When it comes to service academy connections, there isn't much of a stronger "community" bond than there is at an institution like the Naval Academy. And that's why I think Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are going to take Richmond's Kyle Lauletta — in the first round. Clear as mud? Let me explain
Today, we saw the Patriots traded Brandin Cooks, their leading receiver not nicknamed Gronk, to the Rams primarily to acquire the No. 23 pick in the NFL Draft at the end of this month. The Patriots already have the No. 31 pick, as everybody knows. So Belichick now has two late first-round picks, and I'm convinced that because of having two — one of them is going to be Lauletta.
See, Belichick is the son of legendary long-time Navy assistant coach Steve Belichick (1956-89). The Belichicks love Annapolis and they love the kind of young man that comes from the Naval Academy. The Belichick-Navy connection is well known. What is somewhat lesser known is that Lauletta's father was a backup quarterback for Navy in the mid 1980s. Joe Lauletta and Kyle's uncle Lex both played for the Midshipmen when Steve Belichick was still with the program. This has been reported by a few places already.
The thing is — as a son of an Annapolis grad myself — most people do not fully understand how strong that Navy bond is. People associated with the Naval Academy are a special breed, and they tend to stick together, to "hire from within" if you catch my drift.
It is a special brotherhood to be connected with, and that's why Lauletta will end up with New England. Bill Belichick knows exactly what he's getting with Lauletta, who was the Senior Bowl MVP, crushed the NFL Combine and performed well in front of scouts at his Pro Day at Richmond. He's even more incredible to interview, trust me. Lauletta is a class individual, a playbook bookworm, a 10-out-of-10 communicator and leader, a sponge for coaching, and he is the perfect guy to be "next" now that Jimmy Garoppolo has moved on and Tom Brady has a few grays.
Whether it is the No. 23 pick or the No. 31 pick, I think Lauletta is snagged by the Patriots because they know well what they're going to get. They know this guy's "stock", what he comes from, and physically Lauletta has proven he has the tools to be somebody in the NFL. His character and leadership and work ethic were never a question, but his chance this spring to prove his measureables wraps it all up.
When I saw that trade this afternoon, it locked it in. Lauletta to New England in the first round, and you can thank the Naval Academy connection for helping to grease these wheels.
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