Bill Belichick is looking at the scoreboard to defend his recent draft record.
With the Patriots in foreign territory at 3-5 halfway through the season, the spotlight has turned to the team not getting great returns from its draft classes over the last few years. But Belichick opted to look at the big picture.
“I’d say the most important thing to me is winning games,” he told reporters Friday. “I’m not going to apologize for our record over the last 20 years. I’ve seen a lot worse.”
Indeed, the Patriots are 235-77 over the last 20 years with six Lombardi Trophies to show for it. Unless they turn things around soon, though, they are on pace for their first losing season since 2000.
The Patriots lost Tom Brady to the Buccaneers last offseason, and haven’t quite been able to replenish their roster depth via the draft.
“Any time you bring a player on to your team, you put him into a role or situation that you think fits him,” Belichick said. “Sometimes you have to modify that a little bit as you get to know the player. Then you work with him to try to develop that. He competes with other players at whatever position it is or whatever role it is.
“Ultimately we choose, I choose, the best player out of that competition. So that’s really the process.”
Of Belichick’s 33 draft picks since 2017, nine are no longer with the organization and only nine are currently starters on the Patriots. Their most recent draft class included 10 picks, but only sixth-round selection, guard Michael Onwenu, is making a big impact. Two 2020 picks, including fifth-round kicker Justin Rohrwasser, are now on their practice squad while the two tight ends Belichick drafted in the third round have combined for one catch.
Not that the future Hall of Famer was particularly interested in discussing a deep dive on it.
“Right now, drafting scorecard, which I understand you want to write about that, which is great — but really trying to focus on getting ready for the Ravens,” he said. “So I think I’ll leave my attention on that.”