Patriots: Was this a bounce back weekend for Bill Belichick?

I should have known.

On Thursday morning, I wrote that Bill Belichick was drafting for his job this weekend. In fact, I said Belichick needed to show Pats fans he wasn’t just going to be content riding out his days here in New England like he just wanted to play shuffle board with Frank Costanza at Del Boca Vista.

I truly believed if there wasn’t a legitimate direction for people to see after this weekend, then the Krafts would have to start kicking the tires on Belichick finally running out of steam. After all, one Pro Bowl player in 53 draft picks dating back to 2015 heading into the first round this past Thursday doesn’t really instill the fan base with much confidence in the ability to rebuild.

Having grown up – literally, I was 13 when they won in 2001 – seeing how Belichick responds when those abilities are questioned, I should have known what was coming. That’s not to say every pick from the 2021 draft will pan out, because no one truly knows, but it seems as if the Patriots had a very good weekend for themselves, and at least we now see there’s a future direction for this team for this season and beyond.

Jimmy G was my plan A all along, and while I don’t love the Mac Jones pick simply because he dropped to 15 and I’m not sure they wanted hm as much as they had no choice once he fell, at least we know there’s someone in the organization that can actually throw a football more than 10 yards. I still don’t think there’s any chance he immediately starts as a rookie and he’ll have to wait for Newton to inevitably be terrible, but at this point nothing would shock me anymore.

The pick did shock me, though. It was the first time the team has taken a quarterback in the first round since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. I was five. I don’t think I’ll be getting the same little helmet,  jersey and pants combo I did when I was five for Mac Jones as a now pudgy 33-year old, but it’s hard not to be excited about watching another quarterback prospect develop.

I would still take Jimmy G in a heart beat if he’s released in the coming weeks, but Jones seems to be confident as hell and I will never underestimate the Saban-Belichick connection in terms of making a transition from college to the pros easier, Cyrus Jones not included.

As for some of the other picks, defensive tackle (Christian Barmore, Alabama), the pass rush (Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma), running back (Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma), linebacker (Cam McGrone, Michigan), safety (Josh Bledsoe, Missouri, tackle (Will Sherman, Colorado) and wide receiver (Tre Nixon, UCF) all needed to be addressed and they were.

Perhaps my favorite part about this draft was the fact that every pick came from a “big boy” school. No picks from Lenoir-Ryne (I know Dugger looks good, work with me here) or another small school the majority of people haven’t heard of. Each of these schools faces some true competition on their schedule and it feels like all of these guys can help sooner rather than later.

Odds are at least a couple of these guys don’t work here in New England, that’s just the nature of the draft, but after the way the post-Brady era has been handled thus far, this was a huge weekend for Bill Belichick. Not only can fans get excited for what should be a top-10 defense and quite a bit of depth, but there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel offensively too.

The Patriots are back in the conversation in the AFC East.  Those are just baby steps for an organization with consistent Super Bowl expectations, but it sure beats where we were at just a few months ago.