Bill Belichick Shares a Lesson in Value With Individual Picks and Trades in Draft


Bill Belichick Shares a Lesson in Value With Individual Picks and Trades in DraftFOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick preaches value in the draft as much as anyone, and he came out of Friday's second and third rounds feeling confident in his team's return on their lone trade of the day.

The Patriots traded down, shipping the 62nd pick to the Packers for the 90th and 163rd selections. At the end of it all, New England used the 90th pick on Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette, who Belichick said was among a group of players they considered at No. 62.

Bequette is no slouch, amassing 10 sacks and five forced fumbles as a senior, so the pick and the trade paid off on paper. The fifth-round selection will wait until Saturday.

"We felt like there were enough players on the board [at No. 62] that they would last, that we'd be able to get a similar value in the third round for an additional fifth-round pick," Belichick said. "Jake is good value there for us."

Later, Belichick was asked about the disparity in value between certain trades throughout the draft. For instance, the Browns traded the 67th pick to the Broncos for Nos. 87 and 120. Put those side by side with the Patriots' pick, and it's obvious Cleveland got a better return on its asset than New England.

"There wasn't a real, I think, a steady, consistent trade pattern, I'll put it that way," Belichick said. "Some trades look better than others, I guess, when you put them up against each other. But in all honesty, the picks were moving pretty quickly, and we kind of focused on what the opportunities were rather than trying to analyze each one. A lot of it just depends what's on the board, what you feel about what's up there, how motivated you are to pick, or how motivated you are to try to add picks, what the options are."

As a follow-up, Belichick was asked about that lack of consistency. Basically, with the new rookie wage scale, is there a new blueprint for the values of each draft pick? And does that value make Jimmy Johnson's trade-value chart obsolete by today's measures? That theory doesn't have universal value because the later-round picks are making relatively similar money now as before, but the point stands.

Belichick's answer was telling. Chart or not, the value of each pick and each trade is independent of the market at every single selection.

"If you make a trade, you've got to have two people agree to it," Belichick said. "If two people agree, then whatever it is, that's a good trade if you're willing to accept the terms that somebody else is willing to give you, vice versa. If it works for both teams, then you've got a trade. If it doesn't, it doesn't make a difference what any chart says or what any value is. If two teams aren't willing to make the exchange, then you don't have a trade. I don't care what the chart says."

Each team must identify its own degrees of value. The examples are littered across the draft's 18 trades in the first three rounds.

Did the Browns get fleeced for competing against themselves to trade up for running back Trent Richardson at No. 3? Did the Patriots steal Dont'a Hightower by sending a fourth-rounder to move up six spots in the first round? And did the Patriots get a raw deal because they didn't draw as much value as the Browns, even though the two teams unloaded comparable picks?

The answers will come from the players each team has coveted — for their on-field performances reflect value, not a simple math formula on a generic trading sheet.

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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