It’s true. The Patriots do have a disproportionate number of white skilled players- but it doesn’t have anything to do with racism. Rather, it has everything to do with finding value where other teams see nothing of value.
White skilled players are a rare breed in the NFL, and to some extent, college football as well. If a white skill player excels in college, particularly from a small school, NFL scouts usually assume that they played so well because the opposition is so poor and that there is no way they could play in the NFL. Coincidentally, the same sort of discrimination happens to black quarterbacks.
Basically, if you’re a white receiver, you are perceived to be too slow. And if you’re a black quarterback, you’re perceived to be a “running QB” who can’t throw with accuracy.
So the Patriots, being the shrewd organization they are, has a knack for finding the underrated players and snatch them up.
Look at Julian Edelman, a QB in college who had some of the most amazing speed in the 2009 combine. He ran one of the fastest 40 times among receivers and the fastest shuttle time of anyone regardless of position
But, a white QB that runs fast? Why do the Patriots need another QB when they have Tom Brady? What’s the point of drafting Edelman?
The Patriots answer? Convert him to WR. Let him learn the system and make him the heir apparent to Wes Welker (the best slot receiver in Patriots history- also white btw). Fast forward ten years and that’s exactly what happened. Julian Edelman is one of the best receivers in the game. And they got him at a bargain price of a seventh round draft pick.
And Chris Hogan?
He’s another one of Brady’s trusted (white) receivers. Hogan was undrafted because he played lacrosse at Penn State for four years, and only played a year of football at Monmouth University since he had one year of eligibility left, where he played pretty much every position including punter. The guy was the Swiss Army knife of college football players.
He entered the 2011 NFL combine and proved to be an athletic freak of nature, recording a 4.39 40 time, and showing some serious strength by bench pressing 225 pounds an unheard of 28 times. That’s strength you expect from a lineman, not a receiver.
Hogan was never drafted and bounced around from team to team, never really finding a home until he had a breakout season with the Bills in 2015. He become a restricted free agent at the end of the season and the Patriots made him an offer they knew the Bills couldn’t match, and the rest is history. Coincidentally this is a similar tactic that the Patriots pulled with the Dolphins when they signed away Wes Welker in 2007 (who the Dolphins knew they weren’t going to resign because they didn’t think he was worth the money he wanted).
There are numerous other examples of white Patriots skilled position players that were somehow undervalued or converted to other positions. Take FB James Develin, a DE in college who was converted into a fullback (and a damn good one) . Or former RB Danny Woodhead who went undrafted, then signed by the Jets for one year as a special teamer. The Patriots signed him after the Jets cut him and he had three very productive years.
The Patriots are loaded with black skilled position players, too. Players like James White, Sony Michel, Cordarrelle Patterson, Phillip Dorset, have been critical to the 2018 team’s success. And I don’t even need to mention former players like Randy Moss, Cory Dillon, Troy Brown, Kevin Faulk and many others. But if you look at the team as a whole, and take away the skin color of any of these players to look only at the stats and the data, you’ll see exactly why the Patriots are so successful. They take advantage where other teams undervalue certain players. It just so happens that there are some overlooked white receivers and running backs that no one wanted to take a chance on. The Patriots took advantage of the situation, and they came up on top.
In the Belichick era the Patriots have six Super Bowl wins, nine appearances, and eight straight AFC championship appearances in a row- you can’t really argue with the results here. The Patriots are masters at maximizing value out of players, period.
*Edit: Wow, I never thought this answer would get over 50,000 views and over 300 upvotes!
Also, I was incorrect when I said Edelman was invited to the combine. His times were recorded at the pro day at Kent State. Regardless, he was fast as hell and the fact that he didn’t get invited to the combine kind of proves my point about the Patriots going after undervalued players from small overlooked schools.
Anyways, thanks for all the feedback!