What is Bill Belichick’s most successful personnel risk?

Which high-risk moves have worked out for Belichick?

Bill Belichick
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reviews formation photos on the sideline during a game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. –AP Photo/Charles Krupa

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Don’t mind the Josh Gordon signing even though it’s probably not going to work out, because the reward is high and the risk is low. But it made me wonder which high-risk guys have actually worked out well for Bill Belichick. Albert Haynesworth was useless.  Randy Moss and Corey Dillon were great. Aaron Hernandez was obviously a lunatic, and we’ll never know what they really knew about him. I guess the question is what was Belichick’s best high-risk move in terms of how it worked out? Probably Moss, right? – James A.


I’d go with Dillon because I just don’t think of Moss as a high-risk move. He was disinterested to say the least in his last year with the Raiders, but he still managed 42 catches for 553 yards in 13 games. Maybe that doesn’t seem like much, but the Raiders quarterbacks that year were Andrew Walter, Aaron Brooks (0-8 as a starter), and Marques Tuiasosopo. Yikes. Moss wasn’t high-risk. He was a heist from the moment the trade was complete.

Dillon had a ton of baggage, and he was surly on his best days, but in 2004 he was the best running back the Patriots have had in the Tom Brady era, with 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns. He may have been the best they’ve had in any year, though I’m still partial to Curtis Martin in ’95 (1.487 yards, 14 TDs).

You know what else was a high-risk move that worked out extremely well? Taking Rob Gronkowski in the second round in 2010. Seems like a no-brainer now – actually, it’s seemed that way pretty much since he got here – but he was coming off a major back in injury, and there were questions about how long he would be able to hold up in the NFL. It’s worked out pretty well as it turned out.


But what do you guys think? What is the most successful risk Belichick has taken on a player? I’ll hear you in the comments.