Like the villainous Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin, Bill Belichick is an expert at spotting diamonds in the rough. Whether this is because he knows how to get the best from people, can devise a scheme that fits any player, or if he can simply tell that someone’s a freak athlete when the rest of us can’t, is hard to tell. Below are seven guys who should be thanking The Hoodie for their careers and tithing him 20% of their paychecks (past tense for Welker, but there is no way Vrabel is a Defensive Coordinator now if he never ends up on the Patriots, so he should tithe his coaching salary as well).
No 7: Danny Woodhead
In 2007, Danny Woodhead became the all-time leading rusher in college football–the only problem was that he played at a Division II school in Chadron, Nebraska. Danny went undrafted and spent his first few NFL seasons bouncing around practice squads and the IR list. Luckily for him, Bill picked him up and he was soon scoring touchdowns in Super Bowls.
No 6: Danny Amendola
Man, does that look painful. It’s our belief that Danny Amendola was artificially formed from Welker DNA that Belichick found in a mosquito entombed in fossilized amber. When Welker was signed by the Broncos, Amendola was the 5’9 white guy (gotta have those) waiting in the wings. Where does he find these people? Does he lurk around lacrosse camps and art gallery openings trying to find the perfect NFL wide receiver?
No 5: Dion Lewis
He looks like a great running back to everyone now that he’s been Belichick-ified, but Dion Lewis was completely out of the game for two seasons before the Patriots signed him out of nowhere in 2014. If it wasn’t for Bill, Dion probably would’ve faded into oblivion with the rest of the Belmonts.
No 4: Mike Vrabel
Mike Vrabel started out in pro football as an okay linebacker for Pittsburgh. By the time Belichick was done with him, he was a linebacker-tight end hybrid who’d won three Super Bowls and was on the way to becoming a head coach somewhere.
No 3: Julian Edelman
Back in 2009, nobody cared about all the great quaterbacking that Julian Edelman had done at Kent State–except Bill Belichick. The Patriots took him 27th in the 7th round (232nd overall) and the press wondered if Bill was going to experiment with Edelman in the Wildcat. Little did they know that it was Bill’s diabolical plan to transform Edelman into a receiver all along.
No 2: LeGarrette Blount
LeGarrette Blount has had enough highs and lows in his NFL career to fill a season or two of Playmakers (or Ballers, if that’s your thing). If there’s one thing Belichick might like more than undrafted little guys, it’s players who historically have discipline issues. Two seasons ago Blount was a black sheep of the sport, and now he’s a Super Bowl winner with more rings in his future.
No 1: Wes Welker
Wesley Welker had a great career at Texas Tech, but like a millennial college graduate, he received his diploma and entered the “real world” with zero job prospects and little hope for the future. As an undrafted free agent he signed with the Chargers and played special teams for the Dolphins before being snagged by the Patriots and transformed into a catching machine.