The NFL is Finally Catching Onto What Every Patriots Fan Understood Immediately: Belichick Screwed the Jets on Draft Night

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Before we begin, allow me to tweak my own headline. I can't speak to whether or not every Patriots fan immediately understood what Bill Belichick did Thursday night when he traded out of the 14th pick for Pittsburgh's at No. 17 and a 4th rounder, No. 120 overall. But I know I did:

Old Balls, in the middle of Round 1 - I think everyone in New England was bracing themselves for something bananas when [Belichick] traded out of the 14th pick. Broderick Jones of Georgia, the offensive tackle I thought he wanted was still on the board. But by dropping down to 17 (and adding the 120th pick) he moved behind the Jets who are desperate for O-line help. But the team he traded with was Pittsburgh, who crushed their dreams of finding Aaron Rodgers protection this year by grabbing Jones. Which was so perfect you have to assume GM Bill checked with the Steelers to confirm that's who they were taking.

And this confirmed it for me, beyond any doubt:

Now we have confirmation from the rest of the league that I wasn't wrong:

Source - It appeared to some rival executives and general managers that Pittsburgh was granted easy access to land Georgia offensive lineman Broderick Jones, specifically to keep him away from the New York Jets, for whom Patriots football czar Bill Belichick has no love and whose draft he would eagerly attempt to derail.

“They should have had to give up a [third-round pick] and not a four to move up there,” said one NFL general manager who had been keeping tabs on a potential trade up with the Patriots. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to cause potential conflicts with either team in the future. “Belichick did it just to f--- the Jets. He sold low because he knew the Steelers were going to take the kid the Jets wanted to take.”

A personnel executive from a team also picking around the middle of the first round said: “Bill will try to screw them over any chance he gets. He knew exactly what he was doing.” …

With so many cornerbacks still on the board — only Devon Witherspoon of Illinois had been selected in the first 13 picks — Belichick was plenty content to move back three spots. And with offensive tackles picked pretty clean, the Jets — in what some in league circles believed was at least something of a panic move — took Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV at No. 15, a spot much higher than teams I spoke to in the run-up to the draft had projected him.

I think the trade totally blindsided them,” the GM said. “They were scrambling.”

I love so much of this, but that last highlighted part really speaks to me. Because if you recall, the Jets had to use every second of their time, plus some more that they were somehow allotted like that extra time at the end of a soccer game nobody can ever keep track of, to decide on McDonald. Like they absolutely went into their time on the clock without a Plan B. It's as if they needed a few minutes to process what had just happened to them and recover from it. Until, at last, someone was able to get on the phone and gasp out "McDonald …" like Charles Foster Kane whispering "Rosebuuuddd" with his dying breath. 

Now for the first time, I've actually taken a look at this through the prism of that old forgotten standby, the Draft Trade Value Chart. Some people claim not to believe in it. Or say it's outdated given the fact Al Davis drew it up in the 70s or whenever. But it gets updated every year or so. And if you evaluate the vast majority of draft deals, they do tend to meet the chart's values within a fairly narrow margin of error.  And here's how the picks in this trade shook out:

  • New England's No. 14: 1100 points
  • Pittsburgh's No. 17: 950 points
  • Difference: 150 points
  • Pittsburgh's No. 120: 54 points

Meaning this trade missed the mark by 96 points. That's the equivalent of the 101st pick. 

That 150 point gap between the 14th and the 17th is equal to the 88th pick. As fate would have it, the Steelers had the 93rd (30th of the 3rd round), which is worth 128, much more inline with what their trade up was worth to them. But we can assume they weren't willing to part with it. And Belichick just said, "Meh. We'll take that 120, thankyouverymuch." On the condition that the Steelers agree to take the guy the guys he hates wanted. 

And it worked to perfection. GM Bill's campaign to fuck over the team he resigned from after just one day on the job is now in its 24th big year, with no end to the hostilities in sight. And I say again, I'm sure we haven't heard the last from the NFL on this. They're probably holding emergency meetings on Park Avenue to discuss ways to take next year's No. 1 pick away. Or bar Belichick from picking up the War Room phone. Or banning him from making trades altogether. Or giving the Jets veto power over all draft day dealings. But no matter what they do, it'll be worth it when Aaron Rodgers is flat on his back with the left side of the Patriots defensive line holding their own emergency meeting on his chest. 


I never gets old, being right all the time. And once again:

Giphy Images.