BOSTON (CBS) — It was a busy draft week for Bill Belichick and Co., as the New England Patriots selected 11 players over the three-day span.
That endeavor began Thursday night, when the Patriots selected Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown, and it ended early Saturday evening, when the team selected Alabama linebacker Xzavier Dickson.READ MORE: Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine More Than 90% Effective In Kids
All told, the Patriots drafted three defensive linemen, two offensive linemen, two defensive backs, two linebackers, one tight end and one long snapper.
“It’s another draft in the books,” Belichick said Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
By all accounts, the New England made some solid selections, and the selection of Navy long snapper Joe Cardona in the fifth round served as the annual head-scratching pick from the Patriots.
Yet Belichick noted that as of this date, “I just don’t think in any way that this is a final roster. It’s not even close to it.”READ MORE: Hopkinton High School First In State To Drop Mask Mandate
Later, Belichick spoke to the biggest challenges facing the new draftees, and the coach was as honest and straightforward as can be. Rather than interpreting his words, here they are, straight from Belichick’s mouth.
“The biggest challenge for all of these players is to get on our program,” Belichick said. “For the last six months, they’ve been a man without a country. They have no team, they have their own individual situation, and they’re trying to figure out ‘how do I best get ready for the NFL? … How do I prepare for that?’ And each guy has been an independent contractor, they’ve been on their own trainer, their own training system, their agent, whatever they’ve been doing.
“And right now, that’s all changed. And they can forget about all of that, and they need to become New England Patriots. And that’s what we’re going to start getting to work on. They’ve got to get out of that mentality of ‘I’ll get up when I feel like it, I’ll go to work when I feel like it, I’ll eat what I [feel like], I’ll train the way I want to train.’ They’re done with that. So, that’ll be a huge adjustment for them.
“I don’t care where they came from, I don’t care what position they play. None of that makes any difference. They haven’t been doing it, and they’re going to start doing it — and they’re going to start doing a lot of it. And they’re going to be doing it day after day after day for a long time going forward, if they can, if they’re successful. So that’ll be a big adjustment for ’em. It’ll be a big adjustment for every rookie, because none of them have been doing that.
“So, welcome to the NFL. That’ll start Thursday. And they’ll get a big dose of New England Patriots football over the next, whatever we got — six weeks, however long it is. We’ll give them everything we can in heavy doses, try to get them ready for training camp, and then they’ll get even more then.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
“The strong will survive, the other ones will fall off, and we’ll keep going.”