Pete Thamel has a great look here at what really separates Bill Belichick and the Patriots. His ability to find undiscovered talent and turn them into valuable NFL players. 18 of the 53 players on the Patriots roster were undrafted. Think about that for a minute – that’s 34% of their roster.
Thamel points out as the only head coach and GM in the NFL, Belichick never has to worry about anyone question his moves. He’s got full authority, and obviously at this point a Hall of Fame resume’. So he doesn’t have to worry about being wrong.
Interesting to think about how we evaluate as coaches, and what would change if we really didn’t have to worry about being wrong? As much as we like to say we don’t care about ratings or scouting services, we are human. The narrative around recruits – who is recruiting them, what level they are projected to play at – has an impact. It can also effect who we play. Does a walk-on who is outplaying a kid you gave a scholarship to really get the same opportunity? Is your program a true meritocracy?
I have no doubt in evaluating – whether it’s recruiting or in our own practice – we often see what we want to see, what we expect to see. If you knew nothing about any of the kids on your team and just watched them all practice one day, with no prior thoughts or judgments on how good they are or what they are capable of, would you evaluate them the same?The ability to evaluate based 100% on what you see in front of you is special.