Bill Belichick: I’ve seen one rookie who was NFL-ready on Day 1

Former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced Wednesday during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he would be joining the program on draft night as a guest analyst, marking his first gig since parting ways with the Patriots after the season ended.

Given his 40-plus years coaching in the NFL, including 28 years as a head coach, Belichick has a unique insight into how the draft process works. 

As Belichick talked draft-related topics on Wednesday, he discussed how difficult it is to find players ready to contribute immediately, disclosing there was only one player he’d ever coached who was NFL-ready from the time he was drafted.

“Lawrence Taylor was a different story,” Belichick said. “Lawrence Taylor from Day 1 impacted the team, showed he was the best player on the field, way better than everyone else and built a defense around him from that point going forward. It’s usually not Day 1 of his rookie year. I would say Lawrence Taylor would be the one exception to that rule.”

Belichick was the linebackers and special teams coach of the New York Giants when they drafted Taylor No. 2 overall in 1981.

Taylor had 133 tackles, 9.5 sacks (sacks weren’t an official stat until 1982), two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception during his rookie season in which he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. 

He finished his career with 132.5 sacks, 33 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries and nine interceptions en route to winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and one NFL MVP. Taylor was also a 10-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection and he won two Super Bowl championships.

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