Gil Brandt has been around for 87 years. He spent 33 years as an NFL executive with the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and the Dallas Cowboys, notably building two Super Bowl Champions during his 28 years with the Cowboys.
Brandt helped to create many of the evaluation tools used to measure prospects today, including the NFL Scouting Combine. He is also regarded as one of the best drafters and talent evaluators in NFL history.
But when asked about who he thinks is the best drafter of his lifetime, he said that honor belongs to Bill Belichick. He explained why briefly on Twitter.
That’s 87 years you know. I think Belichick deserves the honor. Somehow, some way he keeps bringing in players to keep his machine going. Wolf, Polian and Beathard belong in the same breath. https://t.co/3Kq07HmSOx
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 30, 2020
On the surface, this may seem like an odd claim. Belichick has been hit or miss in drafts over the course of the past decade. But at the same time, there’s no denying that he has found quality players at all levels of the draft.
Some of his early-round successes include Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Vince Wilfork, Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty, and Chandler Jones. Some notable late-round guys include Julian Edelman, Tully Banta-Cain, and, of course, Tom Brady.
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While some of his more recent picks haven’t panned out — especially second-round picks, as the likes of Duke Dawson, Cyrus Jones, and Jordan Richards all struggled to find time with the team — all 23 players that the Patriots selected in the past three draft classes are still in the NFL whether that’s with New England or another team.
So, Belichick does have an eye for talent, even if all of his picks haven’t panned out. And to Brandt’s point, he has found a lot of success finding players that specifically fit his system. And earlier in his career, he was remarkably good at that.
Belichick’s drafting abilities will surely be put to the test in 2020. Without a second-round pick, the Patriots will need to build up some roster depth and compensate for numerous losses in free agency including those of Brady, Kyle Van Noy, and Jamie Collins, among others.
But if Belichick is truly the NFL’s best drafter like Brandt believes he is, he’ll find a way to add some quality youth to the Patriots roster and keep them competitive during an unusual state of uncertainty in Foxboro.
Hall of Fame GM Gil Brandt says Bill Belichick is best drafter of his lifetime originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston