We’ve learned during Super Bowl week that NFL coaching legend Bill Belichick has tremendous respect for UGA coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs football program.
We’ve also learned that the coach of the New England Patriots can non-surprisingly be rather blunt when asking for a talent assessment.
Belichick didn’t waste any words when discussing UGA’s pro prospects before last year’s NFL Draft, according to Smart in an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Gary Tanguay.
“What was unique about Bill’s conversation was (he said) ‘If you’ve got one draft pick of these juniors and seniors coming out, who would you pick?,’” Smart revealed. “I won’t divulge who I said, but he respects the opinion of college coaches, and he also values football players. He wants to pick football players, not just combine guys.”
There was a reason Belichick was so direct. As you know, the Patriots had two first-round picks in 2018 and ended up using both of them on UGA products – offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn at No. 23 and running back Sony Michel at No. 31.
Some observers thought that Patriots might’ve reached for Michel, but not Smart, per NBC Sports Boston:
“I wasn’t surprised as high as he went. I thought it would be interesting to see (Michel) went versus (Nick Chubb) because their styles are so different. But in the case where so many kids don’t want to play their last game because they are worried about injury, I really think Sony jumped 20 or 30 picks in his last two games.
“You can say ‘I might get hurt’ or ‘I might go back in the draft’ … well, here’s a guy who was probably going into the playoffs a second-round or maybe third-round pick. And he jumped all the way to the first, which we all know is a large margin.”
Chubb ended up going in the second round, as the No. 35 overall pick to the Cleveland Browns.