Patriots track record on second-rounders less than impressive

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In all discussions of the relative brilliance of Bill Belichick and the Patriots, they tend to get the benefit of the doubt because they have five Lombardi Trophies.

But digging a bit deeper into this week’s trade of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers, there’s no guarantee the Patriots are going to win the deal. They sent their backup to the San Francisco for a second round pick, which should be in the mid-30s at the lowest.

Via Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, Belichick has a decidedly checkered record when it comes to second-round picks.

Of the 26 times the Patriots have used second-rounders in 17 years (which says something in an of itself since you usually get one per year), the Patriots have found one bona fide star in tight end Rob Gronkowski.

He also identifies six other very good choices who were clearly hits for them: Deion Branch, Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, Patrick Chung, Jamie Collins and the second-round pick they traded for Wes Welker.

The problem is, the ledger sheet is rather unbalanced when you look at the outright busts, of which there are 13: Adrian Klemm, Bethel Johnson, Marquise Hill, Chad Jackson, Terrence Wheatley, Ron Brace, Darius Butler, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Ras-I Dowling, Tavon Wilson, Aaron Dobson and Kony Ealy (who was acquired for a second-round pick this year and was cut before the season started).

Hill died in a boating accident after his third season, so it’s hard to blame them for that one. But that’s a lot of overt misses.

The rest of their seconds were used on guys who have been of some value or are too young to appropriately grade: Eugene Wilson, Shane Vereen, Jordan Richards, Cyrus Jones, the trade for Corey Dillon, and Garoppolo.

By any measure, that’s a lot more misses than hits, which makes the risk the Patriots took twofold. Not only do they spend the rest of the season holding their breath over the health of a 40-year-old starting quarterback (since their backup is a guy who got benched and cut by the winless 49ers), but they’re also faced with the reality that second-rounders are no sure things in their hands.

62 responses to “Patriots track record on second-rounders less than impressive

  1. Maybe, but how can make this case without a baseline – what are the stats for second round picks with all teams? How many become starters, remain on the team after 5 years, etc.

    I am sure you could create a similar list of second round busts for just about any team.

  2. You should probably compare that against the other teams’ histories with 2nd rounders before making conclusions. It’s probably not much different.

  3. Would anyone expect, say, Mike Reiss to ever point this out?…no, of course it’s Borges.. but of course he’s damn right.BB’s draft record, and lack of it (referring to the two 1st rd picks lost because of his screwing around with the league) stinks…just another example of how his coaching ability, and Brady cover up for a lot of his mistakes.

  4. Umm, who cares? This mattered more before the 2011 season to the present, without a rookie cap, but I’d hate to see other GMs draft yields, because they are far, far worse than any yield of the greatest GM ever.

    Have we looked at how many mid rd, late rd or UDFA hits he’s had? Or, how many cast-off (from other teams) hits he’s had?

    The system is rigged to make it be very difficult to be consistent, and obviously, the results are there, and then some.

    7 SB appearances, 5 rings, and a gazillion division titles later, my main concern is Brady, where his head is at for the title game, what his body language is and if he can get off to a good start in a Super Bowl for once.

    Have a nice day, trolls at PFT!

  5. Lets let the dust settle before we smash the deal to pieces. Who’s to say they keep the 2nd rounder he may trade it and pick up more picks or a proven player. Regardless, BB is the first one to tell you sometimes players work out ..sometimes they don’t. The difference between BB and the rest of the league is doesn’t look back and or hold on to players for sentimental reasons. He gets killed when they don’t work out by the media and experts, the same people who built him up to be the King of Football…..how fitting…the new American way…..

  6. Patriots track record at getting to the super bowl more than impressive.

    Patriots track record at coming back from 28-3 with 2:11 left in the third more than impressive. Just ask Mark Walhberg

  7. Wouldn’t a stronger comparison be Belichick’s history of 2nd round picks versus the average “boom-bust” rate of the league over the same time period? I would venture to day that the league has been just as bad if not worse on average than Hoodie over the same period. Leaving this information out doesn’t provide the necessary comparison.

