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The Northerner

NFL sees new giants


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The New England Patriots’ win over Miami was their 19th straight over the past two seasons, breaking a record that stood for years. In this day and age, these sorts of things aren’t expected to happen.

With the exception of the Broncos in the late 90s, the league has lacked a true dynasty. With the advent of free agency and the salary cap becoming more of a factor, teams are often sent into a frenzy heading into the off-season, releasing helpful veterans to ensure they don’t go over the cap.

This results in teams relying more and more heavily on the scouting department to make the right moves and draft the right players who can make an impact. The great organizations in the NFL aren’t based totally on great players on the field, but also great people in the office. From the scouts to player personnel people, if everyone does their job correctly, their team will turn out great. Right now, there doesn’t appear to be any organization running better than the Patriots.

The Patriots seem to have a draft strategy of stockpiling skilled backups in the early round, and one way or another find major contributors nobody would have expected could play a role on any team in the later rounds.

The one most obvious example of late round genius happened in the 2000 NFL Draft when in the sixth round, with pick number 199 overall, the Patriots selected Tom Brady from Michigan. Brady was active for two games his rookie season, appearing in only one and finishing 1-3 passing. Those numbers are hardly indicative of what would happen the next season.

With Drew Bledsoe pretty much cemented as the starting quarterback, many doubted, or cared, whether or not Brady would ever get off the bench. When Bledsoe got hurt, it turned out it was Brady’s job. Most NFL teams would expect to fall apart with a sixth-round draft pick captaining the team, and most would. Then again, most players drafted number 199 overall aren’t Tom Brady.

Somewhere, someone in the Patriots’ front office saw something in Brady that said he would be a worthwhile late draft pick. Someone in the Patriots’ front office has seen something in Patrick Pass, Jarvis Green, David Givens, Dan Klecko, Asante Samuel, and Dan Koppen – all picked in at least the fourth round, all players who have contributed or are currently helping the team.

The Patriots are stocked with veterans as well. Some such as Willie McGinest and Tedy Bruschi seem to have been around forever. They spend their money wisely on free agent veterans or trades to bring in new players. In just a short amount of time, Rosevelt Colvin, Corey Dillon and Rodney Harrison have been brought in to fill needs.

The way the Patriots are winning is amazing, but with the front office personnel and the moves they make it’s obvious that as much credit goes to those off the field as on. The New England Patriots may be the best-run organization in sports today.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
NFL sees new giants