Patriots notebook

Belichick has the flexibility to move freely

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / April 28, 2011

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When the Patriots release video from inside their draft room, viewers may see Bill Belichick as a carnival barker, or perhaps working the phones like an auctioneer taking bids for a valuable piece of art at Christie’s.

Given the way he’s freely talked about the conversations his team has had regarding interest in the Patriots’ early draft picks — they own the 17th and 28th picks in tonight’s first round, two in the second round (33d and 60th overall), plus two more in the third — it’s hard to imagine Belichick standing pat.

In an interview on NFL Network last night, Belichick described a perfect scenario for a team like New England, one that has no qualms about moving up and down the draft board to get a player it has targeted or to acquire more picks in the future.

“We’re fortunate because that gives us a lot of flexibility,’’ he said. “I think we could move up, we could move down.

“A couple of years ago, we were at 7 and 56 or whatever it was, and there’s not too much you can do when you’re in a spot like that, so hopefully we’re well-prepared on the draft board and we’ll try to find a spot where we can get good value for our picks.’’

“Value’’ is Belichick’s favorite buzzword at this time of year. The Patriots may be able to name their price for the 28th or 33d picks if there is more than one team interested in moving up, particularly a quarterback-needy team looking to get Florida State’s Christian Ponder or perhaps Texas Christian’s Andy Dalton.

But having an embarrassment of riches, so to speak, also means Belichick and the New England scouting staff have to study every possible scenario.

“I think it forces you to really know the board,’’ said Belichick. “You have to know what’s below you, what’s above you, and what’s in between, because there’s a possibility a team could ask you to move or you might want to move for a particular player.

“I think it just forces you to really prepare well for the draft all the way through in every round.’’

Author, author Jets coach Rex Ryan has a book coming out soon, “Play Like You Mean It,’’ and as you’d expect, he gets candid on a variety of topics, including his feelings on Belichick and Tom Brady.

On Brady, whom Ryan took a jab at in the postseason, Ryan wrote, “I really don’t know Tom Brady, but who wouldn’t hate him?

“Look at his life. Actually, look at his wife. Every man in America hates Tom Brady, and he should be proud of that.’’

On Belichick, Ryan once again expressed his respect for the rival coach and revealed their on-field exchange after his Jets knocked New England out of the playoffs in January.

“He came up to me and said, ‘That was an unbelievable coaching job; you deserve it and I hope you win the whole thing.’ He really said that, and I could tell he was sincere,’’ Ryan wrote. “People get the wrong message sometimes when I talk about Belichick. I really do respect him. I admire the guy.’’

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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