  8. Bethel Johnson and Brandon Spikes were “busts”?

    They were not stars but they were certainly serviceable players…..especially Spikes.

  9. Brandon Spikes was not a bust. Slow and bad in coverage but an amazing run stuffer on 1st and 2nd down. He burned his bridge and Belichick still took him back before he wrecked a car and got cut. I wouldnt call him a bust. Most of those picks are defensive backs which Belichick finds better in the later rounds more so than early.

  10. I’m not sure I would consider Tavon Wilson, Darius Butler, and Brandon Spikes “outright busts”. And considering the trade for Corey Dillon to be of “some value” is the understatement of the day.

  11. Meaningless. They almost never whiff in the the 1rst rnd. The 2nd is their shot round. Even Gronk was a risk. They make it up with late rnd pks and undrafted FAs. Not only can you not argue with the wins and losses, but the roster sends at least the top 3 amount of players to the Pro Bowl every yr. Although they usually have to pass cause they’re in the Suowe Bowl so much.

  12. .
    Over the years Belichick has developed a pattern. He’s usually very conservative in the opening round. His first rounders are rarely “sexy”. The picks of Nate Solder, Devon McCourty and Logan Mankins sent no into the streets in celebration. However, in the second round where the financial risk lessens, Belichick is very much the gambler. He likes to look for diamonds in the rough.
    .

  13. laces out says:
    November 2, 2017 at 10:17 am
    You should probably compare that against the other teams’ histories with 2nd rounders before making conclusions. It’s probably not much different.

    Pittsburgh
    2001 Kendrell Bell
    2002 Antwaan Randle El
    2003 Alonzo Jackson
    2004 Ricardo Colclough
    2005 Bryant McFadden
    2007 LaMarr Woodley
    2008 Limas Sweed
    2010 Jason Worilds
    2011 Marcus Gilbert
    2012 Mike Adams
    2013 Le’Veon Bell
    2014 Stephon Tuitt
    2015 Senquez Golson
    2016 Sean Davis
    2017 JuJu Smith-Schuster

    It looks very much different to me. in a pool of only 16 players in 17 years; 4 busts, many solid starters and a few pro-bowlers.

  14. Belichick often takes flyers on 2nd rounders. He typically has had more draft picks to work with because of his trading down to get them, and usually has a roster that is so loaded there is no guarantee for any draft pick in any round they’ll make the team.

    He has also found a lot of gems in undrafted FAs, more so than most other teams I think.

    You can criticize BB the GM all you want but only one question matters –

    How many other GMs in the salary cap era have built rosters year after year that got their team to 7 Super Bowls, 11 AFC championships, and the playoffs all but 2 years out of 17 seasons?

    Answer: None

    He’s the best no matter what you want to nit pick at.

  15. I always cringe a bit when he takes a safety or receiver in the second round.
    But his mid round picks are usually on the mark, especially when he targets DE’s or OL. We didn’t get a chance to see Derek Rivers talents on display yet, but Deatrich Wise looks like the real deal. Trey Flowers has certainly produced on the big stage as well. Thuney, Mason, Canon, and Andrews have all earned their stripes.

  16. It’s been said that Belichick the Coach has done amazing considering Belichick the GM is pretty average outside Tahm Braydee.

  17. terripet says:

    November 2, 2017 at 10:49 am

    you mean the dictator Bill is not good at drafting

    0

    2

    And if he coached your team your kids names would be ….William , Billy and Bill…..

  18. Also, legendary BB hater counts the following as whiffs:
    EWIlson(good player for them. SBowl)
    SVereen(huge in SBOWL win over Seattle)
    CDillon(trade.Over 1600 yards and a S Bowl
    JG. I think they handled the situation wrong and there’s more going on here than meets the eye. But, they’re getting back a pk almost a rnd higher than they invested. The usual Borges stuff

  19. You do realize that for the most part these are all championship caliber teams, with established players. That makes it very hard to make a team and also gives the team wiggle room to take chances.

  20. ncfloyd says:
    November 2, 2017 at 10:40 am
    laces out says:
    November 2, 2017 at 10:17 am
    You should probably compare that against the other teams’ histories with 2nd rounders before making conclusions. It’s probably not much different.

