s a wasted pick. So, I don’t understand the whole need thing. I understand player value, and that’s what we try to go by."

The most pressing needs many view the Patriots having are at linebacker, edge and offensive tackle. 

4. Not all players will be at Monday's first offseason voluntary workout

Monday is the first day of the Patriots' offseason program and during his opening remarks, Belichick noted it is voluntary and said he expects it to be heavily attended, but also added he's spoken to some players who will not be there.

"We have the voluntary offseason program that starts on Monday," he said. "It will be heavily attended, but I know there are a couple players that I’ve talked to that have other commitments, but that’s the way it always is, too. So, not really anything new there."

One player who likely will not be there is Brady, as the quarterback is in Qatar through at least Sunday night/Monday serving as Best Buddies Ambassador.

5. Don't over-hype moves made in free agency

During his opening statement, Belichick made reference to the preseason schedule coming out and how the real games don't start until September. This may have been in reference to last year after the draft when many stories were written about how the team could potentially go 16-0 with all the additions it made in the offseason. The coach was very much opposed to that storyline and this may have been a reminder that there's still a long way to go until the regular season.

"The schedule – so the preseason schedule was released and I noticed on that schedule that there are no games in May or June or July," Belichick said. "Preseason games are in August, so it doesn’t look like the regular season is going to start until September this year. So, that’s four months of team building. There will be other player acquisitions and deletions, I’m sure, after the draft, as there always are with our team and every other team in the league. This is one piece of the puzzle, it’s one part of the process, but there are no games scheduled in May." 

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