Ranking the Patriots Last 10 First-Round Picks, Worst to Best

Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a
Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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On April 25, the 2024 NFL Draft will commence in Detroit. After a dreadful 4-13 campaign and seismic offseason changes, the New England Patriots will be third on the clock with the opportunity to reset the course of the franchise.

New England's draft will be the first in over two decades without Bill Belichick, the long-time Patriots czar who parted ways with the team on Jan. 11. Belichick's draft history has been heavily criticized, of the 10 players on this list, the Patriots extended only one player to a second contract.

Another Bill Belichick special was to trade down out of the first round in exchange for additional draft picks, something that he did in both 2013 and 2020. Belichick also traded the team's first rounder for wide receiver Brandin Cooks in 2017, and the franchise was forced to forfeit its 2016 first round pick as punishment for the Deflategate scandal. When all was said and done, the Patriots did not draft in the first round in 2013, 2016, 2017, or 2020.

Eliot Wolf, who officially holds the title of director of scouting with the Patriots, has inherited the primary draft day duties. Wolf has functioned as the de facto general manager in Foxborough following Belichick's removal from the throne.

For much of the last decade, New England also enjoyed sustained success and deep playoff runs. With that sustained success came later draft picks, where premium talent and "sure things" are typically harder to come by. The highest draft pick on this list was Mac Jones, who was selected 15th overall, while half of the players on this list were taken between the 29th and 32nd overall picks.

With New England's upcoming third overall pick set to chart the course of the franchise, let's take a look back on the Patriots last 10 first round selections.

10. Dominique Easley

If your first reaction was "who?", that is the correct response to Dominique Easley's pro career with the New England Patriots. The 29th overall pick in 2014 out of Florida, Easley only spent two seasons in Foxborough. The defensive tackle was released following the 2015 season after recording only three sacks and 25 tackles in his two campaigns.

Easley's production was curtailed by injuries, as he was placed on injured reserve in each of his Patriot seasons. There were questions about Easley's ability to stay healthy before he was even drafted. He tore his ACL twice during his collegiate career, including during his senior season heading into the draft. Bill Belichick's gamble to take the former Gator despite his injury history turned some heads at the time, and clearly backfired in hindsight.

Easley was supposed to be the successor to New England legend Vince Wilfork, but instead the Patriots spent a first-rounder on an injury-prone bust who missed 10 games across those two years.

Following his release from New England, Easley spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.