In response to PatsEng's comment:
Couple things Low,
Yes every GM has misfires but I do think when you are scratching your head over a pick for good reason and that player fails for that good reason then you are perfectly in the right to question why he drafted/signed him, examples: Brace - red flag was that he was a product of Raji and on an individual basis didn't show dominant tendecies when Raji wasn't getting the vast majority of the attention. Ras - multiple people on this board pointed out his nagging injury history before and after the draft and his injury red flag had pushed his stock into the late 2nd early 3rd yet BB took him where his value was without the injury history and don't compare it to Gronk because Gronk was a top 15 talent without the injury problem. Wilson - seriously where the heck did that come from? Or signing Amendola who carries his own medical history binder with him in his car. Now I can't blame BB for picks like Vereen because he wasn't an injury problem in college or Butler because he did look pretty good in college and those are just misfires that will happen.
As for your comparison to players taken in the draft I don't think you can compare just the same position, because BB tends to like to draft positions of weakness in the draft not strength, but how about positions of need in general for the team? What about not getting a DT this year, passing over Matthews. When you go over drafts and you look at positions of need at the time compared to players they could have had there are actually quite a few players they could have had in positions of strength in the draft.
Now I'm not saying BB is a bad GM but in all honesty he is an average to good GM at best. However, he is an exceptional coach with an all time great QB and that tends to hide a lot of the short comings of the GM as a whole. It's why I don't buy the whole check the record argument. Without Brady and BB the coach the last 6 years would have looked drastically different.
The other thing I question is not collecting talent. True you don't want an all talent no team mentality team but on the other hand grinders and high motor guys will only get you so far. You have to have a balance between talent and team grinders to win. They had that in the past but I do think the value additions over talent in recent years has made it harder to get back over that hump.
I don't believe I said anything about people not being able to wonder or question "why" BB picked a certain guy in a draft.
I do it a lot of times as well. I do find those that do not see the possible reasons why he may have picked a certain guy a bit fun though. It is a lot easier to simply throw stuff against the wall with no reason. Pick sucks period. Should have taken x player instead period. I simply can not take that serious.
We both spend time in mbeaus draft thread. Me a lot closer to the draft and you all through the year and we both like a lot of similar players and have good discussions about guys and positions etc. Bottom line is we see a game, some games, highlight clips and maybe read a few news clippings, watch the combine. We don't do the background checks, talk to the coaches, see them up close and personal, work them out privately, interview them, etc etc. Nor do we see the current patriots very often. Some preseason games, maybe training camp if we go, , the regular season (and how often are you focusing in on one particular guy for every play), and possibly a post season game/s. The Pats organization see these guys every day practically in every aspect of what makes up their job. Personality, how they are as teammates, locker room presence, film room, weight-room, overall health and conditioning, medical history, every practice, breaking down game film on each guy, etc. They would seem to have a good handle on who is really an upgrade or potential upgrade at which position or not more than us. Just that alone leads to giving the Patriots organization the benefit of the doubt, in my opinion.
Let's look at your examples for instance.
You complain about Brace. Fair enough. He is gone. However, possible reasons : 1) Wilfork was a hold out and forced the Patriots hand. 2)Brace is local and easy access to scout and see and know a heck of a lot about. 3) Played very well for BC for a number of years. 4) I knew of no red flags on him. 5) Everyone knew Raji was the better but never heard anyone suggest Brace was nothing. 6) Pats only picked him maybe a 1/2 round to a round earlier than most pundits projected anyway. http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=9092&draftyear=2009&genpos=dt 7) If you are unsure what will transpire with Wilfork or simply want additional leverage and you don't want to risk potentially waiting and losing the guy you are targeting for that situation then a 1/2 round to round earlier is not egregious. 8) If you want to blame that situation on the Wilfork holdout you have to blame Kraft and the Patriots organization for running their organization with a strict set of financial structure they have chosen and not just the GM. 9) Brace had a good senior bowl week.
Alts. (Fili Moala, Sen'Derick Marks) Both still in the league but would they have lasted as a Patriot? Who knows?
