4 draft pick re-dos that could’ve changed Patriots’ entire recent history
By Jerry Trotta
The New England Patriots have gotten a great return on investment from their 2021 draft class. While the jury is still out on third-rounder Ronnie Perkins, three of the team’s top four selections — Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson — all appear to be pieces worth building around.
The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the Patriots’ previous drafts. While widely regarded as a crap shoot, Bill Belichick and the rest of the front office have made drafting future impact players seem like finding a needle in a haystack.
In reality, it shouldn’t be that difficult and it’s got to be frustrating for fans to think how far along this current “rebuild” would be had New England hit on just a couple more picks over the last few drafts.
We hate to draw attention to a sensitive subject, but it’s fair to say these draft pick re-dos could’ve changed the Patriots’ entire recent history.
4 draft pick re-dos the Patriots wish they could make right now
4. Maxx Crosby over Yodny Cajuste (2019)
What’s that? The Patriots are still looking for an edge rusher? Well, back in 2019, Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby was available with the No. 101 pick in the third round and New England favored West Virginia offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste.
Due to injuries, the former Mountaineer didn’t play a single snap over his first two NFL seasons. Cajuste finally rejoined the rotation this past season, but only played seven games (two starts) while totaling just 81 offensive snaps.
He’s still under contract and will likely play out 2022 as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option off the bench.
The Patriots’ selection of Cajuste paved the way for the Raiders to select Crosby just five picks later at No. 106 overall. Coming off his first career Pro Bowl and signing a four-year, $99 million extension with Las Vegas, Crosby has compiled 25 sacks, 43 tackles for loss, 57 QB hits and 191 pressures in three seasons.
In other words, Crosby is an absolute wrecking ball at a position the Patriots have struggled at mustering production out of over the years. While they struck gold in Matt Judon last offseason, they wouldn’t have had to cycle through pass rushers if they had just drafted Crosby back in 2019.
Easier said than done, obviously, but Belichick and Co. are paid more than enough for fans to expect them to hit on talents like Crosby. Alas, they drafted a player in Cajuste who’s barely deserving of a spot on an NFL roster.