The whole history of the Patriots’ top 5 picks in the NFL Draft

The whole history of the Patriots’ top 5 picks in the NFL Draft

In April, a whole new generation of New England Patriots supporters will feel what it was like to see their team selected among the top five for the first time.

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Patriots hold the third overall pick, and if they don’t trade it, it will be their first top five selection since 1994.

The Patriots had only eight top-five picks in the common draft era (1967 to the present), despite having few strong teams in the four decades until Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady joined the team in 2000.

The Patriots performed well on multiple of these picks and even acquired a couple Hall of Fame players over that time, despite not having any top-five selections.

This is a summary of all five Patriots draft picks during the common draft era.

Pick 4th in 1994: USC LB Willie McGinest

This is among the best Patriots selections ever. McGinest, a superb pass rusher, was an integral member of three Patriots Super Bowl winning teams (2001, 2003, 2004). His 16 playoff sacks remain a league high. From 1994 to 2005, McGinest was a player in New England. He retired following the 2008 season. 2015 saw his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

In Week 13 of the 2003 season, he produced the most iconic Patriots play when he and the team overcame Peyton Manning and the Colts with a last-second goal-line stand. Among the best games played throughout the regular season in team history.

Pick 1st in 1993: Drew Bledsoe, quarterback, Washington State

After the Patriots had won only nine games in the three prior seasons combined, Bledsoe helped the team turn into a viable contender. In 1996, he had a part in leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl XXXI, where they were defeated by Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

In Week 2 of 2001, Bledsoe had a chest injury against the New York Jets, which ultimately cost him his starting job to Tom Brady. Despite never winning a Super Bowl as New England’s starting quarterback, his outstanding performance in the 2001 AFC Championship Game as Brady’s replacement for an injured player was crucial to the team’s first championship run.

1984, No. 1 pick: Irving Fryar, WR, Nebraska

Fryer is the only wide receiver the Patriots have ever selected in their top five. He played in New England from 1984 to 1992, totaling 5,726 yards and 38 touchdowns in 129 games. Friar has gotten even better since leaving the Patriots. He had two 1,000-yard seasons with both the Dolphins and Eagles before retiring after the 2000 season.

1982, No. 1 pick: Kenneth Sims, DE, Texas

Sims was a vital member of the 1985 defense that helped the team win its first Super Bowl trip, and he placed fifth in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. However, Sims was unable to play in that Super Bowl defeat by the Chicago Bears due to a broken leg suffered during the regular season.

following playing 15 games, Sims retired following the 1989 season, having played just three in 1986 and one in 1988. He was a member of the Patriots for his whole eight-year career. The College Football Hall of Fame includes him among its members.

1976, No. 5 Pick: Mike Haynes, Cornerback, Arizona State University

Haynes was an excellent cornerback and punt returner who made nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. He won the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. To.

Haynes signed with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1983, and in a 38-9 victory over the Washington Commanders, he contributed one interception and two pass breakups to the team’s Super Bowl XVIII victory.

1973, 4th pick: John Hanna, guard, Alabama

Hanna is the best guard of all time and perhaps the best offensive lineman in league history. Many experts consider Hanna to be the second-best player in Patriots history, behind Tom Brady. Hanna was named to 10 All-Pro teams (seven first teams) and nine Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

There aren’t many, if any, better Patriots draft picks.

1971 1st pick: Jim Plunkett, QB, Stanford

Despite having some excellent moments as a highly rated Stanford prospect, Plunkett’s stint with the Patriots was marked by a 23-38 record, which belied the team’s actual performance. He played in just five games in 1975 due to a shoulder injury, which prompted Steve Grogan to take on the starting quarterback role.

In the next offseason, Plunkett was dealt to the 49ers. After a while, he signed an agreement with the Los Angeles Raiders, where he started at QB for two of their title teams. Plus, he was named MVP of Super Bowl XV.

1970, 4th pick: Phil Olsen, DT, Utah State

Unfortunately, Olsen never played for the Patriots. He injured his knee during the 1970 College All-Star Game, a few months after being drafted by New England. In 1971, he finally signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Rams. In return, the Patriots received a first-round draft pick in 1972.

Olsen played only six seasons in the NFL, his last with the Broncos in Denver in 1976.

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