PALM BEACH -- It was as honest and revealing a phrase as Bill Belichick uttered in his 45 minutes speaking with the media on Tuesday.
And it's an important one to keep in mind as full attention now becomes directed at the 2012 draft.
Speaking about scouting, Belichick said, "You see different levels of competition in college, so you try to project how all that will transfer up to the NFL level and more specifically your team. Its very challenging. And thats why we all make a lot of mistakes in the draft process. Its far from an exact science."
The Patriots currently hold six draft picks. Two each in the first and second rounds; single picks in the third and fourth and no picks in rounds five through seven. There's little doubt the team will make deals to add picks for the late rounds because they've always gotten good value late. That's when the Patriots are prone to taking some gambles.
"Whenever you take any player you have everything that comes with them. So, whatever that is, their personality, their size, their speed their instincts, their . . . everything," Belichick answered when asked about weighing conduct concerns. "You get the whole thing, so put them all together, its a mosaic of components and thats what you have and you put some kind of value on it. Whatever thats worth.
"Some things increase the guys value, maybe his position flexibility or his leadership or whatever it is, and other things may pull it down a little bit, whatever those happen to be," he added. "But in the end, you have to establish some type of value in what you think the persons role would be on your team. But based on that, you either put him on your team or dont put them on your team. But it all comes once you have them, then you have all that with it . . . Sure, there are definitely things that push some players down, keep you from taking them higher, absolutely."
As always, the projection from the college game to the NFL is the hardest part of the evaluation process.
"Thats always a challenge, project a guy from one system to not only a higher level of play, but also a different style of play," said Belichick. "And that affects both sides of the ball, really. Guys who are playing defense are defending what they see in college and what they see at this level is a little different from what they see in college. Not saying its good or bad, its just different."