Q: Bill Belichick is a great coach, but at what point do we start to question his drafting ability and/or ability to develop players? A lot of talk has been made about Tom Brady winning despite his supporting cast, but shouldn't the question be, "How has Belichick built this team?" I understand that Aaron Hernandez's arrest changed things, but they have not drafted well.
Steve in Pittsburgh
A: The Patriots have drafted well enough to win the AFC East title, but of late, the drafts have left them more vulnerable to playoff losses. If there is a criticism, I'd offer it's that Patriots scouting is too coach-driven. Belichick will rely on the opinions of college coaches and coaches on his staff instead of the scouting department. You sense that trend when the Patriots take clumps of players out of the same college, one that has a head coach Belichick trusts and respects. Belichick changed the game, though, when he drafted Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, turning to a two-tight end offense that could score 30-plus points a game. He deserves credit for that. The true test of recent drafts on defense will be how many of those choices are signed to extensions. It can't be horrible because the Patriots win so many games, but they are coming up short on Super Bowls, which leaves them open to some criticism.