Last year on BSMW, we took a close look at each New England draft round of the Bill Belichick era. Time to take 2013’s selections into account.
As of right now, Coach Belichick has seven picks in the 2014 draft, with an extra sixth-rounder making up for the lack of a fifth-rounder (resulting from the trade for defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga). The Patriots may get an additional late-round compensatory pick due to some free agent defections in 2013.
Every one of New England’s seven 2013 choices saw the field, with some displaying strong progression throughout the year. The team also added a handful of undrafted rookies who contributed. A complete list of undrafted free agents signed right after draft weekend can be seen here.
First Round –
2000: None (pick went to NYJ for BB)
2001: Richard Seymour, DL, Georgia
2002: Dan Graham, TE, Colorado
2003: Ty Warren, DL, Texas A&M
2004: Vince Wilfork, DL, Miami; Benjamin Watson, TE, Georgia
2005: Logan Mankins, OL, Fresno State
2006: Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
2007: Brandon Meriweather, DB, Miami
2008: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
2009: (No Pick – traded down)
2010: Devin McCourty, DB, Rutgers
2011: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
2012: Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse; Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
2013: (No Pick – traded down)
Total Picks: 13
Successful Picks: 11 (sans Maroney, Meriweather)
Most Successful Pick: Seymour
Every Patriots First-Round pick has started for the Patriots; Maroney and Meriweather went by the wayside too quickly for us to deem them successes.
In any case, if you’re New England’s first round pick, chances are you can skip renting and go straight to buying.
Second Round –
2000: Adrian Klemm, OT, Hawaii
2001: Matt Light, OT, Purdue
2002: Deion Branch, WR, Louisville
2003: Eugene Wilson, DB, Illinois; Bethel Johnson, WR, Texas A&M
2004: Marquise Hill, DE, LSU
2005: (No pick)
2006: Chad Jackson, WR, Florida
2007: (No pick – traded for Wes Welker)
2008: Terrence Wheatley, DB, Colorado
2009: Patrick Chung, DB, Oregon; Ron Brace, DT, BC; Darius Butler, DB, UConn; Sebastian Vollmer, OT, Houston
2010: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona; Jermaine Cunningham, DE, Florida; Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida.
2011: Ras-I Dowling, DB, Virginia; Shane Vereen, RB, California
2012: Tavon Wilson, DB, Illinois
2013: Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss; Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
Total Picks: 19
Successful Picks: 9 (Light, Branch, E. Wilson, Vollmer, Gronkowski, Spikes, Vereen, T. Wilson, Collins)
Most Successful Pick: Light
If there’s such a thing as Second-Round DB phobia, New England fans have developed it. After finding success with Eugene Wilson in 2003, the Pats drafted Wheatley, Chung, Butler and Dowling, none of whom remains with the team. Tavon Wilson, seen by almost everyone outside of Foxboro as a George-Mikan-size reach in 2012, has been relegated to special teams duty after some less-than-inspiring safety play. He has one more season to turn it around.
Big, big drop-off from the First Round here, though fans should take heart in recent successes. Vereen has the tools of a dynamic player, while both Collins and Dobson have the size and athleticism to make opponents pay attention.
Third Round –
2000: J. R. Redmond, RB, Arizona State
2001: Brock Williams, DB, Notre Dame
2002: (No pick)
2003: (No pick)
2004: Guss Scott, DB, Florida
2005: Ellis Hobbs III, CB, Iowa State; Nick Kaczur, OL, Toledo
2006: David Thomas, TE, Texas
2007: (No pick)
2008: Shawn Crable, OLB, Michigan; Kevin O’Connell, QB, San Diego State
2009: Brandon Tate, WR, North Carolina; Tyrone McKenzie, LB, South Florida
2010: Taylor Price, WR, Ohio
2011: Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU; Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
2012: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas
2013: Logan Ryan, DB, Rutgers; Duron Harmon, DB, Rutgers
Total Picks: 16
Successful Picks: 6 (Hobbs, Kaczur, Ridley, Mallett, Ryan, Harmon)
Most Successful Pick: Ridley
We’re calling 2013’s Rutgers duo a success for now, though Ryan’s lack of speed has us wondering if he won’t have the same type of sophomore slump that forced McCourty to safety.
