The Patriots lost their 1st round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft following Spygate, but they had already acquired the No. 10 overall pick from New Orleans and they used it to select the only player I consider a very good pick in this draft class. For these later draft classes I’m going to put a rating on each pick that takes into account the player’s performance compared with where he was selected.
- 1st Round – 10th Selection – Jerod Mayo, Linebacker, Tennessee. Mayo had an outstanding rookie year, and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. In off-season interviews he emphasised his desire to become more of a playmaker in his second season. Besides upping his sack numbers from 0 to 1.5, there was very little evidence of this, but he considered to be one of the most reliable players on the defense. He still needs to make more plays, but he’s a very good player. 4/5
- 2nd Round – 62nd Selection – Terrence Wheatley, Cornerback, Colorado. Wheatley has been a pretty big disappointment for me. 4 tackles and 2 pass deflections in two seasons is hugely disappointing production for a 2nd round pick. Wheatley has never shown me anything to make me think he can be a starter and hopefully we won’t see him ever starting for the Patriots as it would have to take a massive injury crisis for me to play him. 1/5
- 3rd Round – 78th Selection – Shawn Crable, Linebacker, Michigan. Another disappointing pick, Crable has been plagued by injuries and never seen the field in the NFL. Neither he or the Pats can really be blamed for his injuries but surely he only has one more year to prove he can stay healthy and produce something. 2/5
- 3rd Round – 94th Selection – Kevin O’Connell, Quarterback, San Diego State. Many were surprised, including myself, that the Patriots took a quarterback this high in the draft but I liked O’Connell in college. Unfortunately, he clearly never showed enough to the coaching staff, as he was waived just before the 2009 season began, claimed by the Lions and traded to the Jets. Not what you look from in the development of a QB. 1/5
- 4th Round – 129th Selection – Jonathan Wilhite, Cornerback, Auburn. Wilhite has performed a lot better than Wheatley despite his lower draft spot. He has been pretty solid as a No. 2 corner in my opinion, and I’d certainly keep him on the roster, although the Pats need to get better at CB in general. Only 3 career picks so far but he’s been fairly solid, not a liability by any means. 3/5
- 5th Round – 153rd Selection – Matthew Slater, Wide Receiver, UCLA. I hate to say it, as Slater seems like a great person by all accounts in interviews, but he’s done nothing for the Patriots in my opinion. He’s not a viable receiving option, and as a kick returner he’s been OK at best, more often having the ball bounce off him than catching it and returning it well. I would have cut him last year or at least put him on IR when he got injured. Something keeps him around but I don’t know what it is. I’m giving 2 just because he has contributed something on special teams and he was a late round pick. 2/5
- 6th Round – 197th Selection – Bo Ruud, Linebacker, Nebraska. Spent his rookie season on IR, and has since been waived 3 times and is out of a job. 1/5
Overall the 2008 draft class looks very disappointing to me. Only Mayo and Wilhite are good players in my opinion, and Mayo is the only one with the potential to be great for the team for years to come. I hope the 2010 draft class doesn’t look like this in two years.