Patriots

Patriots

The Patriots have been on a tear over the last few years, appearing in four of the last five Super Bowls and winning three of them.

However, the Patriots have also had their fair share of personnel issues, from bad trades to draft picks that didn't pan out to a lack of depth at key positions.

As the football great John Madden put it, "Winning is the great deodorant."

In other words, the Patriots' success has masked a lot of these perceived personnel issues.

As free agency looms, the NFL draft inches closer and the Patriots face crucial decisions at several positions, let's examine how successful New England has been at drafting talent, specifically at one position that presented problems during the 2018 campaign: wide receiver.

Dating to 2010, the Patriots have drafted a total of eight wide receivers, only two of which ended up playing meaningful football for the team.

The list is comprised of:

  • Braxton Berrios
  • Devin Lucien
  • Malcolm Mitchell
  • Jeremy Gallon
  • Aaron Dobson
  • Josh Boyce
  • Jeremy Ebert
  • Taylor Price

Only Mitchell, whom the Patriots drafted in 2016 despite his college injury history and played just one full season in New England, and Dobson, who played three seasons with the Patriots from 2013 to 2015, were factors for the team.

The rest were either lost to injury, cut before the season began, were benchwarmers on the practice squad, or didn't play.

This would mean that every other Patriots receiver during this second dynasty was signed as a free agent or traded after being scouted and drafted by a different team.

This underscores the Patriots' difficulties in recent years to identify durable talent at the wide receiver position.

 

Part of this is by design, as New England has taken low-cost fliers on players like Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon. And with the amount of success the Patriots have enjoyed, it's hard to argue with that strategy.

But if the Pats hope to keep winning at the same rate in the years to come, they will need to have an answer for their personnel issues, which have created problems for the team in the last couple of seasons.

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