Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium following day one of the 2010 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 22, 20010.
BB: It felt like, at the end of the round there, things came out about as well as we could have hoped for. Devin [McCourty] is a player that is in an outstanding program at Rutgers. He's coached by coach [Greg] Schiano and their staff. Devin's had an outstanding career there. He's fast. He's tough. He's a good four down football player – first, second, third and fourth down and in the kicking game he's certainly one of the top guys in the draft in that area. I think he's shown consistent production in that program and again, in a well-coached program. I have a lot of respect for what he's done there. We felt like backing off a little bit we would be able to still make that pick and that was the case. In the end, we acquired a third round pick tomorrow – number 90. We felt like that was good value the way things turned out. We're looking forward to tomorrow with several opportunities to improve our football team in one way or another as it unfolds. It's kind of interesting how it happened to one with the one round in one day – prime time kind of thing. It gives us a chance to restack the board like all the other teams are doing and approach the second round a little differently than how we've done in the past. Hopefully we'll take advantage of our opportunities there.
Q: When did you settle on Devin McCourty?
BB: Well the way the board was coming down we felt like he would be the player with the best value for us.
Q: You mentioned by backing off the pick you were still able to make the pick. Is that an indication that at 22 had you stayed there you would have taken McCourty?
BB: Yeah, we would have.
Q: The fact that there are a lot of spread offenses in the NFL and in your division in particular, is there a priority in your mind to get as many athletic, fast, speedy cornerbacks as you can?
BB: I think in our offense and the way the leagues gone in the last year I think it's gone the other way. I think there're less spread offenses. I see a lot more teams with fullbacks – Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati – that's more of a two back team. Certainly the running game is an important part of the Jets and Miami's offensive system, as I expect it will be in Buffalo with Chan [Gailey]. I think that those offenses are tending to be a little less spread than some of the ones we've seen a couple years ago. But it doesn't make any difference. They can spread them out if they want to and we're going to have to defend whatever they do. So I think having a good combination of players that can do that is important, particularly in the secondary where you have guys that can run for us and tackle as well as cover.
Q: How dicey was it between 22 and 24 and then moving down again to 27, wondering whether or not someone was going to jump on him or did you think you valued him higher than other teams?
BB: It was just kind of the way it looked at that point. There were some picks there that we anticipated would go about the way they did, but there were other players we had value with. I think we would have gotten a similar value of player at 27, so even if it ended up not being him it would have been another player comparable to him. We wouldn't have moved back to go down on the grading scale to take a lesser player to pick up another pick. That wasn't the idea. The idea was to get the same level of player, the same grade of player and being able to add something on the other end.
Q: Had you not signed Torry Holt would you have been more interested in signing Dez Bryant?
BB: I don't think Holt really had anything to do with the draft. I think we drafted the players based on the players that were on the board not based on guys we signed.
Q: So you felt this defensive back was better than Dez Bryant?
BB: We draft the players that we felt would be best for our football team. That's right. That's the way it will always be.
Q: Why isn't there more emphasis on the pass rush?
BB: There's emphasis on every part of the defense. We've resigned a couple players – one of ours, another team's player with Damione [Lewis], which I think will address that and the rest of the team building. There's a long time before we play a game, so we'll see where things are at that point in time.
Q: Do you worry that with this pick you might have trouble getting enough of the defensive backs on the field at the same time?
BB: No. I think we have good depth at that position. I think they will all contribute. Hopefully they will all contribute.
Q: Did you consider moving up in the draft?
BB: We talked about it a little bit, but we didn't feel there was a great opportunity for that based on what happened and the conversations we had we just didn't feel like that was the right thing to do.
Q: This is three years in a row now that you've traded down in the first round, is that because of value you felt you could get?
BB: Yes. It was based on the way the board looked when we were picking. We didn't go into the draft saying this is what we're going to do. We got to a certain point and then decided what we felt was the best thing to do and that's how it turned out.
Q: As the first round unfolded what surprised you? Was it Tyson Alualu being drafted 10th?
BB: Those top picks came off the way we would expect it would. There're always a couple players in there, but he's [Tyson Alualu] a good player. I think there are a lot of good players that went in that round and there're still a lot of good players on the board. I wouldn't criticize anybody else's picks. I think all the players that were picked were good players. We had them all highly rated. What an individual team needs, what's best for their team I respect that and I think all the players that were picked were good players.
Q: What was the elite cutoff – five guys, ten guys?
BB: I don't know if there was one. We had players that were all, as I said, highly graded players and they were picked and had already been selected. It didn't surprise me that they were. They are good.
Q: Did you have conversations about moving back a third time?
BB: Yes. We had offers every time we were on the clock.
