Bill Belichick and the Drafting of Wide Receivers

BaseballJones

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Here's the complete list of wide receivers that BB has drafted with the Patriots.

2002 - 2nd round (65) - Deion Branch
2002 - 7th round (253) - David Givens
2003 - 2nd round (45) - Bethel Johnson
2004 - 5th round (164) - PK Sam
2006 - 2nd round (36) - Chad Jackson
2008 - 5th round (153) - Matthew Slater - officially a WR but he was drafted to be a special teams ace
2009 - 3rd round (83) - Brandon Tate
2009 - 7th round (232) - Julian Edelman - officially a QB in college but he was drafted to be a WR
2010 - 3rd round (90) - Taylor Price
2012 - 7th round (235) - Jeremy Ebert
2013 - 2nd round (59) - Aaron Dobson
2013 - 4th round (102) - Josh Boyce
2014 - 7th round (244) - Jeremy Gallon
2016 - 4th round (112) - Malcolm Mitchell
2016 - 7th round (225) - Devin Lucien
2018 - 6th round (210) - Braxton Berrios
2019 - 1st round (32) - N'Keal Harry
2021 - 7th round (242) - Tre Nixon

(edited to add Dobson and Mitchell...thanks for the corrections!)

Now of this list, here are the guys that have had terrific NFL careers:
- Branch
- Edelman
- Slater (though not as a WR)

Here are the guys that made solid contributions during their time in the NFL:
- Givens
- Johnson (though mainly as a KR)
- Tate (long NFL career with several teams, solid KR guy too)
- Berrios (83 rec, 825 yds, 5 td the last two seasons; you could do a lot worse than this for a #3 or #4 receiver)

Here are the guys that it's too early to tell, but don't look like they're going to be major contributors:
- Harry
- Nixon

Here are the guys that did virtually nothing in the NFL:
- Sam
- Jackson
- Price
- Ebert
- Boyce
- Gallon
- Lucien

Here are the guys that started out pretty solid but injuries killed their careers:
- Dobson - hate to put him here because he was decent in his first season, but after that did basically nothing
- Mitchell - solid contributor to the 2016 Super Bowl team, but injuries ended things for him pretty quickly

So 7 of the 18 WRs he's drafted have either had terrific NFL careers, or at least have made solid contributions in the NFL. 2 of the 18 got off to terrific starts and then injuries sunk their careers. If either Harry or Nixon end up working out (and I'd suspect that Harry will continue to get chances as he's a fabulous and willing blocker who at least occasionally flashes some brilliance as a WR), then that's half of the 18 WRs he's drafted as Pats HC that will have been productive picks. And most of these picks, of course, have been later round selections. 10 of the 18 have been 4th round or later.


So....... BB is sitting there at #21 and has the option of taking Pickens (Georgia), Metchie (Alabama), Williams (Alabama), London (USC), Wilson (Ohio State), or Burks (Arkansas). Or he could pick another position. Do you want him taking one of these WRs, and if so, do you have the confidence that he'll pick a good one?
 
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dcdrew10

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Missing Aaron Dobson, second round pick 2013. The draft is a crap shoot and BB doesn't have a great track record on drafting big and/or fast WR early, so I think going OL might be a safer bet. Though if Williams passes medical check and is available at 21 he might be worth the roll of the dice.
 

lexrageorge

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Dobson had a decent rookie season, but then battled injuries which eventually ended his career after 3 seasons.

Malcolm Mitchell was drafted 4th round in 2016. Another promising rookie done in by injury.
 

IdiotKicker

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Missing Malcolm Mitchell as well, who was at an incredibly high level by the end of his rookie year (his SB was ridiculous). Huge shame because he would have been a meaningful asset the last 5 years.
 

E5 Yaz

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BaseballJones

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BusRaker

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I would have to compare it to other team's picks to draw any conclusion. In 20 years we get ~140 picks (probable a handful more). Wide receivers occupy roughly 10% of the roster so using 18 of 140 picks is within reason, especially considering the average pick used was the 143rd in a 7 round draft.

