5 of the oddest first-round draft picks in Patriots history

SiriusXM at Super Bowl 50 Radio Row - Day 1
SiriusXM at Super Bowl 50 Radio Row - Day 1 / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

Patriots' fans head into the 2024 draft channeling their inner Lewis and Clark because they’re headed into uncharted territory. It’ll be the first time since 2020 that Bill Belichick won’t be making the picks.

Of course, this has happened before, but who remembers the Patriots being drafted in the first round back in 1999?

Well, Damien Woody does because he was one of two picks they had in the first round that year. He spent five years with the Patriots and won two Super Bowls, so you have to call that a successful pick. The Patriots' second first-round pick in 1999 was Andy Katzenmoyer.

The linebacker played all 16 games in 1999, but in 2000, he suffered a serious neck injury. His playing career was cut short after just 24 games: two very good players but two very different career paths. 

What about the strangest first-round picks the Patriots have ever made, though? Well, there have been a few. Here’s a look at some of the memorable ones. 

5 of the Patriots' oddest first-round draft picks in team history

Jack Concannon – first overall pick 1964 

Back when the team was known as the Boston Patriots and played in the AFL, they traded up with the Broncos. The Patriots received the first pick in the draft, and the Broncos received center Walt Cudzik. The Broncos immediately traded Cudzik to the Bills for a linebacker, but that’s a whole other thing. 

There's nothing strange about that, I hear you say. Well, here’s the rub. Concannon never played for the Patriots. The Boston College quarterback instead opted to play in the NFL.

After being selected in the second round, with the 16th overall pick (yes, it was that long ago), Concannon signed a $50,000 contract with the Eagles. He was the third-string quarterback in Philadelphia, starting just one game and completing 12 passes as a rookie.

Concannon played in the league for ten years and retired after the 1975 season with a 20-24-1 record as a starter. Maybe he did a good job; he wasn’t the first pick in the AFL draft. 

Jim Plunkett – first overall pick 1971 

Another quarterback the Patriots used the first overall pick on, but this one actually played for the Patriots. He didn’t play well, but that’s another story. Everyone knows Plunkett is one of just thirteen quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowls, but not many people fondly remember his time in New England.

Plunkett didn’t win his first ring until he’d been away from New England for four years. He even spent two seasons in San Francisco before his Super Bowl-winning campaign in Oakland. 

Plunkett had a 23-38 record in New England, but that’s not the worst part. He threw 62 touchdowns with 87 interceptions!  As a Patriot, he completed just 48.5% of his passes, and you guys moaned about Mac Jones! 

Devin McCourty - 27th pick 2010

McCourty was undoubtedly one of Belichick’s best first-round picks. He stayed in New England for the entirety of his 13-year career and won three Super Bowl rings. So, what’s odd about the pick, you ask?

Well, the way the pick itself went down. McCourty was at home with his family, including his twin brother (who was drafted in 2009), and was in the bathroom when the Patriots decided to call. Robert Kraft thought he was informing Devin that he was about to be drafted by the Patriots, but he was actually speaking to Jason and telling him. 

Robert Edwards - 18th pick 1998

Sometimes, fate intervenes and ruins a career. Edwards was the Patriots' very own Ki-Jana Carter. Carter only started 14 games after he blew his knee out as a rookie on his fourth carry in preseason! After scoring 23 touchdowns as a junior at Penn State, big things were expected from Carter, and he was the first overall pick. 

Edwards did at least make it all the way through his rookie year in New England. He didn’t blow his knee out until the flag football game at the Pro Bowl weekend in Hawai’i. But it was such a severe injury that he was told he may not walk again, and doctors considered amputating his lower leg!

After starting 15 games as a rookie and scoring 12 touchdowns, Edwards would never play for the Patriots again. He did return to the NFL, but not until 2002, when he played 12 games for the Dolphins; he played 12 games, didn’t start any of them and only scored two touchdowns that season. 

N’Keal Harry - 32nd pick 2019

For a man who drafted Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, and Chandler Jones with first-round picks, Bill Belichick struggled with offensive picks. Laurence Maroney only started 14 games in four years. Sony Michel did win a Super Bowl, but he only averaged 4.5 yards per touch in his three years in New England. And then there is N’Keal Harry. 

After back-to-back seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards and scoring ten touchdowns as a junior at Arizona State, the Harry hype was real. But it never clicked, he started just five games as a rookie.

After three years Harry had just 598 receiving yards because he only caught 55.3% of his targets. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he only caught four touchdowns and fumbled twice during that time. 

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