Torry Holt

Patriots have a history of taking chances on receivers drafted in first round

Patriots have a history of taking chances on receivers drafted in first round

The New England Patriots haven't drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1996, but the signing of Corey Coleman marks the 13th time New England has brought in a former first-round wideout in that timespan. The receivers have been a mix of veterans, underachievers, and top end talents.

THESE MOVES WORKED

  • 2007-2010: Randy Moss (1998, 21st pick, MIN) - The Hall of Famer is by far the best receiver to land with the Pats. In 2007, he set the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season with 23. In each of his three seasons in New England, he posted 1,000+ yards.
  • 2007, 2012: Donte Stallworth (2002, 13th pick, NO) - Stallworth was productive in 2007, catching 46 throws for 697 yards and three touchdowns. He had just one catch in 2012.
  • 2017: Brandin Cooks (2014, 20th pick, NO) - Cooks was the best deep threat the Patriots had since Randy Moss. Last year, he logged his third 1,000-yard campaign in just his fourth pro season. The St. Louis Rams acquired him for a first and a sixth rounder last offseason.

THESE DIDN'T

  • 2017: Kenny Britt (2009, 30th pick, TEN) - The Patriots acquired Britt last season but his playing time was limited while he learned the playbook. A preseason injury led to his release this summer.
  • 2016: Michael Floyd (2012, 13th pick, ARI) - The Patriots took a flyer on Floyd after a DUI suspension with the Vikings. The former 1,000-yard receiver played in just two games and caught four passes.
  • 2005: David Terrell (2001, 8th pick, SEA) - Terrell blamed bad quarterbacks for his underwhelming four years in Chicago, but even Tom Brady couldn't help him. He never appeared in a game with New England.

COULDN'T BEAT FATHER TIME

  • 2003: J.J. Stokes (1995, 10th pick, SF) - New England was the final stop in Stokes' career. He had just two catches in two games.
  • 2009: Joey Galloway (1995, 8th pick, SEA) - Galloway was 38 when he came to the Patriots and it showed. Over the span of three games, he had just seven catches.
  • 2010: Torry Holt (1999, 6th pick, STL) - An injury led to Holt's release before he could play a snap. He never played in another NFL game.
  • 2015: Reggie Wayne (2001, 30th pick, IND) - New England brought in Wayne, but it wasn't a good fit to say the least. Wayne asked for release due to a work environment that a source close to him said was "too tough" and "not fun."

THE JURY'S STILL OUT ON . . . 

  • 2018: Corey Coleman (2016, 15th pick, CLE) - Coleman had 56 receptions and 718 yards in his first two years with the Browns before asking for a trade this summer. The Buffalo Bills later released him. The Pats are taking a chance on the talented but underachieving receiver.
  • 2018: Phillip Dorsett (2015, 29th pick, IND) - Dorsett had limited production in 15 games last season, but got off to a nice start this year with 7 catches, 66 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. His first-round talent was evident and he could prove a very nice piece this season.
  • 2018: Cordarrelle Patterson (2013, 29th pick, MIN) - Patterson is a solid receiver, but his real value is in his returning. He had five touchdown returns in his first five seasons, which included two Pro Bowl appearances.

 

Brady may be a 'systems' QB, but the system is all his

Brady may be a 'systems' QB, but the system is all his

HOUSTON -- Tom Brady's career, at this point, is virtually unassailable. Even if the Patriots fail to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, Brady holds records for most playoff starts, most playoff completions, most Super Bowl appearances, and he's tied for the most Super Bowl titles as a quarterback.

SUPER BOWL LI: FRIDAY REPORT

Those who once banged the drum that Bill Belichick has made Brady's career into what it is have to acknowledge that the 17-year veteran is among the two or three best of all time to play his position -- if not the best.

One of the the final flimsy attempts for those who insist on denigrating Brady is to call him a "system quarterback," but even that's worth little more than a dismissive chuckle. It implies that the scheme, the brainpower behind Brady's weekly offensive plans, is the sole reason for his success.

While that assumption ignores his individual skill set -- his accuracy, durability, ability to process information pre and post-snap, his unfailing effort throughout the calendar year to ensure that he's as prepared as humanly possible -- it also contradicts itself in its attempt to take away from Brady.

Why? Brady is as responsible for the Patriots system as anyone. It's his.

Over the course of his 16 seasons as a starter, the Patriots offense has been molded to him and he's had a say in the direction things have gone. Plays he likes, concepts he thinks will work, those stay. Others hit the cutting-room floor. After more than a decade-and-a-half, the offense is as much his own as anyone else's.

“I think I’ve been called a lot of things as a quarterback,” he said. “I think every quarterback has some type of system that they’re in and sometimes those systems change.

“So much about being successful as a team is doing the things that you do well. Our coaches, they know what I do well. They know the things I don’t do well. Every player has strengths and weaknesses and you’re not going to focus on the weaknesses and go out there and go, ‘Let’s run a bunch of these plays that will have a low level of success.’ "

Torry Holt competed against Brady as a member of the Rams and with him in 2010 for a few months before a knee injury ended his career. After seeing it up close, he reveres the system.

"It's just funny to me," Holt said, reacting to the notion of Brady as a system quarterback. "I think Brady's done a hell of a job of mastering their system. I think they bring guys in that fit their system, and there's nothing wrong with that. You could be a system game for 15 years as long as you're winning and you're getting your team to Super Bowls, I'm cool with that. I don't have a problem with that.

"The trust that they have within their offense, and it all starts with Tom. If he doesn't trust you, he doesn't [expletive] with you. You're not getting the ball. Those guys understand that so they go out, they prepare, they work hard, they're very studious.

"I had an opportunity to work with him, had a chance to sit in the film room with those guys and watch them watch tape, go through the game plan, prepare and get ready for practice. Everybody was taking notes. Everybody was asking questions. Everybody was very in tune with what they're doing offensively. I think that's a true testament to their squad. That's a true testament to Tom. If Tom's leading, if he's setting the tempo, then everybody else falls in place."

It's a system that any of the 31 other franchises in the NFL would kill for.