Sunday, April 25, 2010

Patriots Draft Winning Attitude

The draft has helped the Patriots to acquire talent in key positions. It's also helped to fill an off the field void that created a lot of issues for New England last season..

In drafting so many players from the University of Florida, the Patriots have also drafted a winning attitude. This was an element the team obviously lacked last season. One of the Patriots' major issues in '09 lay off the field. Prior to the embarrassing playoff loss to the Ravens; Globe writer, Chris Gasper, described an unfamiliar feeling in the New England locker room. The Patriot Way, that winning culture that had brought 3 (almost 4) championships to New England was absent. There wasn't that sense of urgency or drive to win that had been present for the entire decade. The departure of veteran leaders: Bruschi, Harrison, Vrabel and Seymour changed not only the look of the defense, but also the attitude. Earlier this offseason, Patriots owner, Robert Kraft acknowledged how important this element is; stating, "You guys know how many games are lost in the locker room". So, it is no surprise that the Patriots drafted a high number of the University of Florida's players in this year's draft

The Florida Gators have been one of the most successful franchises in recent college football history. It's certainly not due to a lack of talent. Tim Tebow, their quarterback, has been widely acknowledged as the greatest college player of all time. As Belichick said when addressing his high volume of Florida draftees, "I felt like we were working out half of the first and second round [in Florida]." However, talent is surely not the whole story. The Gators have been an incredibly productive club. Over the last 4 years they've won 48 games and lost only 7. They've made appearances in four bowl games and brought home 2 national championships. The players from this school were used to winning and, I'm sure had come to expect nothing less. As Belichick also said, "They're in a good program. It's important for them to win." This is the type of culture the Patriots hope to revive in Foxborough.

It's also revealing that five of the players the Patriots drafted were college captains . Two of which were Gators' linebacker, Brandon Spikes, and defensive end/OLB, Jermaine Cunningham. Cunningham and Spikes were captains on the 2008 Florida team that won the BCS national championship. Spikes is a three time All-SEC selection and Cunningham was a second team All-SEC selection last year. Fourth round draftee; Aaron Hernandez, the third and final Gator the Patriots selected, was one of the most prolific tight ends in college football last season. He won the Mackey Award for his '09 performance, a yearly award given to the most outstanding tight-end.

The dedication to football and the winning culture present in Florida's locker room is likely to have been a major influence on New England's decision to draft these players. Hopefully that winning attitude will continue to exist for these rookies when they suit up in silver and blue. With strong leadership and a dedication to winning, these former Gators can help serve as a building block towards renewing the Patriot Way in New England's locker room.

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  1. Was wondering where you were let me have time to digest and I will comment later.

    BTW I Liked your recap on Friday night's Celtic game on look forward to more of you.

  2. Like the thought, win, win, win!!

  3. Belichick is reaching if he thinks he can import a winning attitude from the collegiate ranks.