    Pittsburgh
    2001 Kendrell Bell
    2002 Antwaan Randle El
    2003 Alonzo Jackson
    2004 Ricardo Colclough
    2005 Bryant McFadden
    2007 LaMarr Woodley
    2008 Limas Sweed
    2010 Jason Worilds
    2011 Marcus Gilbert
    2012 Mike Adams
    2013 Le’Veon Bell
    2014 Stephon Tuitt
    2015 Senquez Golson
    2016 Sean Davis
    2017 JuJu Smith-Schuster

    It looks very much different to me. in a pool of only 16 players in 17 years; 4 busts, many solid starters and a few pro-bowlers.
    ___________________________________________________

    Pittsburgh is definitely above average in the draft. This comparison would make an even greater case for Belichick’s coaching ability, as he does more with less.

  21. The Patriots have a stacked team year in and year out. It’s going to be harder for a draft pick to stick on this team. Plus the Patriots aren’ t sentimental and have no problems cutting a guy even though they already invested a higher pick on them. Besides, look at how many of those players got cut and then resigned on another team.

    Also, the trade for Kony Ealy included the Panthers’ third round pick. They didn’t really trade a second round pick. They moved down 8 spots for him.

  22. Ok lets really take a look at this…

    Gronkowski – 2 time SB winner and sure HOF, an all timer at TE
    Welker – Key part of 2 AFC title teams and sure HOF
    Dillon – Key part of SB 39 team and a possible HOF
    Branch – Key part of 2 SB’s and MVP of SB 39
    Light – Starting LT for 3 SB teams
    Vareen – Caught 11 passes is SB 49 to help key win
    Wilson – Starting safety on 2 SB teams
    Chung – Starting safety on 2 SB teams
    Collins – Starting LB on SB 49 team, spun out for 3rd round pick before FA
    Garopollo – Provided Quality insurance and spun out for 2nd round pick before FA

    This looks like a darn good track record to me!

  23. Pittsburgh is definitely above average in the draft. This comparison would make an even greater case for Belichick’s coaching ability, as he does more with less.

    ——-

    Might say more about Tomlin’s coaching ability.

  24. Well let’s see, since Schneider and Carroll took over in 2010:

    2010 – Golden Tate (Pro Bowler)
    2011 – No pick
    2012 – Bobby Wagner (Pro Bowler)
    2013 – Christine Michael (5-year career)
    2014 – Justin Britt (staring center, about to be a Pro Bowler) Paul Richardson (starting WR)
    2015 – Frank Clark (11.5 sacks, Pro Bowl is just a matter of time)
    2016 – Germain Ifedi (starting RT) Jarran Reed (starting DT)
    2017 – Malik McDowell (head case) Ethan Posic (starting LG)

    So one bust in 9 picks, and he may yet become a player if he can beat his health issues. It’s actually easy to be successful in the 2nd round if you’re good at what you do.

  25. seahawkboymike says:

    November 2, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Well let’s see, since Schneider and Carroll took over in 2010:

    2010 – Golden Tate (Pro Bowler)
    2011 – No pick
    2012 – Bobby Wagner (Pro Bowler)
    2013 – Christine Michael (5-year career)
    2014 – Justin Britt (staring center, about to be a Pro Bowler) Paul Richardson (starting WR)
    2015 – Frank Clark (11.5 sacks, Pro Bowl is just a matter of time)
    2016 – Germain Ifedi (starting RT) Jarran Reed (starting DT)
    2017 – Malik McDowell (head case) Ethan Posic (starting LG)

    So one bust in 9 picks, and he may yet become a player if he can beat his health issues. It’s actually easy to be successful in the 2nd round if you’re good at what you do.