I don't think any of the other GMs are hitting home runs every year, but it seems to me that they have been better at finding superstars in the draft where we had to sign Moss and Welks out of free agency (edit: or trade)
 

Cellar-Door

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I think for the question of taking a WR early, it's probably better to focus on his early round WR record in terms of hits versus the tier (I'm being pretty generous with tier meaning basically the next 30 or so picks)
2002- Branch in the late 2nd, last of that tier, next WR taken in 2002 was in the late 3rd, no notable WRs passed on (reasonable to have taken)
2003- Bethel Johnson in the mid 2nd (50 games 600 yards 4 seasons), WRs taken in the next round or so: Anquan Boldin, Kelley Washington, Nate Burleson, Kevin Curtis. So we probably took the worst of that tier.
2006- Chad Jackson early 2nd 9 (18 games 171 yards over 3 seasons), tier was.. Sincorice Moss and Greg Jennings, we took the worst, but only 1 of the 3 was a good NFL player
2013- Aaron Dobson 24 games 698 yards over 3 seasons (note he was mediocre as a rookie before injuries essentially ended his career), tier was Terrance Williams, Keenan Allen, Marquise Goodwin. would probably say Dobson was in a fight for 3/4 with Goodwin.
2019- N'Keal Harry- late 1st (33 games 598 yards in 3 years so far), tier was Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, Mecole Hardman, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Parris Campbell. 2 superstars, a solid WR and 2 fellow busts (but a tighter tier definition would make this look much worse as the busts were the guys down near 30 picks later).

I don't really have an issue with Bill taking a WR in the 1st this year, but I do think he generally has been better at finding values late than identifying and developing guys in the early rounds relative to their peers. He generally has ended up whether through draft or development with some of the worst guys in their general area.
 

ifmanis5

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Missing Malcolm Mitchell as well, who was at an incredibly high level by the end of his rookie year (his SB was ridiculous). Huge shame because he would have been a meaningful asset the last 5 years.
Yeah, this guy was my guy. Loved everything he did and still upset he got hurt.

As bad as that list is, there's still possibly two HOFers are on there and if Branch had stayed, possibly three.

Possibilities that BB drafted a HOF player at every position while with the Pats:
QB - yes
OL - some possibilities
RB - likely not
WR - some possibilities / special teams, see above
K - yes
Punter - punters other than Ray Guy don't make it
DL - yes
LB - some possibilities
DB - yes
 

dcdrew10

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For the record, I didn't start this thread to crap on BB's picks at the WR position. It's actually better than what many people think it is.
I agree, but it seems like BB track record in drafting WR is better at picking the smaller, quick rather than fast, inside-out types; see Branch, Jules, Malcolm Mitchell (though he was definitely fast and probably a better outside receiver than he gets credit and people tend to remember his failures, ex: Dobson, Chad Jackson, Harry. Draft position plays a part, but scheme, teaching style vs. learning style, TB12, etc. There are so many factors that play into it. Like I said, the right player and I am all for drafting a WR; they need some dynamism on offense.

Also just realized that if the Patriots draft a WR and that player wears #17, call their career over. Dobson, Jackson, Price all wore #17 with the Patriots.

Edit: apparently I am not the only one who saw 17 as bad sign. AB also wore it, though he wasn't a Pats draftee. Hopefully Kristian Wilkerson can keep up his 50% TD to reception rate going.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/08/24/sports/curse-patriots-no-17/
 

BaseballJones

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Out of 18 picks at WR...

- 2 studs at WR (Edelman, Branch)
- 3 studs at special teams (Branch, Tate, Johnson)
- 2 solid WRs (Givens, Berrios)
- 2 guys who got off to good starts but injuries sunk them (Dobson, Mitchell)
- 2 unknowns at this point (Harry, Nixon)
- 7 guys who were noncontributors, for all intents and purposes (Sam, Jackson, Price, Ebert, Boyce, Gallon, Lucien)

Now here's a look at Baltimore - a team that has had a reputation for excellent drafting success.

2000 - 1st round (10) - Travis Taylor - solid
2002 - 4th round (123) - Ron Johnson - nothing
2002 - 6th round (206) - Javin Hunter - nothing
2004 - 3rd round (82) - Devard Darling - nothing
2004 - 6th round (199) - Clarence Moore - nothing
2004 - 7th round (244) - Derek Abney - nothing
2005 - 1st round (22) - Mark Clayton - solid
2006 - 4th round (111) - Demetrius Williams - did a little
2007 - 3rd round (74) - Yamon Figurs - solid special teamer
2008 - 4th round (106) - Marcus Smith - nothing
2008 - 7th round (215) - Justin Harper - nothing
2010 - 5th round (156) - David Reed - decent special teamer
2011 - 2nd round (58) - Torrey Smith - excellent
2011 - 4th round (123) - Tandon Moss - nothing
2012 - 6th round (198) - Tommy Streeter - nothing
2013 - 7th round (238) - Aaron Mellette - nothing
2014 - 7th round (218) - Michael Campanaro - nothing
2015 - 1st round (26) - Breshad Perriman - did a little
2015 - 6th round (204) - Darren Waller - stud but as a TE
2016 - 4th round (107) - Chris Moore - did a little
2018 - 4th round (132) - Jaleel Scott - nothing
2018 - 5th round (162) - Jordan Lasley - nothing
2019 - 3rd round (93) - Miles Boykin - too early to tell
2020 - 3rd round (92) - Devin Duvernay - too early to tell
2020 - 6th round (201) - James Proche - too early to tell
2021 - 1st round (27) - Rashod Bateman - too early to tell but looks good so far
2021 - 4th round (131) - Tylan Wallace - too early to tell

That's a whopping 27 selections at the WR position.

