New England Patriots: Revisiting and Grading the Draft: 2010

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Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals punter Zoltan Mesko (3) during the AFC wild card playoff football game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5th Round  #150 overall: punter Zoltan Mesko

Drafting a punter is always an odd move and the Patriots using their fifth round pick on one was even more shocking. Mesko fit the bill of a Bill Belichick punter–he was left footed. New England had used Chris Hanson in 2009 and the fellow lefty had rated at the bottom of the league and averaged less than 40.0 yards per punt. With Belichick’s attention paid to special teams it was no surprise he would upgrade the position–but to use a coveted draft pick seemed almost blasphemy.


As the pick that came with the trade down that culminated in selecting Brandon Spikes, Mesko filled a need for New England.  More than that, he had a great name that was fun to say when he came on the field. Built like a tank, Mesko had the size of a linebacker and mixed it up downfield whenever he got the chance. Mesko averaged 43.2, 46.5, and 43.1 yards per kick in his three years in New England. Mesko lasted just three seasons in New England before losing out to another left-footed punter, incumbent punter Ryan Allen.



Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes the ball over Indianapolis Colts defensive end Arthur Jones (97) during the first quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots likely regret passing on defensive end Arthur Jones who was a high value pick for the Ravens seven picks after Mesko was drafted. Wide receiver Riley Cooper went to Philadelphia at #159 overall and Miami snagged a four year starter in safety Reshad Jones at #163 overall. The best pick may have been by Pittsburgh, however, who in the middle of the sixth round found a franchise wide receiver in Antonio Brown at #195 overall.  Of course, there are always more Chris DeGeare’s (#161 overall by Minnesota), Brody Eldridge (#162 overall by Indianapolis), and Kerry Meier (#165 overall by Atlanta).



Mesko was not a sexy pick by New England but he filled a need and played a role on the team. He may not have been a superstar, but he filled a need and helped the team improve.


Next: Round Six