Patriots owner Robert Kraft talked about several topics related to the organization, including the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Kraft said the Patriots haven’t “done the greatest job the last few years” in the draft. Head coach Bill Belichick had his annual pre-draft news conference and talked about Kraft’s comments, the Patriots and the NFL draft.
“We’re always looking to get better,” Belichick said. “We always try to evaluate everything that we do and try to find a better way to do it. That’s, I would say, an annual process with the draft, but it’s something that we do on a regular basis throughout the course of the season, whatever period of time it is. (We’re) always looking to do a better job.”
Of the 10 players New England drafted in the first three rounds in 2017-2019, three had to leave the team. Derek Rivers, Antonio Garcia, and Duke Dawson are no longer Patriots. Yodny Cajuste has yet to play an NFL snap and N’Keal Harry may be traded in the offseason. Joejuan Williams was pushed at the bottom of the depth chart for two years. Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel, and Damien Harris struggle with injuries.
Bill Belichick leads the Patriots to a different draft scenario
Kraft believes that Belichick and his staff will take a “different approach” in 2021. Belichick didn’t provide much info on the draft prep. However, he said the Patriots got better at navigating the coronavirus-related restrictions that affected the process in 2020.
Ahead of last year’s draft, college pro days and individual visits/workouts were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pro day circuit returned in 2021, but the NFL Scouting Combine was wiped. Private workouts are off limits.
“There were some things last year that were unique to the draft process,” Belichick said. “Some of those are similar this year. Some of them are a little bit different. So we certainly used some of that experience to improve the process a little bit this year — at least we felt we improved it this year.
“But ultimately, we’re still going to try to evaluate the players and make the decisions that we feel like are best for the football team. We’ll continue to do that, and that’s really what we’ve always tried to do. I don’t think the mission’s changed.”