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

Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
6 of 8

Round 5

Best: Matthew Slater, WR (2008).

Honorable Mention: Dan Koppen, C (2003); Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB (2018).

Matthew Slater is one of the greatest special teams players in NFL history, having earned Pro-Bowl distinction ten times as a special teamer.

In his 16th season with the Pats, Slater is the only active player to be voted “Best” on this list. Slater carries himself with class, both on and off the field, and was awarded the Bart Starr Award in 2017 and the NFL’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award in 2022.

Worst: Justin Rohrwasser, K (2020).

Not-so-honorable Mention: Clint Oldenburg, OT (2007); George Bussey, OT (2009); Zoltan Mesko, P (2010).

Given that I gave a kicker the “Best” award for the 4th round, it’s only fitting that a kicker be chosen in the “Worst” category as well.  

Rohrwasser was the first kicker selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, was waived in March, 2021, and never played a regular season game for the Patriots. It’s still a mystery why the Patriots picked Rohrwasser, who was not even rated among the top five kickers available.

They could, for example, have selected Tyler Bass, who was chosen by Buffalo in the 6th round and has made 86% of field goals attempted from 2020 through 2022. There’s a lesson somewhere about never drafting kickers, at least those not named “Gostkowski.”