Sometimes it seems like the New England Patriots are just that much smarter than the other 31 NFL teams.
The Patriots have won six Super Bowl championships dating back to the 2001 season and have managed to do so largely without star-studded rosters. New England has featured its fair share of household names throughout the Bill Belichick era, but countless key members of Super Bowl-winning teams in Foxboro were relative unknowns prior to joining the Patriots.
So, how have the Pats been able to keep up this trend for all these years? Former New England defensive coordinator Eric Mangini offered some insight during Thursday’s edition of “First Things First” on FOX Sports 1.
“I think (Belichick’s) great strength is being able to deal in the pro market and being able to deal and take advantage of other organizations that transition, where they want to get rid of guys because they want to bring their own guy in,” Mangini said. “And New England can get people at a discount. There is that developmental aspect. There is that ‘we can do things with this player that you can’t do because our system is set up that way.’ ”
Mangini makes an important distinction by noting Belichick’s success at dealing with the pro market, as the Patriots aren’t always big winners year in and year out through the draft. Belichick explained during his Wednesday press conference the difficulties that can come with pre-draft evaluations given the stark differences between college football and the NFL. It’s far easier, as Belichick expressed, to analyze a player who’s gone up against teams you actually play.
The Patriots thus far this offseason have stuck to the mold of adding veteran players who won’t make you jump out of your seat. But given Belichick’s track record, there’s a chance all of the newcomers could become impact players for New England in the 2019 season.