Between O’Connell (2008), Price (2010) and Harmon (2013), Round Three looks like the Take-A-Chance round. Players like Bequette (2012) and McKenzie (2009) make it the Overrated Potential round. Ridley and Mallett (both 2011) were obvious exceptions.
Fourth Round –
2000: Greg Robinson-Randall, OT, Michigan State
2001: Kenyatta Jones, OT, South Florida; Jabari Holloway, TE, Notre Dame
2002: Rohan Davey, QB, LSU; Jarvis Green, DE, LSU
2003: Dan Klecko, DL, Temple; Asante Samuel, CB, Central Florida
2004: Dexter Reid, DB, North Carolina; Cedric Cobbs, RB, Arkansas
2005: James Sanders, DB, Fresno State
2006: Garrett Mills, FB, Tulsa; Stephen Gostkowski, K, Memphis
2007: Kareem Brown, DL, Miami
2008: Jonathan Wilhite, DB, Auburn
2009: Rich Ohrnberger, OL, Penn State
2010: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida
2011: (No Pick)
2012: (No Pick)
2013: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
Total Picks: 17
Successful Picks: 5 (Green, Samuel, Sanders, Gostkowski, Boyce)
Most Successful Pick: Gostkowski
Not much to look at here. Green (2003) was their first major contributor; Samuel played a key role in the last two championships. After Gostkowski’s performance in the Divisional playoff win vs. Indianapolis (kicking and punting), we moved him to Most Successful Pick status, replacing Samuel.
We see Boyce as a success because of the potential he showed on the field: another better-than-average athlete who should be able to win one-on-one battles once he gets the offense down pat.
The Tight End Named Above Who Shall Not Be Named Again made the successful picks list in last year’s column.
Fifth Round –
2000: Dave Stachelski, TE, Boise State; Jeff Marriott, DT, Missouri
2001: Hakim Akbar, DB, Washington
2002: (No pick)
2003: Dan Koppen, OL, Boston College
2004: P. K. Sam, WR, Florida State
2005: Ryan Claridge, OLB, UNLV
2006: Ryan O’Callaghan, OL, California
2007: Clint Oldenburg, OL, Colorado State
2008: Matthew Slater, WR, UCLA
2009: George Bussey, OL, Louisville
2010: Zoltan Mesko, P, Michigan
2011: Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU; Lee Smith, TE, Marshall
2012: (No pick)
2013: (No pick)
Total Picks: 13
Successful Picks: 4 (Koppen, Slater, Mesko, Cannon)
Most Successful Pick: Koppen
As we said last year: We used to call Round Five “Koppen or Bust.” Now, Slater and Cannon have added some credibility to this part of the draft, with Cannon ending a dreary streak of failed O-linemen. Does Mesko still belong in the successful column? We think so: he did a better-than-average job for three seasons.
Unless a trade happens, no fifth-rounder this year.
Sixth Round –
2000: Antwan Harris, CB, Virginia; Tom Brady, QB, Michigan; David Nugent, DT, Purdue.
2001: Arther Love, TE, South Carolina State; Leonard Myers, DB, Miami
2002: (No pick)
2003: Kliff Kingsbury, QB, Texas Tech
2004: (No pick)
2005: (No pick)
2006: Jeremy Mincey, OLB, Florida; Dan Stevenson, OL, Notre Dame; LeKevin Smith, DL, Nebraska
2007: Justin Rogers, OLB, SMU; Justise Hairston, RB, Central Connecticut; Corey Hilliard, OL, Oklahoma State
2008: Bo Ruud, OLB, Nebraska
2009: Jake Ingram, LS, Hawaii; Myron Pryor, DT, Kentucky
2010: Ted Larsen, C, NC State
2011: Markell Carter, DE, Central Arkansas
2012: Nate Ebner, DB, Ohio State
2013: (No Pick)
Total Picks: 18
Successful Picks: 3 (Brady, Pryor, Ebner)
Most Successful Pick: One guess
Ah, The Brady Round. Because of their 2000 selection of Our Tom (note: their second pick in that round), New England could select a syphilitic horseshoe crab in this spot and still have fans believing, “You know, if they coach him up, maybe he’ll contribute.”
