The Patriots have many positions needing to be dealt with, whether through free or the NFL draft, both of which are just mere weeks away.
Because rookies have recently become essential to several successful teams, Bill Belichick must make the right decisions to get the Patriots on track to becoming a competitive football team once again.
Looking back at previous draft busts could be a good idea, given the importance of the holes that need filling on the roster this year. It’s vital that Belichick avoids these mistakes over the next several weeks, especially to not leave more reliable and talented players on the board.
The Patriots’ biggest draft busts of the last 5 years
Dalton Keene – TE
DRAFTED: Third round of 2020 draft
STATS: 6 games – 3/5 receptions for 16 yards
After the unexpected and delayed retirement of Rob Gronkowski in 2019, the Patriots were hoping to find adequate replacements, which saw Bill Belichick select back-to-back tight ends in the 2020 draft.
Although Keene’s initial drafting was only questionable due to New England trading up to grab him a bit early, according to experts, his skillset and athleticism seemed to mesh well with the Patriots’ system. As a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, the tight end had a great build and knowledge of the game, but most notably, the versatility that Belichick loves in players.
However, problems arose almost immediately as injuries plagued much of Keene’s time in New England. He missed time during his rookie season from neck and knee issues, which placed him on injured reserve for much of the season. The following year was much of the same, as his season ended before it started when he underwent meniscus surgery in August.
With his third season also forcing him to miss time from injury, the Patriots released him, and he has spent time with the Eagles and Broncos since his departure.
Keene was initially hoped to be a great option as both a tight end and fullback, two positions the Patriots have utilized a lot over the years. But the injury bug kept him off the field too much, thus becoming a draft bust.