New England Patriots: Don’t Expect a Wide Receiver in Round 1 of NFL Draft


Aside from “Man, it’s cold outside!”, the most common thing you might hear from Patriots fans this time of year is “We need to go out and get Tom Brady some offensive weapons!” As consistent as a Five Guys burger, and as predictable as a Gronk spike, no matter how successful the Patriots are, the first response to the draft and free agency from a decent-sized chunk of New England fans is to get a playmaker on offense, a big target, a red-zone threat, a true number one receiver, a Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and now I have a headache.

If New England does target a wide receiver in the 2015 draft, it’s not happening in the first round. Not where the receivers couch jockeys salivate over like Amari Cooper (Alabama), Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma), Kevin White (West Virginia), or Devante Parker (Louisville) reside, and are likely to be taken before the Patriots are even on the clock.

There’s certainly still some intriguing receiving options after the big guns come off the board, too, especially by the time pick 32 rolls around. The Patriots’ own Andy Hart bangs off names like Michigan’s Devin Funchess, Ohio State’s Devin Smith, and Miami’s Phillip Dorsett as potential guys that might fall to the second round because this year’s draft is so top-heavy with receivers. If any of those gentlemen can see the Matrix and pick up New England’s famously complex offense, they could terrify the AFC for years to come.

But the simple truth is, guess how many times in Bill Belichick’s tenure in Foxboro the Patriots selected a wide receiver in the first round?

Zero. Since the year 2000.

Technically, not since 1996, with the Terry Glenn pick, but that was before Belichick replaced Pete Carroll as head coach.

The amusing part (well, amusing to some people, anyway) is that Belichick has targeted almost every other position in the first round except wide receiver. Educate yo’ self:

Patriots First-Round Draft Picks Since 2000.

2000: Patriots didn’t have a first-round pick.

2001: Richard Seymour (Defensive Tackle)

2002: Daniel Graham (Tight End)

2003: Ty Warren (Defensive Tackle)

2004: Vince Wilfork (Defensive Tackle) and Benjamin Watson (Tight end)

Zoinks, Scooby, I think we’ve got a pattern here!

2005: Logan Mankins (Offensive guard)

2006: Laurence Maroney (Running back)

2007: Brandon Meriweather (Safety)

2008: Jerod Mayo (Linebacker)

2009: Patriots didn’t have a first-round pick.

2010: Devin McCourty (Cornerback)

2011: Nate Solder (Offensive Tackle)

2012: Chandler Jones (Defensive end), and Dont’a Hightower (Linebacker)

2013: Patriots didn’t have a first-round pick.

2014: Dominique Easley (Defensive Tackle)

That’s pretty telling.

If anything, drafting in the Belichick era has shown that football is, in fact, won in the trenches, and if either the offensive line or defensive line can’t be a brick wall when they need to be, the whole team will fail. Or, as former Pats linebacker Matt Chatham phrased it on his superb “Football by Football” blog, which you all must and should read if you like being smart, “OFFENSIVE LINEMEN ARE WEAPONZ FOR A QUARTERBACK! I’m sorry for yelling (not really).”

So, in that spirit, look for the Patriots to hit the draft this year and…get Brady some weapons.