Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots selected Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft despite various red flags that reportedly caused other teams to remove him from their draft boards completely.
Fast forward a few years and Hernandez had been accused of first-degree murder and a wealth of other charges and could be a suspect in another double murder that occurred in Boston in 2012.
Belichick certainly took a major risk on Hernandez, and by the sounds of it he may have been the only one willing to do so at such an early point in the draft.
One AFC executive says Belichick was the only one willing to take Hernandez in the fourth (per Rotoworld):
The executive says that Hernandez was a clear second-round talent at the time, but his off-field issues raised serious red flags. Many teams completely removed him from their draft board. Although Hernandez appeared to keep his nose clean through three seasons with the Patriots, we’re now learning of other incidents prior to Wednesday’s murder charge. A Connecticut man has filed a civil suit in Florida alleging Hernandez shot him in the face in February, he reportedly had a run-in with a Jets fan in May in which a gun was involved and a picture has surfaced of him standing in a mirror holding a gun. Hernandez also had failed drug tests while with the Gators and is rumored to have gang ties.
Now, at some point talent has to override red flags in most cases when it comes to the NFL draft.
Hernandez clearly wasn’t most cases.
There’s a reason many teams stayed away from Hernandez. Hearing the phrase “potential gang ties” should steer any team clear away from a player, even a team known to practice the so-called “patriot way.” Maybe Belichick thought he could help Hernandez turn his life around. Perhaps he just didn’t care.
Either way the decision was a bad one. The writing was clearly on the wall. Belichick stands alone on this one.
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