New England Patriots: Best and Worst Draft Picks of the 2000s
I know it's a bit late for the end-of-the-decade lists, but I just decided to throw another one out there.
There's been some good (Brandon Meriweather) some really good (Tom Brady), some bad (Guss Scott) some really bad (Chad Jackson) draft picks in the previous decade.
The article starts out by going through the worst Pats draft picks, then moves on to the best. Both sections of this slideshow are in no particular order.
The Worst Draft Picks
To work our way to the top, we have to start at the bottom. So we'll start with the worst draft picks of the previous decade.
Laurence Maroney, Minnesota, 2006, 21st overall
I'm starting off controversially by choosing Maroney. But, he's never had 1,000 yards rushing in a single season, in fact the highest he ever got in a season is 835 yards, in his rookie season.
He had a career high in attempts last season, yet he's still only gaining 757 yards.
Maroney still has some time to prove his worth, but I'm growing impatient. And, apparently, the Pats are too with Kevin Faulk, Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor all on the Pats roster last season.
Marquise Hill, LSU, 2004, 63rd overall
Keeping with the controversy here, Marquise Hill never really had much time to prove himself to the Patriots before he was tragically killed.
However, in his three seasons with the Patriots, Hill played in 13 career games, with two career tackles (both in 2005, when he played a career high eight games) and never starting in one.
If Hill was going to be a decent player, wouldn't you think that he would start to show that he was getting better? Two career tackles isn't good, even for a guy in his third year.
The next pick? Pro Bowl DL Darnell Dockett.
Garrett Mills, Tulsa, 2006, 106th overall
Mills never played a regular season game for the Patriots, playing his nine career games in 2007 and 2008 with the Minnesota Vikings. He was placed on injured reserve midway through the 2006 season.
Guss Scott, Florida, 2004, 95th overall
Scott played so little with the Pats, there's no pictures of his front in a Pats uni, only his back.
Scott played in six career games for the Patriots, five in 2005 and one in 2006, and the 2006 game came after a five-game tenure with the Houston Texans.
Adrian Klemm, Hawaii, 2000, 46th overall
Klemm played from 2000-2004 with the Patriots before joining the Green Bay Packers. But he played so little for New England, that there are no photos of him in Getty Images.
Klemm played in every game of the 2002 season, but started just three, or one less than he started in 2000, when he played in just five games.
He didn't play at all during the 2001 season
Kevin O'Connell, San Diego State, 2008, 94th overall
O'Connell was supposed to have all the tools to be the second coming of Tom Brady.
However, O'Connell couldn't handle the pressures of the NFL, and that hurt him. After the Pats waived him, he signed with the Lions, who in turn traded him to the Jets.
He served as a Jets team captain against the Patriots in a game against the Patriots on Sep. 6, 2009.
But the Giants picking receiver Mario Manningham with the very next pick hurts.
David Thomas, Texas, 2006, 86th overall
Belichick seems to have a thing for tight ends, but none of the have ever seemed to be as good as he expects them to be.
Thomas is one of them.
Never spectacular, Thomas played in 32 games with the Patriots from 2006-2008, and just two in 2007.
He has a grand total of 261 receiving yards with the Pats, a number that he's more than doubled in his one season in New Orleans.
Bethel Johnson, Texas A&M, 2003, 46th overall
Johnson was a speedy wideout coming out for the draft. He never really developed the way the Patriots' wanted him too. He never scored a touchdown in his three years in New England.
To add insult to injury, the next wideout taken in the draft was Anquan Boldin.
Chad Jackson, Florida, 2006, 34th overall
Like Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson was a speedy wide receiver thinking that he was going to get a nice backup wideout.
Instead, he got an abysmal wideout. Jackson had 83 receiving yards with the Pats, and no touchdowns.
Not really worth a second round pick, eh, Bill?
The Best Draft Picks
Now that we've gone through the biggest mistakes on draft day, let's look at some of the wins for the Pats.
Matt Cassel, USC, 2005, 230th overall
The man whom most Pats fans never gave a second thought about stepped in masterfully for the injured Tom Brady for the entirety of the 2008 season. Matt Cassel led them to an 11-5 season, despite missing the playoffs. He was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason.
Logan Mankins, Fresno State, 2005, 32nd overall
Mankins only played in one game in 2009 for the Patriots, and it was the first game of his career that he didn't start.
He has three career tackles, and has been a staple on the Pats' offensive line since 2005.
Dan Koppen, Boston College, 2003, 164th overall
Part of an excellent offensive line, Koppen has been the center for the Pats since 2003.
He's started at least 15 games a season in everyone of those seasons, except for 2009 and 2005. In 2009, he had two tackles, and played in only two games.
Ty Warren, Texas A&M, 2003, 13 overall
Since coming into the league in 2003, Warren has played in every game in every season, except in 2005, 2008 and 2009 (when he missed one, three and four games respectively.)
Warren has been a staple on the Patriots defense for a long time, but his prime is likely past him.
Jerod Mayo, Tennessee, 2008, 10th overall
The second coming of Tedy Bruschi, Mayo and Brandon Meriweather should become the backbone of the Patriots' defense of the future.
Mayo had 98 tackles in 2008, and 70 in 2009. He had 1.5 sacks in 09 as well, but did not start a game in 2009, compared to starting all 16 in 2008.
Deion Branch, Louisville, 2002, 65th overall
Most people thought that Belichick was insane for trading Branch to the Seattle Seahawks.
In retrospect, it turned out to be a great move, as the Pats got the draft pick that they would later use to select Brandon Meriweather from Seattle.
Branch's best moment in a Patriots' uniform was winning the Super Bowl MVP in the final Super Bowl the Pats won.
Brandon Meriweather, Miami (Florida), 2007, 24th overall
The future of the Patriots' secondary, Meriweather has had nine total interceptions in his career, for 174 interception yards.
He had 149 interception yards in 2009, and had 2.0 sacks in 2008.
Asante Samuel, UCF, 2003, 120th overall
Despite a relatively bitter divorce from the Patriots, Asante exploded for a league-leading 10 interceptions in 2006, when he only had six in all seasons previous combined.
He had six in 2007, before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles, when he had four in 2008 and nine in 2009.
David Givens, Norte Dame, 2002, 253rd overall
Givens showed a lot of promise during his career, which ended prematurely. Givens had just signed a new contract (five years) with the Tennessee Titans, before suffering a career ending injury in the Week 5 that season.
Givens had close to 60 receptions in 2004 and 2005, and had six touchdown receptions in 2003.
Richard Seymour, Georgia, 2001, 6th overall
For some reason, before the 2009 season, Belichick thought it would be a good idea to trade Seymour. And we all know how that worked out.
One of Belichick's best ideas, however, was drafting him. Seymour had at least four sacks a season except for 2003 (the year he was drafted) and in 2007, when he only played in 9 games. In both seasons, respectively, Seymour had 3.0 sacks and 1.5.
He had 4.0 in his first season with the Oakland Raiders.
Tom Brady, Michigan, 2000, 199th overall
There is virtually no need to explain. Brady had been a virtual unknown before he began stepping in for Drew Bledsoe during the 2001 season. He turned into one of the best quarterbacks in the league, maybe next only to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning today.
Overall Pick No. 199 turned into Tom Terrific.
Honorable Mention: The Trades that Brought Randy Moss and Wes Welker
I know it's not technically a draft pick, but trading for Randy Moss and Wes Welker might have been the second greatest thing Bill Belichick has ever done on Draft Day...next to drafting Tom Brady.