    0

    0

    we can go round and round here…When Carroll took over a Pro Bowl roster filled Patriots 1996 team coming off a Super Bowl with Parcells he ran them into the ground. They were loaded all over from Bledsoe , Sam Gash Curtis Martin Terry Glenn Ben Caotes Ty Law Todd Rucci Chris Slade Ty Law Teddy Bruschi Corwin Brown Adam V…You can have Pete Carroll…

  26. Wow, this is an impressive bit of research. This alone should keep Belichick out of the Hall of Fame. Any football expert will tell you that how you do in the second round of the draft is the most definitive metric of success as a coach.so it’s also proof positive that the Patriots must have used black magic to win all those Super Bowls, AFC Championships and AFC East titles. I smell a Pulitzer for this writer.

  27. Let’s not ignore the agenda on this one, Borges hates the Pats institutionally and , Belichick individually, he has done hatchet jobs after Super Bowl wins. New England’s success puts their own pick at the bottom of the round year after year and Belichick often takes a risk/reward shot with it and he can afford to do it because of the quality of the team he has built. Matt Light was not just a ‘very good’ choice, he was a franchise LT with near HoF credentials. Vollmer was not far behind. Only Borges would rank the Dillon and Welker acquisitions as anything less than outstanding or call Darius Butler’s (9 yrs) and Tavon Wilson’s (6 yrs) careers busts. I could go on but that’s enough to exemplify the bias. Few things make Belichick smile but watching Borges or Goodell fall down a flight of stairs would probably do it.

  28. 345snarkavenue says:
    November 2, 2017 at 10:31 am
    make Belichick look as bad as you want, we don’t care. Us Patriots fans will stick with him and keep smiling.

    28 3 Rate This

    I had to paste this because of the thumbs count.

  29. This guy might be a Pro Bowler, thus guy should be a Pro Bowler(but isn’t), Seahawks are a S Bowl contender(doubt it), yada yada yada.

  30. seahawkboymike says:

    November 2, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Well let’s see, since Schneider and Carroll took over in 2010:

    2010 – Golden Tate (Pro Bowler)
    2011 – No pick
    2012 – Bobby Wagner (Pro Bowler)
    2013 – Christine Michael (5-year career)
    2014 – Justin Britt (staring center, about to be a Pro Bowler) Paul Richardson (starting WR)
    2015 – Frank Clark (11.5 sacks, Pro Bowl is just a matter of time)
    2016 – Germain Ifedi (starting RT) Jarran Reed (starting DT)
    2017 – Malik McDowell (head case) Ethan Posic (starting LG)
    —————————————————————
    2010 – Golden Tate (Detroit Lions Pro Bowler)
    2011 – No pick
    2012 – Bobby Wagner (Pro Bowler)
    2013 – Christine Michael (5-year career as a backup because he isn’t that good)
    2014 – Justin Britt (staring center because he was one of the worst tackles in the league at the position he was drafted) Paul Richardson (starting WR who hasn’t done anything)
    2015 – Frank Clark (Will probably get arrested for more domestic violence before making a pro bowl)
    2016 – Germain Ifedi (starting RT) Jarran Reed (starting DT)
    2017 – Malik McDowell (head case) Ethan Posic (starting LG)

    Fixed that for you 😉

  31. Draft? Forget draft bust. How about pointing out that Bill and Brady can’t win the Super Bowl each year?

    2011 – Lost in the Super Bowl
    2012 – Lost in the AFC title game
    2013 – Lost in the AFC title game
    2014 – Won the Super Bowl
    2015 – Lost in the AFC title game
    2016 – Won the Super Bowl

    I mean c’mon, how pathetic can they be? They only won the SB twice in the last 6 years, lost it once and didn’t even make it to the SB three times. Two out of six? Losers!

    See, you can make anything sound pathetic if you want to. Reminds me of two guys racing each other and when they asked the loser about the results later he said: “It wasn’t even close, I ended up second and he ended up second to last!”

  32. Some great responses above. Don’t also forget that whereas most teams vary year to year, Pats are always at or near the top so most Pats’ 2nd rounders would be closer to the 64th pick than the 33rd. And the same goes for every round, except where Fraudger steals them for the sake of parity.

    But anyway, any conversation about the Pats not being good at something but that “they tend to get the benefit of the doubt because they have five Lombardi Trophies” really needs to stop at that point and reconsider the validity of the criticism.

