Bill Belichick has made a habit of collecting quarterbacks in his 15 seasons with the New England Patriots.
Belichick’s shrewdest draft pick came in his first year at the helm, when he selected Tom Brady 199th overall exactly 15 years ago on April 16, 2000. The Patriots already had Drew Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop on their roster, so the selection was met with some head scratching.
“Who’s the better player, I don’t know,” Belichick said 15 years ago when asked about the pick, via ESPN.com. “But too many quarterbacks is a lot better situation than not enough quarterbacks. We have five preseason games and I’ll just put (the quarterbacks) out there and let them play. We’ll see how they perform.”
Belichick’s philosophy has not changed over the years. The Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo 62nd overall last season, when they already had Brady and Ryan Mallett on their roster.
“With the situation we have at quarterback, I think that we felt as an organization that we needed to address that to some degree in the future, so we?ll see how all that works out, but I think you?re better off being early than late at that position,” Belichick said after taking Garoppolo.
The Patriots have drafted eight quarterbacks since Belichick took over in 2000 (Brady, Rohan Davey, Kliff Kingsbury, Matt Cassel, Kevin O’Connell, Zac Robinson, Mallett and Garoppolo). Only the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins have drafted more QBs since 2000, according to research by WEEI.com’s Christopher Price.
Brady has missed just 15 regular-season games — all in 2008, when he tore an ACL — since taking over as the Patriots’ starter in 2001, but that hasn’t made Belichick any less cautious about the position. Belichick’s approach worked wonders 15 years ago, and it seems he’ll never allow himself to be left empty-handed at signal-caller.
Thumbnail photo via Facebook/Tony Augmon