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Watch: Bill Belichick praises Ernie Adams ahead of Patriots’ final pick of 2021 draft

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, left, called the career of Ernie Adams "legendary."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, left, called the career of Ernie Adams "legendary."Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Bill Belichick revealed a surprise on Saturday when he divulged that longtime director of football research Ernie Adams had worked his final draft.

And, as it turned out, the Patriots had marked the occasion by letting Adams make the team’s final pick.

“I just want to take a moment to recognize Ernie,” Belichick is seen explaining in the team’s draft room in a video released on Monday. “We’ll do this at a more formal time later, but Ernie’s career, especially in the draft room, is legendary. It started in 1976 through all the great players with the Patriots.”

Belichick noted how Adams — who has worked with Belichick for decades after the two became friends at Phillips Academy in 1970 — has been a foundational influence on draft scouting.


Noting Adams’s role in famous New England draft picks (including Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski), Belichick also cited one player in particular example: a 2002 seventh-round draft pick, wide receiver David Givens. Givens would go on to become a major postseason contributor for the Patriots between 2003 and 2005, catching touchdowns in seven straight playoff games.

“Ernie was given a stack of books and he pulled David Givens out,” Belichick joked. “That was a pretty good pick.”

“Ernie literally wrote the book on scouting,” Belichick added. “The grading scale, the lettering, the numbering, the different classifications of players, the report writing, critical factors, I mean all that — he’s been a part of all that for really four decades. So his impact on not only the scouting for me personally in this organization, but honestly through all the people who have been here and left here, as well as obviously the acquisition of some of the great players in this organization and some of the championships that have eventually come with them.”


“Ernie, I just want to thank you,” said Belichick. “As your final draft in the final round, as we go to the final pick, it’s yours. Thank you for all of your contributions, not only here but to the game and to the process of scouting.”

Adams promptly walked over to the Patriots’ draft board and picked out the name of another seventh-round wide receiver: Tre Nixon from UCF. The longtime Belichick assistant called the pick in to be officially selected, and called Nixon himself to inform him that New England had drafted him.