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Transcript: Bill Belichick Post-Draft Press Conference 4/30

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's post-draft press conference following Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday, April 30, 2021.


Video Conference Call
Friday, April 30, 2021

BB: We started the day and moved up to take [Christian] Barmore in the top part of the second round there. It's pretty unusual to get the first defensive tackle to be drafted at that point and the first interior defensive lineman to be drafted at that point in the draft, so we traded up. Felt good about acquiring that and look forward to working with Christian. He's played a number of different positions in Coach [Nick] Saban's defense and has worked pretty much across the front from five technique to the nose. So, obviously, as we talked about with Mac [Jones] yesterday, he's been in a great program, has been very well coached and look forward to working with him. And then took Ronnie Perkins at the end of the third round there. Ronnie's a disruptive player, physical outside linebacker defensive end-type. We'll see how that goes when we get him here and work with him, but another guy that has good ability to be disruptive on defense and play physical, has a very physical playing style. So, again, look forward to seeing him as well and kind of reset the board again tonight, as we did last night, and take a look at our opportunities tomorrow with our picks and how to best plan to utilize them. But of course I'll have to wait and see how things unfold as the four rounds progress tomorrow. So just another night and morning of preparation and we'll just be ready to go tomorrow and see what happens.

Q. With Christian what did you see for him athletically for his size and then also just his ability as a pass rusher?

BB: He's got good ability as a pass rusher. Again, that's a high quality, high level football in the SEC and he's rushed from, as I said, kind of across the front, but he has a good knack, good instincts, and good quickness for his size to be able to do that and can play with length on the running game. Again, I think there's -- he hasn't played a ton of football. I think he played around 25, 30 percent last year and then, in 2019, and then this past year probably a little closer to, maybe a little over 50 percent play time. So just total number of snaps and such, but obviously he practices against good players, guys that are drafted high in the draft. So he sees those guys every day and has worked against a lot of good offensive linemen in the SEC. So he's been a productive player for Alabama, but more so this year than in 2019.

Q. A couple weeks ago when you talked to us you talked about the challenges of assessing the film from a lot of college football last year with it being a strange year and all that. Just with the first two picks coming from Alabama, maybe it's coincidental, but is there anything about their season where it was a SEC schedule with fans in the building, and then obviously the high profile of the playoffs that made those guys stand out maybe a little more?

BB: I don't know. Again, we watched a lot of film in 2020, a lot of film in 2019, and watched film in 2018, as well, to watch the development of some of the players. Now, some players you're talking about, we're talking about, didn't play a lot in 2018, especially the two at Alabama. But, again, each player has his own path to where he ended up his college career and so we just follow that and just try to evaluate it the best we can. But certainly Alabama always has a very high level of football. Those players are well-coached. They're well-conditioned. They're well-trained. And so are most of the other teams in the SEC that they play against or in other conferences they play against them in the playoffs. So that's great competition to evaluate.

Q. Did you get to hear Stanley Morgan or see him announce that pick?

BB: No, I missed it.

Q. He had some nice words to say. So I was curious your reaction on that. But on the trade --

BB: Always nice, yeah.

Q. Yeah. On the trade for Barmore, like, timing-wise, can you sort of detail how that goes down, like, is that something you guys are working on over the course of the day or is it on-the-clock-type thing?

BB: Yeah, all those trades vary a little bit. Again, each one could be a little bit different, but we have several people in the draft room and different people working with different teams and so forth and, honestly, I'm not sure exactly how the communication went on that. I think Elliot [Wolf] really handled that particular trade. Although, I'm not a hundred percent sure on that, but I think he did. So it just kind of depends on how it falls and whether it actually ends up getting executed or not. But we had several people that worked those trade lines and so sometimes people call us, sometimes we call them. It just varies, honestly, from pick to pick.

Q. On Perkins, he had that suspension, obviously, like, what steps did you guys take just to gain comfort with him as it relates to that?

BB: Yeah, well, we do that kind of background work and everything on every player. So, yeah, we're comfortable with Ron.

Q. Going back to the trade for Christian. Was he one of a few players that you might have considered moving up for there early in the second, given the way the first round developed or was he maybe just one guy you really wanted to hone in on?

BB: Look, there are a lot of good players on the board, a lot of good players in the draft. Ultimately, the opportunity to draft Christian was, it came to us and we took it. So that's really about the extent of it. But I wouldn't… there's a lot of other good players that were drafted in the last two days, so I wouldn't say that, like, he was the only guy on the board.

Q. As it pertains to tomorrow with the smaller class, is there any sense that, from your perspective, that picks this year might be slightly undervalued, given teams are working from smaller boards with fewer players that played less football and signed with agents and might be looking to trade into the future? Do you get any of that sense from other teams, given just the unusual draft that we have here?

