Belichick: This is best DL draft class in memory


Belichick: This is best DL draft class in memory

By Tom E. Curran

The 2011 NFL draft is stocked with talent among front-seven defenders, Patriots coach Bill Belichick told me this week. And when it comes to finding players who might make impactson thedefensive line, Belichick says there's more of those "than in any draft I can remember.""There is a lot of depth at the top of the draft," said Belichick. "Some good defensive front seven players and on the defensivefront, probably more depth than in any draft I can remember."The full five-minute interview (complete with wordy, meandering questions from me) will air in its entirety during the Quick Slants Draft Special Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet New England. Belichick also said that, when it comes to trade offers, the Patriots have "been on the receiving end of more calls than we've made" during the run-up to the draft. The Patriots own the 17th, 28th and 33rd overall picks. They have two picks in each of the first three rounds. "You always have to be ready to pick," said Belichick. "Theres no guarantee there will be a trade. If you're looking to trade up, you're looking to move up where you can go get a certain player. Draft trades are made for players. Not picks. You dont want picks, you want a guy."In less than a week, we'll find out which guy(s) New England wanted. In addition to the Belichick sitdown, the Quick Slants Draft Special features a roundtable with Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung and Dane Fletcher on their draft experiences, conversations with prospects Cam Jordan and Ryan Williams, a segment with National Football Post draft expert Wes Bunting and - as always - viewer comments and opinions during the interactive segments with Mary Paoletti.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

PFT: Belichick can still diagram his dad’s Navy plays from 1959

CBS interviewed Patriots coach Bill Belichick and 1960 Heisman winner Joe Bellino from Navy as part of its Army-Navy Game coverage Saturday.

Belichick's father, Steve, was an assistant coach at Navy when Bellino played there, and little Bill, then 7, took it all in. So much so, that 57 years later, Belichick can still diagram the 27 F Trap play that his dad used to drew up in the 1959 season for Bellino.

More from NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk here.


Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

When trying to figure out what the Patriots will ultimately do with Jimmy Garoppolo, forget about the speculation and instead focus on the little things the team does. 

Like how they are tending to Jacoby Brissett. 

After having thumb surgery on Oct. 7, Brissett was put on IR. But the team used its one "Get off of IR free card" on Brissett and he's been practicing with the team for the past couple of weeks while not taking up a roster spot. 

That alone isn't compelling evidence that he's the backup-in-waiting and Garoppolo's about to be packed up and shipped out, argued my compadre, Senator Phil Perry. The team had no other players on IR that they could use the designation on at the time. Why not use it on Brissett?

Prior to that, though, we've seen Brissett accompanying the team to away games including the cross-country junket to San Francisco. A reason? Since the Patriots played three straight at Gillette at the start of the season when Brissett was the direct backup to Garoppolo, he didn't get a good look at the road operation and the tempo of being the visiting team. How things work on flights, in meetings, at opposing stadiums and on the sidelines is worth getting a promising young players' eyes on. Also, getting his offensive teammates used to having him around is probably an even bigger benefit. It's not unprecedented to have IR players travel but its not conventional practice either. 

With so many quarterback-needy teams around the league, Garoppolo is perhaps the most attractive option out there. By the end of this year, he will have apprenticed three seasons behind the best quarterback of all-time in a sophisticated offense for a program that's as demanding as any in the league. In the 1 1/2 games he was able to play as a starter in place of Tom Brady, he was sensational.

He got hurt and that's not great. But any team making a deal for him that has concerns about his durability can take him for a spin for one season. Garoppolo is on the books for $825K in 2017 and then his contract is up. The team that dealt for him can franchise him if they need another season to think on it. 

I don't think the Patriots are itching to move Garoppolo. They know they are sitting comfortably with a stack of the most valuable commodity in the sport -- good quarterbacks (or at least one great one and two promising ones) - piled in front of them. They can let the game come to them. 

If it does, as former Patriots executive and Bill Belichick consigliere Mike Lombardi thinks it will, the Patriots can rest easy dealing Garoppolo knowing that they already did advance work getting Brissett up to speed.