It's hard to argue that, over the years, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has had a lot of success in the NFL Draft, locating top talent in just about every round of the draft during his illustrious 21-year managerial career.
Among the canopy of NFL stars 'The Hoodie' has drafted are QB Tom Brady (seventh round), DT Richard Seymour (first round) and recently-retired WR Julian Edelman (seventh round).
Nevertheless, like with every other coach in the history of the NFL, Belichick has had his fair share of duds too.
The NFL Draft is eventually a lottery, and some players just don't show the same career progression as expected due to various reasons. It could be that the rookie has a bad temperament or a poor work ethic; perhaps he was just overhyped from the get-go or placed in the wrong scheme or position. There are a million things that can go wrong.
Also read: Who Is Tom Brady's Wife, Gisele Bündchen?
Three prospects the New England Patriots should ignore in the 2021 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is more about finding a diamond in the rough than it is shopping at Macy's. Just ask Pats fans about Chad Jackson and Dominique Easley.
The 2021 NFL Draft will be no different in that regard, and there will be more than a couple of turds in the punchbowl that Old Bill will want to avoid.
On that note, let's run a comb-over and have a look at three prospects, in no particular order, the New England Patriots should ignore in the 2021 NFL Draft. Without further ado, let's get started.
#1 First Round: OT Walker Little (Stanford)
The New England Patriots lost OL Joe Thuney to the Chiefs during the NFL free agency period last month. But Bellichick acted quickly to replace him, bringing in Trent Brown from the Raiders.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Pats attempt to further buttress the OL next week. But looking at the depth chart, it doesn't look to be an area in need of immediate attention.
LT Isaiah Wynn, LG Mike Onwenu, C David Andrews, RT Trent Brown, and RG Shaq Mason are about as resilient an offensive line as there could be any in the NFL. So, for my money, the Pats can afford to look past a few rounds before adding any new talent.
Specifically talking about Stanford's Walker Little, he might be one of the most hotly-tipped OLs heading into next week's showcase event. But he hasn't played for the best part of two years, something that is disconcerting.
One would expect his prolonged absence from top-level college football to have stunted his development; no matter how great he was in 2018, atrophy is a killer in elite sport.
Also Read: Complete 2020 NFL Draft Results
#2 First Round: QB Kyle Trask (Florida)
If I had to bet on which QB Bill Belichick is dreaming of right now, it would be Alabama's Mac Jones.
In my most recent three-round Mock Draft, the Crimson Tide's signal-caller dropped down the board to No. 15 and landed right in Belichick's lap (and no, I'm not a Pats fan).
However, chances are that this won't happen, and the New England Patriots will look for another Q, unless they trade up, of course.
It's not that the former Florida Gator isn't a very good QB; he is one. We've all seen footage of Kyle Trask slinging passes to teammates and fellow draft prospect TE Kyle Pitts. But to take Trask in the very first round at No. 15 would be a bit of a reach.
If Trask is still on the board in the NFL draft's second round, the New England Patriots could go for him, though. But teams reach every year when drafting for needs, and that seemingly never ends well.
Trask has plenty to work on, too, according to DraftNetwork:
"Trask’s biggest challenges come further down the field and when forced to play outside the normal structure of the offense. A slew-footed operator, he doesn’t have the athleticism necessary to consistently make off-script plays. He is an often-used option in designed QB runs, but his big frame is an asset on runs during short conversion situations. Trask’s lower half may need to be reconstructed, as it is the root of why most of his passes die in the deeper portions of the field. Similar to his surroundings in college, in order to reach/see his full potential, he will need to have an adequate play-caller, protection and playmakers around him."
Trask is a player with a lot of potential but seems destined for a season or two of bedding in before he's ready to lead an NFL franchise, especially one with the stature of the New England Patriots.
Trade up and get the kid in round two by all means, but don't blow a first-round pick to appease fans or fill a hole in the depth chart.
#3 First Round: WR Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)
If one looks at the incredible one-handed catch above, it's easy to see why so many are so keen on Minnesota's Rashod Bateman.
When one checks the message boards and listens to fans in the know, though, one begins to find mixed reviews on the highly-rated draft prospect. Many Gophers fans claim Bateman is afraid of contact; he doesn't like being tackled, etc. More than a couple of NFL analysts fear Bateman goes missing at times in the big moments.
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein reported that a Midwest scout had this to say of Bateman:
"The production looks good on paper, but I was at a couple of his games in 2019 and I just wanted to feel (his presence) more."
It's not that Bateman doesn't have star potential. Clearly, he does: the one-handed take in the footage above is absolutely superb. But perhaps he's not the best fit for Bellichick's notoriously robust offensive scheme with the New England Patriots. So, I think they'd be better off with Purdue's Rondale Moore, just my opinion.
Also Read: Complete 2019 NFL Draft Results