Ranking Patriots' last 10 first-round draft picks

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#6. DT Malcom Brown (32nd overall in 2015)

Because Dominique Easley's time in New England had already become bumpy, maybe that's partly why Belichick decided to select another defensive tackle in the first round of the 2015 Draft.

That's when Malcom Brown became a Patriot and was quickly thrust into a starting role on the defensive line as soon as the 2015 season began. He became one of the team's most reliable defenders, missing just four games during his four seasons in New England. He was also a part of two Super Bowl-winning rosters during that time.

His stats don't necessarily jump off the page: He recorded 186 combined tackles, 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, a forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries through 60 regular-season games. However, the value of reliability and consistency cannot be overstated, especially for a team that is in the midst of a second dominating Super Bowl run.

After completing his rookie contract with the Patriots, Brown signed with the Saints in 2019 in hopes of continuing the solid track he was on in the early stages of his NFL career.

Although his time in New England wasn't incredibly long, he was a vital part of a strong defense and exceeded in the role he was given from the start.

#5. QB Mac Jones (15th overall in 2021)

You're likely questioning why a quarterback bust could possibly be ranked as high as Mac Jones on this list, which is fair considering how crucial a good quarterback is to an NFL team's success.

But because he was chosen when the Patriots needed positive production from a signal-caller just two years removed from the Tom Brady era, Jones's importance went beyond how his tenure would eventually transpire.

The quarterback had a standout rookie season against the odds stacked against him, mainly that of an underwhelming supporting cast and the harsh media reaction to the next quarterback attempting to stand in the shoes once held by the greatest quarterback of all time.

He seemed to settle most of the doubts cast upon him by bringing the Patriots to the playoffs after the team missed them the year before and earning Pro Bowl honors to end his first season. It looked like they found the right guy at the right time, and he looked every bit the part of becoming the next franchise quarterback. However, he dramatically fell from grace over the next two seasons.

Jones' struggles continued into his second season, primarily due to the lackluster offense he inherited as a rookie. The situation worsened because of the constant changes in the coaching staff, with two recently fired head coaches taking on positions in which they had no prior experience. The insertion of Matt Patricia as the new offensive coordinator further derailed any offensive success, leading to Belichick bringing in a third offensive coordinator in three years in 2023.

Despite the arrival of Bill O'Brien, any hope of Jones thriving in New England was long gone. He threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 2023, was benched four times before remaining there for the final four games, and was eventually traded to the Jaguars for next to nothing.

With Jones now gone, the Patriots find themselves in a familiar yet precarious position once again as they search for a new quarterback. They have an entirely new staff that needs to make a successful pick or risk the team's future falling into obscurity for years to come.