With the 2010 NFL Draft just 11 days away, I’ve decided that in that time I will do some short reviews of recent draft classes, evaluating the players that were selected by the Patriots. The logical place to start – last year’s draft class:
New England Patriots’ 2009 Draft Class:
- 2nd Round – 34th Selection – Patrick Chung, Safety, Oregon. Chung was mostly a backup in his rookie season, but played in all 16 games, recording 37 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 interception. He showed potential but will look to become more of a contributor in his 2nd season. Looks like a pretty good pick so far.
- 2nd Round – 40th Selection – Ron Brace, Defensive Tackle, Boston College. Brace was a disappointment in his rookie season. Often inactive, he only played 9 games, and notched up 8 tackles. Brace will need to improve significantly if this pick is to be regarded as anything other than a bust.
- 2nd Round – 41st Selection – Darius Butler, Cornerback, Conneticut. Butler had a pretty solid rookie year, starting in 5 of his 14 active games and getting 35 tackles, 8 pass deflections and 3 interceptions. Looks a lot better of a pick than Brace who went the pick before. He looks to be a good contributor in the Pats’ secondary in the future. A good pick.
- 2nd Round – 58th Selection – Sebastian Vollmer, Offensive Tackle, Houston. Vollmer was one of the shining lights of this draft class in his rookie year. Playing 14 games and starting 8 of those, he was very impressive at both left and right tackle. Looks like he could be the team’s LT of the future. Looks like a great pick so far.
- 3rd Round – 83rd Selection – Brandon Tate, Wide Receiver, North Carolina. Tate was a risky selection by the Pats, given that he was injured in his last season at college and couldn’t play until week 7. He suffered another injury two weeks later. He didn’t manage a single reception, but had 106 return yards and 11 rushing yards. Overall, it’s difficult to judge Tate at this point. He had a lot of talent coming out of college and would have gone higher but for the injury. Hopefully he can come back and have a good year in 2010, as the Patriots will need all the help they can get at WR as things currently stand. Not looking like a great pick yet, and WR Mike Wallace was drafted by the Steelers at 84 and he was a 3 times rookie of the week.
- 3rd Round – 97th Selection – Tyrone McKenzie, Linebacker, South Florida. Tyrone McKenzie was a player I really liked at South Florida, but unfortunately he suffered a torn ACL during rookie mini camp. 2010 will be his first chance to make an impact.
- 4th Round – 123rd Selection – Rich Ohrnberger, Offensive Guard, Penn State. Ohrnberger didn’t have a huge roll in his rookie year, only active for 3 games while Stephen Neal was injured. Too early to judge him yet.
- 5th Round – 170th Selection – George Bussey, Offensive Guard, Louisville. Bussey suffered a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve in week 5. He could play a role as a backup in 2010.
- 6th Round – 198th Selection – Jake Ingram, Long Snapper, Hawaii. Ingram beat out Nathan Hodel for the long snapper job and he hasn’t grabbed any attention since, and you never want your long snapper to be noticed as that means he made a mistake. Solid pick for a 6th round guy.
- 6th Round – 207th Selection – Myron Pryor, Defensive Tackle, Kentucky. Pryor made a pretty big impact for a 6th round pick in his rookie season. He played in 13 games, recording 20 tackles and 1 forced fumble. He had a much bigger role than 2nd round pick Ron Brace, which is as much a positive for Pryor as it is a negative for Brace. Good pick late in the draft.
- 7th Round – 232nd Selection – Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver, Kent State. Edelman was a quarterback at Kent State, and the Patriots took a gamble on him. Worth a 7th round pick, they decided to see what he could do as an athlete and possibly a wildcat QB. He was converted to WR in the end, and had a pretty significant role in the offense when Wes Welker was injured. He ended the season with 37 receptions and also returned kicks. He may need to step into Welker’s shoes again early in the 2010 season while Welker recovers from his ACL and MCLtears. Edelman looks a great pick so far.
- 7th Round – 234th Selection – Darryl Richard, Defensive Tackle, Georgia Tech. Richard is on the practice squad, and looks like he may have to wait to get a chance with the Patriots, if he ever does.
So, the Patriots made 12 selections in 2009 and all 12 are still with the team in some way. That in itself is pretty impressive, and that looks encouraging as the Pats prepare for the 2010 NFL Draft with 12 picks currently. Brace looks like a bad pick, but the rest are solid for their round at the worst. Edelman and Pryor have both been very impressive given the round they were selected in.