Former Patriots Scout Shares Insight Into Bill Belichick’s Draft Strategy

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What’s it like to be inside a New England Patriots draft meeting? Jim Nagy pulled back the curtain Wednesday.

Nagy, a former Patriots scout who now runs the Senior Bowl, explained on Twitter the meticulous methods Bill Belichick and his staff would use to evaluate draft prospects each year.

Belichick and former Patriots personnel chief Scott Pioli, Nagy said, created a “very specific” grading scale aimed at projecting the role a given player would have in the third year of his Patriots career. This type of system now is commonplace in the NFL, according to Nagy, especially among teams with head coaches who learned under Belichick (Miami’s Brian Flores, Detroit’s Matt Patricia, Houston’s Bill O’Brien, etc.).

Restrictions put in place to restrict the spread of COVID-19 have made scouting 2020 draft prospects much more difficult for Belichick and his counterparts around the league. The NFL canceled most pro days and has barred teams from working out players or conducting their own pre-draft medical evaluations, forcing teams and players to interact solely over phone and video calls.

This makes judging players with red flags — medical or otherwise — and non-combine participants particularly troublesome. Most Patriots draft classes feature at least one player who either was not invited the NFL Scouting Combine (Ted Karras, Elandon Roberts, Keion Crossen, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner) or did not participate in combine drills (Isaiah Wynn, Braxton Berrios, Bryan Stork).

Potential Patriots targets who fall into the latter group include LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, LSU safety Grant Delpit, Texas safety Brandon Jones, Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins, Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson, Kentucky wide receiver/athlete Lynn Bowden, Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz and Alabama linebackers Terrell Lewis and Anfernee Jennings.

New England currently owns 12 picks in the 2020 draft but just one of the first 86 selections (No. 23 overall).

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Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images

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