  33. footballmaven says:
    November 2, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Would anyone expect, say, Mike Reiss to ever point this out?…no, of course it’s Borges.. but of course he’s damn right.BB’s draft record, and lack of it (referring to the two 1st rd picks lost because of his screwing around with the league) stinks…just another example of how his coaching ability, and Brady cover up for a lot of his mistakes.

    —————————————————————-
    Written by a relative of Borges, no doubt.
    Seriously real New England fans know the following:
    1. Borges has an axe to grind with Belicheck, therefore he is not objective.
    2. Borges had his mole removed from the Patriots locker room when Bledsoe was traded to the Bills.
    3. Borges football knowledge is limited at best (I’m being kind here)

  34. seahawkboymike says:
    November 2, 2017 at 11:50 am
    Well let’s see, since Schneider and Carroll took over in 2010:

    2010 – Golden Tate (Pro Bowler)
    2011 – No pick
    2012 – Bobby Wagner (Pro Bowler)
    2013 – Christine Michael (5-year career)
    2014 – Justin Britt (staring center, about to be a Pro Bowler) Paul Richardson (starting WR)
    2015 – Frank Clark (11.5 sacks, Pro Bowl is just a matter of time)
    2016 – Germain Ifedi (starting RT) Jarran Reed (starting DT)
    2017 – Malik McDowell (head case) Ethan Posic (starting LG)

    So one bust in 9 picks, and he may yet become a player if he can beat his health issues. It’s actually easy to be successful in the 2nd round if you’re good at what you do.

    1 10 Rate This

    —————–

    I would say Seattle has done a very good job in the NFC and is certainly in the discussion, but one other aspect of being a good GM is money management/cap allocation dollars, to which positions, etc.

    Your team has lost a ton of good players in recent years, got old really quick, and is paying two Safeties, way too much money.

    You’ll be re-building after this year whether you realize that or not, and BB doesn’t re-build. He’s never lost cap control or had to completely rebuild. The re-tooling of 2009/2010, hit some bumps a bit, but overall you cannot argue with how serious he’s takes the rookie cap, loads up on picks and hits a lot more than he misses.

    Lastly, BB doesn’t waste his time with primadonnas, which a lot of higher draft picks are coming out of the NCAA.

    9/10, he nails the 1st rder with a somewhat safe, conservative pick, but after that, it’s a crapshoot, just like it is all for ALL GMs.

    The Pats get held to an irrationally high standard by everyone, including cheating Goodell, the media and apparent jealous fans of our team, but the facts are the facts.

    Since 2010, no team has had better yields in and out of the Lockout.

  35. dsigrey says:
    November 2, 2017 at 11:11 am
    You do realize that for the most part these are all championship caliber teams, with established players. That makes it very hard to make a team and also gives the team wiggle room to take chances.

    14 1 Rate This

    ————-

    Another good point. BB doesn’t care where you were drafted, what your name is, or what you did in college. He’ll also quickly admit a mistake to fix it.

    All great traits I want in my GM and Coach.

    Plain and simple.

  36. Pittsburgh is definitely above average in the draft. This comparison would make an even greater case for Belichick’s coaching ability, as he does more with less.

    25 1 Rate This

    ———————-

    Not by much….They have really struggled developing LBs and players in the secondary. You’ll see that when NE plays them again this year.

    It will show up right there on your tv screen just how overrated Colbert has been.

  37. Actually, this makes the Patriots look better. The fact that they almost doubled their 2nd rd choices gives them strength in numbers. They don’t have to hit on every one, plus the team has been a contender for years, so you are drafting the best player available, and they still may not get a chance to see the field.

  38. And even the Chung pick requires an asterisk, because Chung 1.0 with the Patriots was terrible and he was allowed to leave as a free agent. A year later Belichick admitted that the first iteration of Chung in New England was his (BB’s) fault, because he used him in a role Chung was not fit to play (more of a coverage guy, like McCourty). When Belichick brought him back he turned him into a down in the box safety and Chung has turned into one of the better safeties in the NFL; not the biggest hitter, but a very reliable tackler and a good leader.

    So in short a bad pick, but an excellent free agent signing a few years later.