Ebner, a solid special-teamer drafted as such, demonstrates a recent positive worth reviewing. They have two sixth-rounders this year (with a potential compensatory pick as well).
Seventh Round –
2000: Casey Tisdale, OLB, New Mexico; Patrick Pass, RB, Georgia
2001: Owen Pochman, K, BYU; T. J. Turner, LB, Michigan State
2002: Antwoine Womack, RB, Virginia; David Givens, WR, Notre Dame
2003: Spencer Nead, TE, BYU; Tully Banta-Cain, LB, California; Ethan Kelley, NT, Baylor
2004: Christian Morton, CB, Florida State
2005: Matt Cassel, QB, Southern California; Andy Stokes, TE, William Penn
2006: Willie Andrews, DB, Baylor
2007: Oscar Lua, LB, Southern California; Mike Elgin, OL, Iowa
2008: (No pick)
2009: Julian Edelman, WR, Kent State; Darryl Richardson, DT, Georgia Tech
2010: Thomas Welch, OT, Vanderbilt; Brandon Deaderick, DL, Alabama; Kade Weston, DL, Georgia; Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State
2011: Malcolm Williams, CB, TCU
2012: Alfonso Dennard, DB, Nebraska; Jeremy Ebert, WR, Northwestern
2013: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois; Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers
Total Picks: 26 (What?)
Successful Picks: 9 (Pass, Givens, Banta-Cain, Cassel, Edelman, Deaderick, Williams, Dennard, Buchanan)
Most Successful Pick: Edelman
A noteworthy uptick here arising from the shotgun effect. The Patriots take a humongous amount of picks (26 in 14 years) and get the most they can out of those players to deepen their roster – or, in the case of Edelman, groom them into starters. This makes the waning hours of draft weekend exciting for Foxboro followers: after Round Three’s 38 percent, the best odds to contribute go to New England’s final selections in each draft.
We replaced Cassel with Edelman as most successful pick after the latter’s breakout season in 2013.
After teams select their rookies, they embark on a hard-core, gem-in-the-dirt search. The Patriots excel at this activity. Some past undrafted free agents who contributed: Stephen Neal, OL; Tom Ashworth, OL; Eric Alexander, LB; Randall Gay, DB; Wesley Britt, OL; Antwain Spann, CB; Kyle Eckel, RB; Santonio Thomas, DL: Mike Wright, DL; Corey Mays, LB; Pierre Woods, OLB; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB; Vince Redd, OLB, Tyson Devree, TE; Gary Guyton, LB; Brian Hoyer, QB; Ray Ventrone, DB.
Some UDFAs on the roster now (2013 signees in bold): Ryan Allen, P, Louisiana Tech; Brandon Bolden, RB, Ole Miss; Kanorris Davis, DB, Troy; Dane Fletcher, LB, Montana State; Justin Green, DB, Illinois; Josh Kline, OL, Kent State; Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, Cincinnati; Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland.
Other 2013 undrafted players of note: Chris Jones, DL out of Bowling Green (not included above because he initially signed with another team after the draft), and injured reserve players T. J. Moe (WR, Missouri), Mark Harrison (WR, Rutgers) and Cory “Pork Chop” Grissom (DL, South Florida).
Our advice to Coach Belichick (and we know he’s hanging on our every word) involves using mid-round picks to trade up for players he wants, and continuing to fill out the roster with seventh-rounders and undrafted free agents.
So, what’s your idea on the coach’s draft plan this year? What’s your favorite draft round of the past 14 years? Leave a comment below.
Chris Warner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @cwarn89