In response to RedSoxDOrtiz's comment:
I'm not being a BB apologist, but it should be taken into consideration that the Patriots have drafted at the end of the draft every year since 2001 since they have had success on the field every single year. The early draft picks they did have were from trades with other teams and not consistently picked at the top of the draft in later rounds.
This tired, old argument fails to hold water. Here we go again:
1.) 2006: BB used the 21st overall pick on RB Laurence Maroney, the 36th overall pick on WR Chad Jackson, and the 86th overall pick on TE David Thomas;
2.) 2007: BB selected FS Brandon Meriweather at #24;
3.) 2008: Selected LB Jerod Mayo at #10, the forgetable CB Terrence Wheatley at #62, the even more forgetable LB Shaun "Betty Grable" Crable at #78, and QB Kevin O'Connell at #94;
4.) 2009: BB took SS Patrick Chung at #34, DT Ron Brace at #40, CB Darius Butler at #41, OT Sebastien Vollmer at #58, WR Brandon Tate at #83, and LB Tyrone McKenzie at #97;
5.) 2010: Selected DB Devin McCourty at #27, TE Rob Gronkowski at #42, DE Jermaine Cunningham at #53, LB Brandon Spikes at #62, and WR Taylor Price at #90;
6.) 2011: Took OT Nate Solder at #17, CB Ras-I Dowling at #33, RB Shane Vereen at #56, RB Stevan Ridley at #73, QB Ryan Mallett at #74;
7.) 2012: BB selected DE Chandler Jones at #21, LB Dont'a Hightower at #25, the incomparable SS Tavon Wilson at #48, and Jake Bequette at #90;
8.) 2013: The Pats drafted LB Jamie Collins at #52, WR Aaron Dobson at #59, CB Logan Ryan at #83, and SS Duron Harmon at #91.
It's unfair to judge the 2013 draft class after one year. But, from 2006-12, the Pats had seven (7) first round draft picks, 12 second round draft picks, and nine (9) third round picks. That's a grand total of 28 top 100 picks, over seven (7) years.
Of the seven (7) first rounders, four (4) have become good players.
Of the 12 second rounders, only Vollmer, Gronk, and Vereen have panned out.
Of the nine (9) third rounders, only Stevan Ridley has contibuted.
So...of these 28 top 100 picks, only eight have been worthwhile. That's just 29% hits, and a whopping 71% failures. Keep this in mind when you ask yourselves why the Patriots have gotten old at certain positions, and have been forced to comb the free agency scrap heap for players?
TPat: Thanks for the summary. How does the Patriot success/failure rate compare to other NFL teams? Surely someone has done an analysis.