FOXBORO – Quick hits from Bill Belichick’s pre-draft press conference at Gillette Stadium this morning:
Defining this draft. Asked to define the draft, Belichick noted the high number of juniors. He also made the point that there are a lot of medical questions on players, particularly at the top of the draft. One aspect that makes this draft unusual, in his view, is the number of players who will be drafted high that didn’t even play football last year.
Will moves in AFC East impact draft strategy? Belichick said the Patriots won’t be swayed by others, such as the Jets and Dolphins. “Every team is going to improve by next weekend,” he said. “Whatever teams draft, and whatever moves they make, they’ll be a better team than they are right now. That’s obvious. I think the big thing for us is to focus on our team. We all know that teams make moves in the offseason to bring players on to their team, and how those work out, a lot of times we don’t know ourselves until all those pieces come together and everything gets put in and you actually have a body of work to evaluate -- preseason games, practices, some regular season games. I think right now, for anybody to try to project how all that is going to turn out – other than how it looks on paper – it’s stretching it quite a bit.”
No movement on restricted free agents. Some predicted a busy offseason when it came to restricted free agents. That hasn’t unfolded, and the Patriots never seriously pursued that avenue. Belichick said the club didn’t see any fits when all factors – which include draft-pick compensation and contract – were considered.
Pre-draft visits mostly medical in nature. Belichick was asked about the value of pre-draft visits with prospects at Gillette Stadium. He said the main reason for those visits was medical.
Opening with congratulations. Belichick started his press conference by congratulating the three finalists to the Patriots Hall of Fame, as well as Boston College hockey coach Jerry York for winning another national championship. He called York a “good friend.”