PHILADELPHIA – The NFL is a copycat league and that fact is on display again in the lead up to the 2017 draft as teams across the NFL look to model their franchises after the champion New England Patriots organization — and that starts with loading up on white receivers and players from Big Ten doormat Rutgers.
“Obviously, it’s hard to model the Patriots as far as having Bill Belichick and Tom Brady,” said one rival GM. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime combo. But you can learn from how they do things beyond those two, and it’s pretty clear what they look for. So we have modified our approach to focus on Rutgers players and white guys who can catch in traffic. And I doubt we’re alone.”
Most most drafts in the days since Super Bowl LI ended have 5-foot-10, 174-pound North Carolina receiver Ryan Switzer as the No. 1 overall pick, followed by Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey at No. 2, and then the 38 seniors from the 2-10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights going with picks No. 3 through No. 40.
“If you can’t beat ’em, you have to do exactly what they do,” said a player personnel director for an AFC East rival. “We just started looking at the tapes, but if we find out there is a white Rutgers receiver who is draft eligible, we will trade our whole draft to move up to take him. That’s the holy grail.”
New England’s Super Bowl LI roster contained four Rutgers players and approximately 10 times that many white receivers, but Belichick insists he will not go out of his way to add more in 2017.
“To be honest, this is all part of my long-term plan to stay dominant,” he said. “First, convince everyone that white receivers and Rutgers players are the market inefficiency. Then watch every team stock up on those guys and get even worse because the vast majority of Rutgers players and white receivers are terrible. I’m playing chess and no one has figured it out. Idiots.”