Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

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    Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

         I came up with around 30 good ones. Here are the cream of the Pats' draft crop, over the history of the franchise:

    1.) 2000 - QB Tom Brady, Michigan: The Patriots used the 199th overall pick to select Brady, arguably the greatest NFL QB of all-time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brady

    2.) 1962 - MLB Nick Buoniconti, Notre Dame: Selected in the 13th round of the AFL draft in '62, Nick went on to a Hall of Fame career, playing for both the Patriots, and the Miami Dolphins: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Buoniconti 

    3.) 1973 - OG John Hannah, Alabama: Hog was taken with the 4th overall pick in '73. He evolved into perhaps the greatest offensive lineman to ever play the game. A 10 time all-pro selection, and a first ballot hall of famer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hannah_(American_football

    4.) 1976 - CB Michael Haynes, Arizona State: Taken with the 4th overall pick in the '76 draft, Haynes developed into the Darrelle Revis of his time, as well as becoming an outstanding punt returner. One of the greatest CBs of all-time, and a Hall of Famer. Nine time pro-bowler, who split his time between the Patriots and Oakland Raiders:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Haynes_(cornerback)   

    5.) 2001 - DE Richard Seymour, Georgia: Sir Richard backboned the three time SB championship defense of the Patriots' dynasty. The 6th overall pick in the '01 draft, Seymour dominated as a rookie. A 6 time all-pro, and a future Hall of Famer:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Seymour 

    6.) 1982 - OLB Andre Tippett, Iowa: The Pats' second round pick in the '82 draft, the 41st player taken that year. Over a 12 year career with the Pats', he was a 5 time pro-bowler (2 time all-pro, 2 time second team all pro), and amassed 100 sacks over his career. Hall of Famer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Tippett    

    7.) 1995 - RB Curtis Martin, Pittsburgh: Selected in the 3rd round, this 74th overall pick evolved into a Hall of Fame RB. A five time all-pro. A threat both as a runner and pass receiver: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Martin

    8.) 1995 - CB Ty Law, Michigan: The Pats' #1 pick in the '95 draft, the 23rd overall selection. Law was a key piece in the Patriots' "D", and a huge participant in two world championships. Made one of the biggest plays in Patriots' history, when he intercepted an errant Kurt Warner pass in SB 36, and returned it for a TD. A 5 time pro-bowler, and 2 time all-pro selection. Should be a candidate for the Hall of Fame:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ty_Law 

    9.) 1987 - OT Bruce Armstrong, Louisville: The 23rd overall selection in the '87 draft, Armstrong went on to a 14 year career with the Pats. During that time, he was a 6-time pro bowler, and a two-time second team all-pro. An underrated performer, who should be in the Hall of Fame:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Armstrong  

    10a.) 1991 - TE Ben Coates, Livingstone: A 9 year Patriots' career, spanning from 1991-99. During that time, Coates was a 5 time pro-bowler, and a 2 time all-pro selection at TE. A 5th round draft choice, #124 overall, in the '91 draft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Coates;

    10b.) 2004 - DT Vince Wilfolk, Miami: Four time pro-bowler has evolved into the current leader of the Patriots' much maligned defense. Was the Pats' #1 pick in '04, the 21st overall player selected. It's hard to imagine where this team would be without him. Carried the Pats' defense on his back last year, and was the main reason why the Patriots beat the Ravens in the AFC title game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Wilfork
     
    * HONORABLE MENTION: Willie McGinest, Drew Bledsoe, Rob Gronkowski, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Jon Morris, Steve Nelson, Asante Samuel, Russ Francis, Jim Nance, Steve Grogan, Raymond Claiborne.
     
         Thoughts? Who did I miss?  
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from sporter81. Show sporter81's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Some great picks there, Not sure about Nick Buoniconti  for the 2nd pick though. Brady and Hannah for sure 1 and 2. 
     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Tippet was my football hero growing up.  On a franchise that was SO unspecial, and so average or just plain ole bad for SO many years ALL throughout the 1980's when I was coming of age (minus 1 dream season), Andre Tippet was something special to look up to for me...even IF by default of being the lone stud player on Defense for a decade on my home team.  

    Sorta makes his play even THAT much more exceptional imo.  This guy was doing delayed blitzes before they were even a designed play for a pass rushing Linebacker.  And here, I certainly don't mean to even use the term "pass-rushing LB" as IF it's a description of Tippet's play...I mean, A Linebacker who decides to pass-rush on 1 given play.  Ya use "pass rushing LB" and it almost describes a specialty performer...which he was not.  He was neither lacking in pass D for an LB, Run D, Pass-rushing D- Nothing...he just did ALL of it.  I'm not sure IF it was because he was never surrounded by any even bare minimum amount of complimentary talent (so he really had no other choice BUT to play the ball in the most exacting & non-gambling, mistake-free manner he could), OR It could just be the extremely simple fact that he was a PURE "Gamer", nothing else...nothing more, nothing less.