Q: Can you talk about him in the return game?
BB: I think he's had some production in kickoff returns, he's an excellent cover guy – covering kicks, gunners, special teams, kickoff coverage, hold up on the punt returns. He's had a very significant role in the kicking game and was very good at it. He blocked kicks. He's versatile. He can do a number of things for us in the kicking game.
Q: He mentioned that he spent an hour with you watching film when you were down at Rutgers. What did you learn from him in that hour?
BB: I think Devin has a real good understanding of his defense, the techniques, the calls, not just what he's doing, but what the entire defense is doing – the big picture and how the defense is put together – what the line stunts are. He's a very aware player. It's obvious that he's well coached, he studied hard, he's prepared and thoroughly understands the defense, the opponents and the offenses that he's faced. We look for that in terms of players that are well prepared and work hard in their preparation and the importance of football and I think he clearly has a high level of that.
Q: He's talked about studying film on Darrelle Revis. Are there some similarities in the way they play?
BB: I think any player can look at good players and learn from them as we can as coaches. We watch good players and learn and watch what they do and sometimes try to impart that to either another good player or players that can learn from those guys. I think that's pretty common. I admire that about players that do that, that work at their craft, look at other players that play their position and see things that can be helpful to them and try to emulate them. I think that's a positive trait of a player that wants to get better that is looking at people who are high quality players and trying to learn something from them.
Q: I know it's a new setup, but how do you envision the next 18 hours playing out?
BB: I think it will pretty much go like the last 18 hours or whatever it was before the first round. I think everybody will reset their boards, and look at it as we drafted a player and — for lack of a better word — that need was filled, that player takes that role on the team, whatever it happens to be that player does. That's one less thing that teams will need to address as they start the second round. It's just the first round, adding a player to the team and subtracting a player from draft board. I know a couple of teams had two picks and a couple of teams had no picks, but on balance, that's what it turns out to be.
Q: If you hadn't had those big holes, going from pick 53 to pick 90, might you have taken McCourty in a different spot?
BB: I don't think so. The fact that we didn't have a third-round pick, that didn't really factor into the trade. The value was good in the first trade with Denver and the second trade with Dallas. We didn't move very far and we felt that based on what the other teams in those spots were going to be doing, we felt we'd be OK with the picks. It was [Bryan] Bulaga and Tim Tebow. We felt like those guys would be OK there.
Q: Was it difficult that players like Jared Odrick and Sergio Kindle were available to balance some of the team's needs were still on the board?
BB: Well, again, I think that there are a lot of good players on the board. They all can help a football team on offense, defense, whatever it is. I think Devin's ability to help the team on four downs, it's hard for me to picture a player who can do more than that. There aren't too many players that can really impact the game on first, second, third and fourth downs. I think that he can be a player that can contribute in all four of those areas and I think that gives him a lot of versatility and a lot of value. You may disagree, but I don't see it that way.
Q: Your stock-piling of picks and trading down might also be a reflection of your feeling on the depth of the draft ...
BB: Well, I wouldn't really say it's a stock-piling of picks. It's a question of if you can take a player at one point and you feel you could take a player at a later point and gain value somewhere else in the draft. Why not do it? It wasn't really an attempt to ... We've got to get a pick in this round and we've got a pick here. We felt like that player was and we felt that what was going on around us that he would be available at 25 and then 27, wherever we ended up taking him — whatever the numbers were, 24 and 27. That was two different spots. We felt like that it would work out that way, based on the other teams.
Q: Do you have a general sense now of who's going to be available tomorrow? Are there one, two, or three players that are still there that you didn't necessarily feel would be there at the top of the second round?
BB: I don't know if we've really gone into that much detail on it. Rather than worry about what's going to be there tomorrow, we're more focused on what was there today and what we were going to do today. Now, we'll sit back and take a closer look at what actually is there tomorrow, what our picks are, what our opportunities are and try to figure it out. I think that's more of a tonight thing than it was last night and trying to think of what was going to be there at the end of the round. We were more focused on the 22nd pick and how to get the most out of that. So we'll take a look at that tonight and tomorrow morning.
Q: Did you think that as far down as you could go for McCourty and that he was going to come off the board after that?
BB: We felt like that was the best thing to do for our team at that time, absolutely.
Q: With how many picks you have left, do you expect to get offers or at least receive phone calls about them?
BB: We'll try to do the best we can with the opportunities we have. I don't know what those are going to be, but we'll going to try to do the best we can with them.
Q: Just curious, but what's the plan for you now? Do you wake up early tomorrow and go at it then?
BB: We're going to try to wrap up a few things tonight and get a little lay of the land. Then we'll kind of sleep on it, get a good night sleep and we'll start over in the morning — just like you.