Excellent picks
- Torrey Smith - really solid and lengthy NFL career
- Darren Waller - but as a TE, and with another organization after flopping in Baltimore

Solid contributor
- Travis Taylor
- Mark Clayton

Did a little
- Demetrius Williams
- Breshad Perriman
- Chris Moore

Did nothing
- Ron Johnson
- Javin Hunter
- Clarence Moore
- Devard Darling
- Derek Abney
- Marcus Smith
- Justin Harper
- Tandon Moss
- Tommy Streeter
- Aaron Mellette
- Michael Campanaro
- Jaleel Scott
- Jordan Lasley

Too early to tell
- Miles Boykin
- Devin Duvernay
- James Proche
- Tylan Wallace
- Rashod Batemen - but looks like a really solid pick so far


So 13 of their 27 picks (48.1%) did nothing in the NFL. Compare that to the Pats' 7 of 18 (38.9%). They had two excellent picks, though one didn't pan out with the Ravens and switched positions and became great with Vegas. A few solid careers. A lot of "too early to tell".

In other words, their hit rate doesn't seem to be much better than New England's at the WR position. They've thrown a lot more draft capital at this position (50% more) over the same span of time. But it's not clear that they've drafted any BETTER at this spot than the Pats. And Baltimore is widely regarded as an excellent drafting organization.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think it is more than fair to say that Bill is bad at drafting WRs near the top of the draft and mediocre at drafting in the mid and late rounds (where everyone is).
Now, the whole draft is generally a crapshoot, BUT.. Bill has probably been worse than his peers at getting production out of high round WRs.

Things like drafting and converting Edelman in the late rounds, doesn't really tell me much about how they evaluate WRs, or whether I trust them to make good 1st/2nd round WR picks. Branch I guess is probably the only player where you can say... this was clearly a good identification of talent early in a draft.
 

lexrageorge

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I think there is some recency bias here. If one of Dobson or Mitchell doesn't get hurt, or if Bill had drafted nearly anyone else other than N'Keal Harry, his record looks a LOT better. Of course, he made those picks, so they are certainly valid data points to use when talking about his draft record. But I don't believe the narrative that Bill is just bad at drafting WR's in the early rounds; like a lot of GM's, there's a couple of hits and misses there, with one really bad whiff in Harry.
 

jmanny24

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This is part of my issue with the draft. Imo people's expectations are too low. Why is bethel Johnson a solid contributor but harry is a bust. Harry has better numbers than Johnson. I want more out of both of them given where they were drafted and definitely more than a ST guy in the 2nd.
 
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Out of 18 picks at WR...

- 2 studs at WR (Edelman, Branch)
- 3 studs at special teams (Branch, Tate, Johnson)
- 2 solid WRs (Givens, Berrios)
- 2 guys who got off to good starts but injuries sunk them (Dobson, Mitchell)
- 2 unknowns at this point (Harry, Nixon)
- 7 guys who were noncontributors, for all intents and purposes (Sam, Jackson, Price, Ebert, Boyce, Gallon, Lucien)
You had him in the earlier list, but missed Slater in your "studs at special teams" in this post.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think there is some recency bias here. If one of Dobson or Mitchell doesn't get hurt, or if Bill had drafted nearly anyone else other than N'Keal Harry, his record looks a LOT better. Of course, he made those picks, so they are certainly valid data points to use when talking about his draft record. But I don't believe the narrative that Bill is just bad at drafting WR's in the early rounds; like a lot of GM's, there's a couple of hits and misses there, with one really bad whiff in Harry.
I don't care about Mitchell, mid round picks are crap shoots. But saying... "oh well if he'd drafted better players..." even Dobson... he was acceptable as a rookie, there is no reason to assume he'd have been much better than ok going forward, 2 of the 3 guys after him were better as rookies.
 

