The first thing any pundit will say when discussing the Patriots' propensity for drafting Florida Gators is this: "Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer are BFF forever, each have forearm tattoos that when put together read 'BROS BEFORE HOS' and spend summer sunsets together off the Florida coast toasting each other with steely but affectionate gazes."â†µ
They'll also mention the selling job Florida does at their pro day, something Belichick himself cops to enjoying:
"We were in Florida and I felt like we were working out half of the first and second round. It was the day after their Pro Day down there. It was a good meeting, like it always is with Florida. We spent two days down there and it was very productive."â†µ
It is more than that, though: Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez, and Brandon Spikes all fill the classic Belichick mold of being undervalued in the draft after the combine and picked up for relatively little, draft-wise. Spikes ran a slow 40; Hernandez has "character issues;" and Cunningham, while more consistent than his counterpart, Carlos Dunlap, still likely has substantial upside in terms of player development. All had minor dings coming out of the public evaluation process, something Bill Belichick clearly values as much as a sweater made of knit dog hair and a pile of old shredded receipts.â†µ
("Knit Dog Hair" and "Pile of Old Shredded Receipts" are my new names for Kiper and McShay, by the way.)â†µ
It also helps that New England can select the slightly less talented picks out of a bumper crop of talented Gators this year at a discount. In any other class Hernandez and Spikes might have gone sooner, but in a crowded lineup their value fell not by any absolute measure, but by context. Belichick remains all too happy to take advantage of other people's inability to use the lessons of Econ 101.