OK, the "BB sucks at drafting" meme has reared it's tired, old, ugly head again, and so I have to make a rare appearance here and chime in.
1--The 2007 Pats, a veteran-laden team, made it to the Super Bowl at 18-0, as we all know, and lost a very close game for a variety of reasons, including: lousy offensive coaching (McDaniels having TB throw the ball 48 times even though he'd been getting pounded like a Pinata at a birthday party all night long, and also burying a red hot Maroney, who had rushed for more than 230 yards in their other two post-season wins); the inability of Pierre Woods to hold onto a fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw at the Giants' 20-yard line, I believe in the 3rd quarter, even though Woods landed right on top of the ball; Asante Samuel's dropped INT; and the near-sack/uncalled holding penalties/helmet catch play.
2--Just four years later, the Patriots went back to the Super Bowl (yeah, they lost again, in another close game, with their best receiving threat playing on one leg and with multiple other bad breaks again going against them all game long). The team that went to that second Super Bowl, four years removed from the team that went 18-1, had five players---FIVE PLAYERS---on the roster that had also been there in 2007. That means 48 other, "new" players had been brought in during the intervening four years: a near-total roster rebuild.
3--During the three seasons that preceded their return to the Super Bowl in 2011, the Patriots, while rebuilding on the fly, went 11-5 playing their backup QB all season; went 10-6 and won their division; and went 14-2 and had the best record in the NFL, a season that ended with a gaffe-filled, disappointing home playoff loss to the Jets. That same Jets team was then almost immediately lauded by certain members of the local Boston media as the "model" franchise for the modern NFL, and many of them, quite gleefully in most cases, declared the Patriots' approach to roster building to be "cheap" and out-of-date.
4--Since 2010, that same NYJ franchise has nearly imploded and the team has missed the post-season for two consecutive seasons. Not only that, the player who made EVERYTHING they had accomplished defensively in 2009-2010 possible, Mr. Revis, had to be traded away because in their "model" approach to building a franchise, the NYJ completely mismanaged, several times, the contract negotiations with their most important player. They've also had to draft a new "QB of the future" just two years after giving their last "QB of the future" an unwarranted, huge long-term deal. Funny, but none of the local media hordes talk about the NYJ being the "model" franchise for the modern NFL anymore.
5--BELICHICK HAS HAD DRAFT BUSTS. Yes, he most certainly has. He's had many of them. He's whiffed on a lot of DB picks, in particular, and that's hurt the overall quality of the team because, let's face it, since the Polian-Martz-Fisher, et. al. Cabal got together and rammed a Patriots-focused rule change into being 9 years ago (where was the media outcry over that bit of "cheating to gain a competitive advantage?"), stopping the pass has really become the one and only thing defenses MUST do well consistently in order to give their teams a chance to win. With that said, BB's draft record, OVERALL, since 2007, stacks up well with every other GM's in the NFL. That's not an opinion, it's a fact.
6--You wanna talk about Ozzie Newsome? Fine, let's talk about him. He's an excellent GM. He's one of the best in the business....and since winning his first Super Bowl in 2000, his teams have also missed the playoffs four times (2002, 2004-2005, 2007) and had three losing seasons (2002, 2005, 2007). Those losing seasons enabled them to draft high enough to tab guys like Nata, Suggs and Flacco in the first round. Oh, and Ozzie's GM track record also includes this gem: In 2003, he traded his 2004 first round draft pick to NEW ENGLAND in return for a first rounder, which Newsome used to draft Kyle Boller, QB, California. New England used Baltimore's 2004 first rounder to draft a guy named Vince Wilfork.
So yeah, Ozzie is excellent at what he does, but he also makes mistakes---sometimes horrid mistakes, like Boller for Wilfork. All GMs make them, no matter how good they are.
7--Since 2008 (and not including 2013 since it's the first training camp for that draft class), BB has drafted or signed as UDFA's the following players that are still on NE's roster: Mayo, Slater, Wendell, Vollmer, Edelman, McCourty, Gronkowski, Cunningham, Spikes, Mesko, Fletcher, Solder, Dowling, Vereen, Ridley, Mallett, Cannon, Tarpinian, Jones, Hightower, T. Wilson, Bequette, Ebner, Dennard, Francis, Bolden, Forston, Zusevics. Now, certainly, some of these guys are just roster fodder, and others will be cut or traded before this training camp is over. With that said, 80% of one of the best offensive lines in the NFL is included on that list, and so is 100% of a very good starting LB corps. In addition, you've got McCourty, who had a great rookie year as a CB, tailed off in 2011 and was ultimately moved to a position where he seems very likely to become a Pro Bowler in the near future. Jones would have had double-digit sacks as a rookie last year were it not for his ankle injury; Gronkowski is the best TE in football and will be again once he's off the PUP list this season; Ridley and Vereen are a productive and exciting pair of young RBs; Slater is one of the best special-teamers in the league; and Edelman is very produtive when healthy. BB also found a hidden gem in Rob Ninkovich in 2009 after SEVERAL teams refused to even let him do more than be a member of their practice squads for four seasons.
8--Yes, the pass defense hasn't been up to snuff in recent seasons, and that's been a problem. Top-notch DB talent usually lives near the top-half of the first round of the draft, however, and the Pats' success year after year makes it nearly impossible for them to have a shot to draft a guy like Revis. However, I'm not going to use that as an excuse for BB's below-average track record drafting DBs in recent years (except for McCourty--and we'll see about some of the other guys he's drafted starting with the 2011 draft).
I will, however, make this excuse for him: Polian and his co-conspirators, through slippery means and with a clear, anti-New England agenda in mind, essentially succeeded in changing the way pass defense has to be played in the NFL, and evaluating college DBs and projecting their ability to be able to successfully navigate around the "The Polian Rules" has become a lot harder, for every NFL GM, in recent years. And that's one of the main reasons why picking in the top-half of the first round once in awhile would help BB's cause. But, here again, the Pats win too many games every year to be able to pick that high.
9--Bottom line, anyone who thinks that BB is a below-average or even bad drafter or GM after reviewing the facts that have been presented here simply isn't interested in facts. They're just interested in pushing agendas, and they're no different than discredited media hacks like Borges, Breer, Felger and Shank.
I apologize for the length of the post, but there were a lot of points that needed to be made.