- Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Judge Richard Berman’s decision to overturn Tom Brady’s four-game suspension is the talk of the sports world right now.
The 40-page decision offered unwavering details regarding the many ways in which Roger Goodell and the NFL mishandled the entire process, and now even rival NFL players are taking to Twitter to show their support for Brady and the court’s decision.
Lost in all this commotion, however, is the fact that the New England Patriots will still lose their 2016 first- and fourth-round draft picks, in addition to a $1 million fine, as a result of “Deflategate.”
— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) September 3, 2015
Patriots owner Robert Kraft called it “the harshest penalty in the history of the NFL.”
Holding on to draft picks is the key to long-term success in the NFL, and one of the reasons the Patriots have become such a dynasty. (The other reasons: Bill Belichick and Brady.)
Advanced stats suggest that drafting well is a total crapshoot, which means that teams who historically “draft well” only do so because they’ve had the most picks.
Belichick seems to know this: One of the reasons the Patriots have had so much success over the years is simply that they’ve accrued picks every time they’ve been able to. These picks have by and large worked out, too.
Here are the team’s first picks from 2010 to 2013:
- 2010 – Devin McCourty, S (five-year starter) 2011 – Nate Solder, LT (four-year starter) 2012 – Dont’a Hightower, LB (three-year starter) 2013 – Chandler Jones, DE (three-year starter)
These are all key pieces to the machine that is the Patriots, and even if there is no real key to drafting well, Belichick has still landed successful additions time and again.
Brady is back from suspension and will be in uniform next Thursday against the Steelers, but were he to have remained suspended, it would’ve cost the Patriots only four games. By losing these two picks – particularly their first-rounder – the Patriots are effectively losing someone who could be a starter for five or more years.