  39. “By any measure, that’s a lot more misses than hits, which makes the risk the Patriots took twofold.“

    So 13 of 26 is a lot more misses than hits? Seems like 50/50 to me, which means even. When you factor in Spikes, who, you called a bust, but was definitely not, and even Bethel Johnson had multiple key plays on their way to a Super Bowl. Both became dinks, but they were not busts.

  40. matt14gg says:
    November 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm
    And even the Chung pick requires an asterisk, because Chung 1.0 with the Patriots was terrible and he was allowed to leave as a free agent. A year later Belichick admitted that the first iteration of Chung in New England was his (BB’s) fault, because he used him in a role Chung was not fit to play (more of a coverage guy, like McCourty). When Belichick brought him back he turned him into a down in the box safety and Chung has turned into one of the better safeties in the NFL; not the biggest hitter, but a very reliable tackler and a good leader.

    So in short a bad pick, but an excellent free agent signing a few years later.

    0 1 Rate This

    ————–

    False.

    BB even admitted he used him wrong when Chung was there, but it was out of necessity on the front end of them rebuilding on the fly in 2010/2011. In fact, you just literally said it yourself. Chung is one of the better Rover players in the league right now and has been since returning.

    Not Chung’s fault nor was it anyone’s that he was playing past his range, as BB was going young and using the rookie cap of 2011 to his advantage.

    The 2009 draft was awesome overall as was the overall new player yield:

    Edelman, Chung, Vollmer, Wendell, Hoyer, etc.

    Very solid assortment of young players who helped get to and win 2 SBs out of 3.

  41. Ron Borges has a checkered record. He was always a players guy, and attacked Belichick for benching Bledsoe and going with Brady. Borges penchant for veteran players makes me think that the only coach he loved was George Allen.

    That said, I have not been a fan of the Pats trading down into the second round because their history in round one versus the second round is dramatic. The difference here is that the SF pick should be at the very top of the second round.

  42. One other point about Belichick. He almost never keeps a guy just because he drafted him like virtually every GM in the NFL does. If you can’t play or are not worth your salary its”chow baby”. He’s not looking to save face. He constantly talks about “good value” which translates into on-field performance at a reasonable price.

  43. “He almost never keeps a guy just because he drafted him…”

    The importance of this cannot be overstated. You’d think that there would be enough guys in all of the various front offices that understand the concept of sunk cost, but no one else gives evidence of it the way that Belichick does.

    Just look at Kony Ealy – they didn’t draft him, but traded a draft pick for him, and when the decided that he wasn’t going to work out, they cut him before he’d played a single game. There’s no other team that you could trust to, having determined that he wasn’t right for the roster, make the cut that quickly. He looked at the roster, decided that an undrafted guy was a better potential Patriot, and cut the veteran he’s traded a second for. Whether it was the right decision from a talent point of view is a different question, of course, but the ability to make that decision is a big part of what has separated the Patriots from the rest of the league.

  44. There’s an assumption that the Patriots will keep the pick as they also like to trade back for multiple late round picks which they’ve has more success doing.

  45. Brandon Spikes was an outright bust? Clearly he was not the greatest NFL player but bust? He was selected with the 62nd pick. according to pro-football reference there are 27 players ranked ahead of him in approximate value that were selected after him and 22 players ranked behind him that were selected before him. He had a seven year pro career. He was the 8th selected LB in the draft and ranked as the 8th best linebacker in approximate value from that draft.

    Absolute bust? maybe in a vacuum but not in a weighted comparison.

  46. Brandon Spikes was a good late second round pick. He played numerous years for NE as a run stuffing linebacker and maybe one of the best of those in the NFL.

    Kony Ealy was a trade down of 8 spots. That’s not the same as using a 2nd rounder on him. (NE got a 3rd round pick back)

    But the rest I complete agree on.

  47. wib22 says:
    November 3, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Good ol’ belicheat where you miss on most of your picks
    ———————————————————————————————————————————–
    If he “misses on most of his picks”, and still has won 5 SBs, I guess he’s an even greater coach than any of us thought.

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