he 2022 NFL Draft had many New England Patriots fans scratching their heads and they now know who might have been behind those decisions.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
NFL insider Mike Giardi reported on Wednesday morning that an NFL assistant believes that Bill Belichick wasn’t in control, Matt Groh was.
Groh is the current director of player personnel for the Patriots. The report from Giradi comes weeks after Groh himself said that Belichick was in charge ahead of the draft in a pre-draft press conference.
“Obviously, coach (Bill Belichick) is the general manager, coach is in charge,” Groh said. “He’s been doing this a long time. The more I can learn from coach Belichick and a lot of the other guys around here, I’m gonna do that.”
How Are These Picks Different?
The two picks that are mentioned are the second-round selection of wide receiver Tyquan Thornton and the third and fourth-round selections of cornerback Marcus Jones and Jack Jones.
Thornton adds a lot of speed to New England’s group of wide receivers. He had the fastest 40-yard dash time in recent history with an unofficial 4.20-second 40-yard dash and an official 4.28-second 40-yard dash.
But Thornton has small hands measuring in at 8.25 inches. Those are the smallest hands on New England’s roster. He also struggles changing direction with his slow three-cone drills and short shuttle being last on the team.
The Jones’ are a type of cornerback that New England doesn’t usually take. Both are under-sized.
He can be mismatched against size but he’s plenty scrappy in those battles,” Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said of Marcus Jones. “Jones’ lack of size will hurt him with some teams while others will elevate his grade thanks to his electric ability on special teams.”
For Jack, he is a small cornerback as well standing at five-foot 10 inches but also has some off-the-field issues.
“He started his career at the University of Southern California before running into some off-field issues, transferred to JUCO school Moorpark College, then capped his college career at Arizona State,” wrote Boston.com’s Trevor Hass.
Jones was dismissed from USC due to academic issues and shortly after was arrested on burglary charges in 2018.
But What About Cole Strange?
While Cole Strange was another interesting selection, there are signs that he is someone who caught Bill Belichick’s eye.
First off, Strange has ties to the Armed Forces just like Belichick. The guard briefly attended the United States Air Force Academy before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Belichick also had some high praise for Strange after selecting him in a post-first-round press conference.
“Yeah, I mean, we feel like that was a good — a guy that fits well — Cole fits well into our team and our system, and obviously think he’s a good player,” Belichick said. “It’s a composite of work with any player, so whatever opportunities you have to evaluate him, you evaluate him. Senior Bowl was part of it — that was definitely a move up competitively, but they played a couple SEC teams and his workout was pretty good as well. He’s a pretty athletic guy with good size, and smart. So he does a lot of things, has a lot of good tools to work with. He’s got a long way to go, like every player does when he comes into the NFL, but look forward to working with him.”
So while Belichick still had his touch on the 2022 NFL Draft, Groh was captaining the ship for the Patriots for the majority of the three days according to Giardi.