    I still see highlights of Tippet which amaze me...  Last 1 I saw had Tippet aligned sorta strongside (but hedging towards the middle).  He WAS at Strongside, THEN hedged towards the middle right prior to the snap (still, noticeably on 1 side of LB play though).  QB drops back, and Tippet doesn't even budge- ALL he's doing is looking at the QB's eyes to read play direction (The QB in fact, was making his reads on that strongside area of eligible receivers first)...  And in 1 instant, Tippet sees an opening (he's about 6-8 yards away from the LOS-diagnolly left & on the strongside middle)- Whatever Tippet saw must've been a perfectly exploitable seam that just might occur by the time he got to the LOS, after he made that split-second decision & his subsequent break towards the QB...  Swinging around, Tippet splits the WEAKSIDE OT & OG with their D-Lineman assignment, and the remaining OC/OG/OT and RB with their assignments (on the side that Tippet originally was coming from)- WHAM!  Crushes the QB just as he's making his 2nd WR read, and as that QB's head was swiveling towards the opposite/middle side for the read (just in time to see Andre Tippet in your grill!).

    He was just- idk- Pure Class & Pure Nose for the ball (which imho, sorta differs from "pure instinct" in that "Nose for the ball" almost belies some kinda "'Headiness' & Excellent Game knowledge on top of that Freak athleticism to make it happen).  He's 1 of those guys you say as a Coach, "Ok, you're here...so that should just about cover it, in terms of me telling you what to do on the field today." 
     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    Some great picks there, Not sure about  Nick Buoniconti  for the 2nd pick though. Brady and Hannah for sure 1 and 2. 
    Posted by sporter81


         Buoniconti gets the second spot because he was a 13th round pick in the AFL (then not part of the NFL), draft. For such a long shot to become a Hall of Famer is really exceptional.
     
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  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    I think you've got to put Bledsoe into the top ten, the guy pretty much saved this franchise and built a stadium do to his play in his first 9 years. Seymore to me is a little high at the five spot, this is a guy that wanted to be the next Reggie White and ended being a guy that was excellent for the first four, maybe five years of his career - then got hurt- sulked and whined about his contract...then was traded (where he has had one good, and one average season). In all honesty I think Wilfork has been the better all around investment - the guy is always on the field and plays at a very good and consistent level. What about Troy Brown? I'd put him on there before Seymore - the guy had as much input into us winning those Super Bowls as anyone (incredible considering he was a receiver).

    Great list though and a nice thread.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from NoMorePensionLooting. Show NoMorePensionLooting's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Bledsoe does not make my list. Sure was good but he should have been great. He was more interested in what was going on after games and during the off season he wasted a large chunk of his talent. That’s fine as it’s his life to do with as he wished but he did not eat, sleep and drink football.

     

    Ty Law does not make my list either.

     

    I might put Hannah at 2 and Mike Haynes at 3. Both perhaps the greatest at their respective positions.

     

    I would have Tedy Bruschi and Steve Nelson on my top ten as they EPITOMIZED everything you want in a football player. They made their defenses better, and they made their teams better.

     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    Logan Mankins and Matt Light should be in the honorable mentions. Vinatieri was a rookie FA, i'd still include him though.
    Posted by ricky12684


         Yes...Mankins and Light should have been included in the honorable mentions.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    Bledsoe does not make my list. Sure was good but he should have been great. He was more interested in what was going on after games and during the off season he wasted a large chunk of his talent. That’s fine as it’s his life to do with as he wished but he did not eat, sleep and drink football.
     
    RESPONSE: I strongly disagree with you about Drew. He had a good career as a Patriots' QB, and led the team to a SB...once he finally got under the direction of a first rate coach...Bill Parcells. Though Drew was no Brady, he was good.

    Ty Law does not make my list either.
     
    RESPONSE: Why no love for Ty? Sure, there certainly were some bad feelings about the way he left the team, and him playing for the Jets. But, the guy will deservedly garner Hall of Fame consideration, and had some great seasons, and post season games, while a Patriot. There's no disputer that he was one of the core players on the Pats' dynasty trip defense; 

    I might put Hannah at 2 and Mike Haynes at 3. Both perhaps the greatest at their respective positions.
     