SMU_Sox

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I understand why he went Harry. He wanted a bigger bodied guy with YAC ability who could hopefully also play some X. Deebo is more of a slot guy, AJ Brown was thought by many to be a slot guy (not me I saw him have success outside), and Harry was also another guy who probably was best projected as a big slot but had some success outside. Harry had decent athletic testing. He blocked well. He returned punts which shows toughness imo. He produced a ton at an early age which the analytics crowd loved. Now I hated Harry as a prospect and was team AJ Brown and those receipts are here and with the slack group but I get the logic. He got sold a bill of goods on Harry that wasn’t true. We also heard through credible sources that Harry has a legitimate reason why he struggled with coaching and learning.
Ultimately it’s a small sample size issue and a lack of draft investment issue. He also probably should focus more on wide receiver traits and production vs athleticism at the position but he did that to some degree with Harry and it didn’t work out. HT: Nomario on the bill of goods language.
 

SMU_Sox

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Harry isn’t an unknown at this point @BaseballJones . The only unknown thing is when will he be replaced by someone who can play the position better. He can block well. Credit where it is due but he is a bust not an unknown. He doesn’t contribute meaningful snaps aside from blocking and that almost doesn’t count for a WR. Like if that’s what you are hanging your hat on then we got some issues.
 

RG33

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Out of 18 picks at WR...

- 2 studs at WR (Edelman, Branch)
- 3 studs at special teams (Branch, Tate, Johnson)
- 2 solid WRs (Givens, Berrios)
- 2 guys who got off to good starts but injuries sunk them (Dobson, Mitchell)
- 2 unknowns at this point (Harry, Nixon)
- 7 guys who were noncontributors, for all intents and purposes (Sam, Jackson, Price, Ebert, Boyce, Gallon, Lucien)
Just stopping by to pick a nit, but I would be including Edelman in the “studs at special teams” group as well since he was a fairly elite PR for many years.
 

tims4wins

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I remember thinking Chad Jackson was going to be a stud.

:|
That was my favorite draft day ever. It was still the old format of rounds 1-3 on Saturday and 4-7 on Sunday. We had a huge cookout and a bunch of people over. The beers were flowing steadily. It was a beautiful April day. Everyone was stoked with the 1-2 offensive punch of Maroney and Jackson. Alas, that was the high point of their career (or at least Jackson's).
 

KiltedFool

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Steelers have had a reputation for being able to consistently reload at WR for a good while now, thought I'd take a quick look from data gathered here: Bold type and links are from the other site, generally bold is the noteworthy names, though I notice some errors on the site (holmes was traded, which pick ended up later becoming AB, they said left in FA) I think the names and rounds are right, though this was written in 2019 so I added to the end.

2000: 1st round, Plaxico Burress, Michigan State; 4th round, Danny Farmer, UCLA
2001: 7th round, Chris Taylor, Texas A&M
2002: 2nd round, Antwaan Randle-El, Indiana; 6th round, Lee Mays, Texas El-Paso
2003: None
2004: None
2005: 4th round, Fred Gibson, Georgia
2006: 1st round, Santonio Holmes, Ohio St.
2007: 7th round, Dallas Baker, Florida
2008, 2nd round, Limas Sweed, Texas
2009: 3rd round, Mike Wallace, Mississippi
2010: 3rd round, Emmanuel Sanders, SMU; 6th round, Antonio Brown, Central Michigan
2011: None
2012: 7th round, Toney Clemmons, Colorado
2013: 3rd round, Markus Wheaton, Oregon St.; 6th round, Justin Brown, Oklahoma
2014: 4th round, Martavis Bryant, Clemson
2015: 3rd round, Sammie Coates, Auburn
2016: 7th round, DeMarcus Ayers, Houston
2017: 2nd round, JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
2018: 2nd round, James Washington, Oklahoma State
2019: 3rd round, Diontae Johnson, Toledo
2020: 2nd round, Chase Claypool

1st round: 2
2nd round: 5
3rd round: 5
4th round: 3
5th round: 0
6th round: 3
7th round: 4

Roughly a 50% hit rate overall.
 

ManicCompression

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I think the issue, as I've understood it, is not so much that the Patriots are bad at drafting wide receivers. It's that they don't draft enough of them, so the likelihood of a hit is lower (they're averaging less than one a year). Baltimore mixes in a Mark Clayton, a Hollywood Brown, a Rashod Bateman amongst 20+ other nondescript picks. The Titans don't have a great drafting record at WR, but look at AJ Brown.

Of course, this is operating as if drafting wide receivers is an end rather than a means to an end. The goal is to create a good football, not develop good wide receivers. If the overall strategy has led to success because we're typically strong elsewhere on the roster and good enough at the receiving position by having no high talent but good depth, then that's a good strategy.

