The top 5 players the Patriots mistakenly passed on drafting in the past five years

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Lamar Jackson in 2018

The 2018 draft, more specifically the first round of the 2018 draft, will likely be discussed for the next several years or until the Patriots finally find the definitive successor to Tom Brady.

It was a year they were projected to draft a quarterback, as they did basically every other year during Brady's tenure. Because of their meetings with Jackson and their reported heavy interest in the quarterback, it was assumed Bill Belichick would make the move and draft their next quarterback.

The Patriots were on the clock for the first time with the 23rd overall pick but chose to take Isaiah Wynn instead of Jackson. But since they had another first-round selection with pick 31, there was still hope they could land the quarterback then.

Then came pick 31.

The opportunity was in their grasp, waiting for the taking. But New England chose to go with Sony Michel, a running back out of Georgia. Because of this, the Ravens then traded up to the final spot of the first round to take Jackson, solidifying potentially one of the biggest draft mistakes of Belichick's career.

Although Michel went on to become a significant part of the Patriots' 2018 Super Bowl run and contributed heavily to the run game the following year, his time with the team only lasted through the 2020 season.

As for Wynn, he was a starter for the offensive line until he was not re-signed earlier this year. His performance had been scrutinized over the past few seasons, as he became more of a liability for the offensive line than helpful.

In regards to Jackson, he's become one of the more successful quarterbacks in the league since signing with the Ravens.

He has earned several awards, like MVP and All-Pro honors in 2019, and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2021. And he's also broken several records for his groundwork, totaling 4,437 rushing yards over the last five seasons.

The idea of the quarterback landing in New England kicked back up again earlier this year when the Ravens allowed Jackson to seek a trade, with even Robert Kraft making public statements suggesting he would like to see him sign with the Patriots.

Would he have been a good fit in the Patriots' system? Who knows. But what we do know is he would've been a solid contributor and a possible great successor to Brady when the quarterback left after the 2019 season.