Patriots: Best and worst draft choices, by round, in the Belichick era

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Round 1

Best: Devin McCourty, DB (2010).

Honorable mention: Richard Seymour, DE (2001); Vince Wilfork, DT (2004); Logan Mankins, G (2005).

This is a very tough decision, as Devin McCourty is not the best player in this group.

Looking solely at production, it would be hard to choose amongst Vince Wilfork, who played 11 seasons for the Patriots and was selected to five Pro Bowls in that time; Logan Mankins, who played nine seasons for the Pats with five Pro Bowls nods; and Richard Seymour, who played eight seasons for the Pats, while earning five Pro Bowl selections. 

The choice of McCourty is an appreciation of his value to the team, the organization, and the community. Over 13 seasons with the Patriots, McCourty performed at a consistently high standard of play while demonstrating exemplary character as a leader on and off the field.

Worst: N’Keal Harry, WR (2019).

Not-so-honorable mention: Laurence Maroney, RB (2006), Sony Michel, RB, (2018); Dominique Easley, DL (2014).

I’ve already written in “Can Troy Brown reverse the curse of the WR?” about the multitude of better options than Harry available at wide receiver in 2019.

The Patriots might consider adopting a policy of just never again drafting a wide receiver or a running back in the first round. Running backs are typically not worth a 1st-round pick, and the Patriots typically are struck dumb when choosing both RBs and WRs in early rounds. Instead, the Pats might stick to drafting big-bodied linemen, where, with the exception of Easley, they’ve generally done well.