BB: I think that's a reasonable hypothesis. I would say that the prices on the trades have been, I think, a little higher than normal. Certainly at the end of the third round those trades are pretty high. There weren't a lot of trades in the first round, but I thought those were pretty high. So I don't know if there's really a lot of evidence to back that up. That's something you could look at. But just my general impressions was what teams were paying to move up pretty much at the start of the second round and then in the latter -- well, maybe the whole third round, that it seemed like the trade, the teams that were moving back were doing pretty well on those trades. So when you -- you can look at charts and do whatever you want, but in the end, it's a transaction between two clubs and if it's an auction, if there are two or three teams bidding for the pick, then the team that moves back is selling it for whatever they can get for it. It doesn't really matter what anything says. So, and that's kind of what the way it seemed to me. How that will go tomorrow, I don't know. You could be right. I think the teams that traded into next year did it because there was a lot of value. The Giants moving into next year in the first round, the second round pick this year. So I think teams that were able to get those picks, I'm sure, obviously, they were happy with the trade or they wouldn't have made them. But at the same time, teams were willing to give up picks in next year's draft to move up, probably because they didn't have enough resources in this year's draft to meet the price that it was going to cost them to move. So, you know, that's about the way I saw it. I don't know. So we'll see what happens tomorrow. I don't really know how that's going to go. The prices may continue to be high or the prices might fall in relative terms. I think generally speaking they're going to be in kind of a normal range but they could either be a little above the normal or a little below the normal.

Q. When you guys entered this draft, was there a goal to add multiple players to your front seven defensive line or were the picks today more reflective of how your draft board fell?

BB: Yeah, we can't control what's going to be on the board. There's 31 other teams picking, so we just try to take advantage of our opportunities in the draft to improve our team however we can. So that's the way I've always approached it. I really can't work any other way. I don't feel comfortable going to the draft saying, well, we're going to take one guy at this position and take another guy at that position or, like, it doesn't go that way, then I just don't think you're getting the value for the picks that you have. Now, look, we have all, you know, made picks that worked out well and we have all made picks that didn't work out so well. So it's an inexact science and I'm not saying that all the decisions are, have been good decisions or bad decisions or anything else. But at the time we did it, we felt like we were doing the best that we could for our football team and to make our team, both on a short-term basis and obviously the draft is something that extends over a period of time for the four years that the players or potentially five years in the first round, but call it the four years that the players are, that club has rights to that player. So there is a longer term value in the selections that go into today. So, but, yeah. No, I can't, I would say I've never gone into a draft saying, like, well, we got to draft somebody or other at this position or this group of positions or whatever. It's sometimes those players are there and sometimes they're not. Sometimes they're there and you can really use them and sometimes they're there and maybe you don't feel that it's as necessary, but then when you get good players on your team inevitably you use them. So I've heard that before, why did you draft James White and he's inactive all year and why did you draft Damien Harris and he was inactive all year and then later on the next year and in the course of their careers those guys have, those are examples of guys that became very valuable. So that's -- I think you try to acquire good football players and we'll figure out how to use them.

Q. Ronnie Perkins had a pretty good conversation with your son and I just want to know just what was the thought process that went into picking him and what did you like about the player?

BB: Right. Yeah, I mean, again, Ronnie's a versatile player, he's played on both ends of the line, both left end and right end, strong side, weak side, he's also reduced down and played some three technique. He's dropped on occasion, not very much, most of the time he's in the rush, but not always, but most of the time he is. So there are times when he lines up on the edge, on the tight end, on a tackle, there are times when he lines up in the guard tackle gap. So you, if you watch him play, you get a number of opportunities to evaluate his playing strengths, especially against bigger people. His toughness, his effort, his instinctiveness, he's again, a versatile player that is productive in the running game, he's been productive in the passing game, he again is instinctive on plays like screens and reverses and things like that, he has a pretty good just nose for the ball and he's a tough player, he's tough and he's physical, he has a good playing style. So those are some of the things that again -- again he played in a good, obviously a very good team, a good program, a high level of competition, and did well. So those are some of the things with him.

And then I don't know if -- is Phil [Perry] on the call? Doesn't sound like it. Well, when you do the transcript there, but Phil asked a question yesterday about the grading and so I just want to give a quick comment on that. Not trying to be evasive about the grading and all that, but I would just say that we don't grade players like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. That's just not, it's just not the way we do it. We use a combination of numbers, letters, colors and those things all have different meanings, defending upon what they would indicate about the player's circumstances or situation or whatever it is that involved the players. And all the players are different and a lot of them, you know, in the end there really aren't that many of them that come to the school, play their career there, and leave. There's things that happen in between and a variety of circumstances and so we have ways to identify those. So sometimes the color's going override the number, sometimes the letter is going override the numbers or the colors and so forth. And so it's not, you know, this guy's at an 85 and this guy's at an 83, it just doesn't work like that. There's a number, a color, possibly a letter or letters that go with those players and those things could all, depending upon what they represent, could all override something else that's a part of the grade. So it just really the way we identify the player and tag the player is one that helps us classify. It's just too hard to generalize and give a player an 85 grade or whatever and then, like what does that mean? But if you can tag that grade, that number grade, whatever it is, with something that would indicate other things regarding injuries or how many schools he's been to or whether he was a transfer or if he came out early or if he switched positions or so forth and so on, played at a lower level of competition, I mean, there's dozens of things here that we could talk about. It becomes a pretty complex scale.

So not trying to ignore with him what it is, but it would be impossible for me to sit here and explain the grade scale and how it works and interacts and all that. That takes, honestly, you know, months of, I would say, understanding between the scouting department and working through a lot of different situations to really be able to utilize it effectively so we can categorize players in the right, in what we feel is the right fashion. Not saying it's right, but we do it so that we can identify things and have ways to work through players and their situations to try to have as fair and as good an evaluation on them as we can.

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