There are probably more but those just came off the top of my head. While it did not work, I can at least see the reasoning in it. I think people take exception when people just ignore the situation, circumstances and facts. I personally go looking for them out of curiosity when I am wondering about a pick.
Ras-I. While he ultimately failed because his body would not let him play. I think it has taken on a life of its own. You carefully chose the word nagging and I would agree with that. However, typically people try to say Ras-I was "always" injured. People accept that as fact when it is not the case. If you look at his college career, with the exception of a serious injury his sr year, he missed only a couple games. As far as dropping, guys "always" drop when they miss the entirety or a large portion of their Sr seasons. Your Gronk example was a perfect choice. If you recall, when Ras-I was drafted, the talking heads on both networks basically said if it weren't for his injury his Sr year most had him as a 1st round talent. In fact if you recall when he got here, he started on the depth chart as a rookie as a starter.
We will have to disagree on the looking at alternate players of the same position within the next 10-12 picks or so. That's what I believe if you really want to judge. I believe BB knows his systems and who has not graded out well after season ending self team evaluation. Who is not handling the role they are in well enough. Could be a backup OR starter. I think he tries to improve not only his starters but his backups as well during all the process. He probably thinks about who might be fa's this or next year, who might be available in draft this OR next year, financial implications etc. I think when he takes a position he thinks or at least hopes that person is an upgrade to someone on the team and will earn a roster spot. Specifically in a role that he feels needs it. I would suspect he knows what roles need help more than we do regardless of what we "think" we see. Especially since everyone seems to believe he is a great coach. That is the part that confuses me the most about peoples complaints. Do they honestly think or believe a different GM is going to take a OT when BB tells him my system really needs a SS (improved depth or starter)? I don't think the drafts would differ drastically if it was a different GM. Possibly some. It baffles my mind that people honestly believe you can be an amazing coach and have no clue who can perform the functions of a specific role well or not. That makes absolutely ZERO sense to me. You have to be able to talent evaluate. It is what you do every day among your own players.
I've covered the Mathews thing seemingly ad nauseam. I think he is ok not as great as most think he is. I think he is a product of how he is utilized which is not how he would most likely be utilized in the Pats system. The most important question to ask is why would you jump all over Mathews in the 1st rnd of the draft. Other than being a workout warrior with an exceptional 10 yard split what game film would you go by? He was a walk on and then played special teams until his Sr year. He played 1 season. One. Then he played with 3 other highly touted and drafted LB's and an overall great defense. How can you sit there and rip or question Ron Brace because he played next to Raji and NOT at least question or wonder the same exact thing about Clay Mathews? Mathews played with Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, Fili Moala, Kaluka Maiva, etc. You had 4 years of film to watch on Brace and only 1 with Clay(other than special teams or backup duty). On top of that the year he was drafted the Pats got almost the same exact sack production out of a guy they resigned in FA that cost not much if I recall correctly. You seem to be playing both sides on the Brace/Mathews thing.
As far as DT this year, no idea. Have to assume they felt they had Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead(at the time), don't remember the timelines for the releases of Love, Deaderick, etc, Forston, and whatever UDFA types they picked up. And for those that might wish to say well then you have to know Wilfork and Kelly are old and will eventually get hurt so they should have drafted one in the first round. I would simply say, then you should be saying that about drafting a QB in the first round as well.
That leads to addressing your final point. I think you misunderstand my comment about collecting talent. I was not suggesting accumulating scrubs. I was simply saying you don't go drafting the best player if it's a position who you already have filled solidly and the guy you pick is equally as good. He might be the best available but what good is it to have him sit behind the other two when you have a need to fill that can be improved even though the player is of a little bit less "overall" talent than the guy you don't need. You see it all the time around the league. This or that team has the best Oline or Dline or d-backfield. Yeah great too bad the rest of the team stinks or has "glaring" holes in certain roles. The fact that the NFL tries its best to make the league as much a parity league as possible further emphasizes the importance of finding those gritty grinders with mental toughness to fill your roles and not simply collect talent where you don't need it most. If parity is achieved, or close to it, then overall roster talent level should at least be close and the gritty grinding mentally tough and deep roster will make the potential difference.
These are only my own opinions.