    RESPONSE: This is understandable. But, getting a HOF caliber player in the 13th round of the AFL draft was one hell of a pick;

    I would have Tedy Bruschi and Steve Nelson on my top ten as they EPITOMIZED everything you want in a football player. They made their defenses better, and they made their teams better.

    RESPONSE: True...they may have been underrated. But, they couldn't measure up to the all-star credentials of the players listed ahead of them.
    Posted by NoMorePensionLooting

     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

     Ty Law benefited from playing a team with Vrabel(sp), McGinest, Tedy Bruschi and the like. Without a strong pass rush Ty would get beaten and he played off guys and played soft. Put Ty on our current team and he gets toasted. Heck, against the Rams in the SB I would have picked off that pass as it was the result of Warner under tremendous pressure throwing a poorly thought out pass. Did I like Ty? Sure, on my Top 10 list? Sorry, no.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from NoMorePensionLooting. Show NoMorePensionLooting's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    The beauty about football is it's about heart, soul, commitment and courage. Sure "skill" is there but to be in the NFL you of course have the skill or you wouldn't be there to begin with.

    That being said I have no issues putting Tedy Bruschi and Steve Nelson on my top ten as they took their skill to a higher level and changed outcomes of games.

    Gimme' a team of Bruschis, Grograns, Nelsons, and the like and that "team" will kick the snot of a any so called "skill" team any day of the week.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
      Ty Law benefited from playing a team with Vrabel(sp), McGinest, Tedy Bruschi and the like. Without a strong pass rush Ty would get beaten and he played off guys and played soft. Put Ty on our current team and he gets toasted. Heck, against the Rams in the SB I would have picked off that pass as it was the result of Warner under tremendous pressure throwing a poorly thought out pass. Did I like Ty? Sure, on my Top 10 list? Sorry, no.
    Posted by NoMorePensionLooting


         You have to keep in mind that Ty played with the Pats prior to the imposition of the current Polian passing rules. While it's true that his physical style may not have held up as well in the current NFL, it was certainly effective when he played. The criticisms you are making on Ty could also be applied to other great physical DBs of the past, such as Mel Blount and Ronnie Lott.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from redsoxfan94. Show redsoxfan94's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    gronk and hernandez will be up there in a few years
     
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    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    gronk and hernandez will be up there in a few years
    Posted by redsoxfan94


         If they can stay healthy...yes. Gronk is an absolute beast.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from NoMorePensionLooting. Show NoMorePensionLooting's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    No way, players were scared sxxt of Lott and Blount. The last of DBs who CONTROLLED the backfield. Brutal and tough players as the day is long. Nothing like Ty. TY was finnese who needed strong pass rushers in front of him to allow him to jump routes and exploit QBs under pressure.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    Bledsoe does not make my list. Sure was good but he should have been great. He was more interested in what was going on after games and during the off season he wasted a large chunk of his talent. That’s fine as it’s his life to do with as he wished but he did not eat, sleep and drink football.   Ty Law does not make my list either.   I might put Hannah at 2 and Mike Haynes at 3. Both perhaps the greatest at their respective positions.   I would have Tedy Bruschi and Steve Nelson on my top ten as they EPITOMIZED everything you want in a football player. They made their defenses better, and they made their teams better.
    Posted by NoMorePensionLooting

    No Bledsoe? I'm not saying the guy is Brady or one of the best all time, but for this franchise? He's the second best quarterback we've had. This franchise would probably be in St. Lois if it weren't for him. I agree that he didn't have the commitment or love for it like Brady - I remember him being privately flown by helicopter to the airport to go on his Caribbean vacation after a tough loss during the bye week. I still think he should be top ten for this franchise.
     
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  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History : No Bledsoe? I'm not saying the guy is Brady or one of the best all time, but for this franchise? He's the second best quarterback we've had. This franchise would probably be in St. Lois if it weren't for him. I agree that he didn't have the commitment or love for it like Brady - I remember him being privately flown by helicopter to the airport to go on his Caribbean vacation after a tough loss during the bye week. I still think he should be top ten for this franchise.
    Posted by mthurl


         I agree that Drew was a good QB for the Pats, and made honorable mention. What hurt him a bit was that he was a #1 overall selection. Guys picked #1 overall are supposed to be great. But, a guy picked in, say, round 5, who becomes a great player (like Ben Coates), I see as a better pick.  
     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Remember the 1997 98? loss against the Steelers. Bledsoe threw a stupid pick that weighed heavily on the outcome of that game. After the game Drew’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, visited the Patriots locker room and brought with him Ryan Leaf who had signed with Steinberg Agency prior to the NFL draft. The story was all three were having a great ole’ time laughing it up. So much so that Willie McGinest was going to go over and confront Drew about what was so funny minutes after losing a game the Pats should have won. McGinest was stopped from doing so.

     

    Drew would always throw picks at the worst possible times in game. He couldn’t wait to get out of town and never showed up in the off season.

     

    He had “skill” and “talent” and was a good QB. He SHOULD have been among the greatest ever but CHOSE not to be. No way he’s on my top ten.

     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Kevin Faulk should definitely be an honorable mention. He has made so many critical plays in critical playoff games over the years. You could make an argument they might have lost some of those games if not for his monster first down catches. 

    By the way, I still say that was a tough call and he had a first down in Indy. Smile
     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Also, It would be really cool to put together a list of the top 10 Worst Patriots draft picks as well.

    Anyone remember Hart Lee Dykes or Eugene Chung? 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    Top 10
    Tom Brady
    John Hannah
    Nick Buoniconti
    Mike Haynes
    Curtis Martin
    Andre Tippett
    Steve Grogan
    Drew Bledsoe
    Ty Law
    Stanley Morgan

    Honorable Mention
    Jim Plunkett
    Bruce Armstrong
    Richard Seymour
    Matt Light
    Willie McGinest
    Lawyer Milloy
    Raymond Clayborn
    Steve Nelson
    Tedy Bruschi
    Irving Fryar
    Russ Francis
    Julius Adams
    Sam Cunningham
    Ben Coates
    Kevin Faulk

    Ones that got away
    Fran Tarkenton
    Steve McMichael
    Rich Gannon
    Bob Golic

     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    The notion that Ty Law played 'soft' coverage is absurd and totally unrelated to the player...First off, he was extremely physical, outside of Revis he had the ability to cling in a manner that I haven't seen since Deion. Strong in run support, had the ability to plant and drive to make plays on the ball and the awareness to play off zone schemes, he was versitile enough to essentially be left on an island.  Easily the best DB the Patriots have had in the last 10-15 years, easily.  Also the argument that a cushion is somehow a sign of weakness is just absurd, depending on the particular coverage being called for a db may have to play with a decent cushion.  You really want to press Megatron with a single high safety?  Good luck if/when he beats your jam and it becomes a footrace outside the hashes.  Law's 2003 campaign was about as good as it gets for a CB, in the last decade the only other corner i've seen flat out dominate in that manner was Revis in 09, where he was truly lights out.  Not to mention Law showed up huge in the biggest games, 03 AFC Championship remains my favorite non superbowl victory of all time, it was 4 quarters of domination.

    And good call with Faulk as an honorable mention.
     
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    Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History

    In Response to Re: Best 10 Draft Choices in Patriots' History:
    Remember the 1997 98? loss against the Steelers. Bledsoe threw a stupid pick that weighed heavily on the outcome of that game. After the game Drew’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, visited the Patriots locker room and brought with him Ryan Leaf who had signed with Steinberg Agency prior to the NFL draft. The story was all three were having a great ole’ time laughing it up. So much so that Willie McGinest was going to go over and confront Drew about what was so funny minutes after losing a game the Pats should have won. McGinest was stopped from doing so.   Drew would always throw picks at the worst possible times in game. He couldn’t wait to get out of town and never showed up in the off season.   He had “skill” and “talent” and was a good QB. He SHOULD have been among the greatest ever but CHOSE not to be. No way he’s on my top ten.
    Posted by NoMorePensionLooting


    I remember

    Saturday game in December. Second to last game of the season, as I recall

    Pats had an EIGHT point lead with less than two minutes to go. All they needed was one first down to seal the win. On third and short at around midfield, instead of running Curtis Martin into the line, they had Bledsoe throw a short pass toward the sideline that got picked off. He was suckered on the play. Steelers end up scoring with little or no time left on the clock and convert on the 2-pointer. Then Pitt won the coin flip and scored on their first possession in overtime

    One of the more excrutiating regular season losses in recent Patriot's history

    I remember the Ryan Leaf incident, but I thought it took place after the playoff game that same year in Pittsburgh. (I may be wrong). Another game in which Bledsoe turned it over at the end. This time as the Pats were driving for the go-ahead score. He fumbled after being hit from behind by then Steeler, Mike Vrabel. Final score: Pitt 7 NE 6

    Ugh. What a way to end the season

    PS For honorable mention on TexPat's list: Craig James and Ronnie Lippett. Not exactly Patriot All Timers there, but pretty good value as the 7th and 8th round picks in the '83 draft
     
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