I'd love a receiver as much as anyone else - it would certainly make for a more visually stimulating game - but so long as they keep finding contributors in the draft at most any position, I'll be okay with this shortcoming. If you hit on an LB in the fourth round, that opens up roster capital elsewhere (like receiver).
 

macal

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Isn't one of the issues that the Pats have had drafting for the last 20+ years is that they have been consistently at the end of the first round with their first pick and also lost a few due to ???? It's kind of a no mans land where it is too low a pick for a slam dunk WR, but still high enough to luck into an ace. Now, if they had a top 10 pick every year and used it every 2-3 years on a WR, then they would have a much better hit rate with slam dunk WR's and would have went through a bunch of true WR aces. However, we would be bemoaning the fact that they hadn't won a SB in their existence. The highest that they have drafted a WR is 32. I doubt there is any other team that hasn't drafted a WR higher than 32 during the last 20 years.
 

Cellar-Door

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I think the issue, as I've understood it, is not so much that the Patriots are bad at drafting wide receivers. It's that they don't draft enough of them, so the likelihood of a hit is lower (they're averaging less than one a year). Baltimore mixes in a Mark Clayton, a Hollywood Brown, a Rashod Bateman amongst 20+ other nondescript picks. The Titans don't have a great drafting record at WR, but look at AJ Brown.

Of course, this is operating as if drafting wide receivers is an end rather than a means to an end. The goal is to create a good football, not develop good wide receivers. If the overall strategy has led to success because we're typically strong elsewhere on the roster and good enough at the receiving position by having no high talent but good depth, then that's a good strategy.

I'd love a receiver as much as anyone else - it would certainly make for a more visually stimulating game - but so long as they keep finding contributors in the draft at most any position, I'll be okay with this shortcoming. If you hit on an LB in the fourth round, that opens up roster capital elsewhere (like receiver).
I think it's both. they don't take many shots, but also they've pretty consistently picked wrong (or developed poorly) on their early round shots, taking the worst guy on the board among likely options.
 

Hoya81

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That was my favorite draft day ever. It was still the old format of rounds 1-3 on Saturday and 4-7 on Sunday. We had a huge cookout and a bunch of people over. The beers were flowing steadily. It was a beautiful April day. Everyone was stoked with the 1-2 offensive punch of Maroney and Jackson. Alas, that was the high point of their career (or at least Jackson's).
Honestly, moving the draft away from that original lazy weekend format might top the list of Goodell's many crimes against the game.
 

BaseballJones

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I think it's both. they don't take many shots, but also they've pretty consistently picked wrong (or developed poorly) on their early round shots, taking the worst guy on the board among likely options.
Harry, Jackson, Johnson, Tate, Dobson.... they definitely haven’t hit any home runs with those picks. You figure you get five cracks at a high round WR, you’re gonna hit on one of them.
 

JM3

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ChadJack strange draft profile in hindsight - very fast (4.32 40), but somehow only averaged 10.2 ypc his Junior year. Probably got overdrafted due to 9 TDs. He might also be an injury guy - had nagging hamstring injuries a lot of his rookie year & tore his ACL in the playoffs in 2006 & missed most of 2007 as a result.

Packers kind of owned the Patriots on this one - traded 36 for 52 & 75, then went ahead & drafted Greg Jennings at 52. They took interior OL Jason Spitz at 75 & he started 45 games for them on his rookie contract before his career was basically over.
 

BaseballJones

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Out of 18 picks at WR...

- 2 studs at WR (Edelman, Branch)
- 3 studs at special teams (Branch, Tate, Johnson)
- 2 solid WRs (Givens, Berrios)
- 2 guys who got off to good starts but injuries sunk them (Dobson, Mitchell)
- 2 unknowns at this point (Harry, Nixon)
- 7 guys who were noncontributors, for all intents and purposes (Sam, Jackson, Price, Ebert, Boyce, Gallon, Lucien)

Now here's a look at Baltimore - a team that has had a reputation for excellent drafting success.

2000 - 1st round (10) - Travis Taylor - solid
2002 - 4th round (123) - Ron Johnson - nothing
2002 - 6th round (206) - Javin Hunter - nothing
2004 - 3rd round (82) - Devard Darling - nothing
2004 - 6th round (199) - Clarence Moore - nothing
2004 - 7th round (244) - Derek Abney - nothing
2005 - 1st round (22) - Mark Clayton - solid
2006 - 4th round (111) - Demetrius Williams - did a little
2007 - 3rd round (74) - Yamon Figurs - solid special teamer
2008 - 4th round (106) - Marcus Smith - nothing
2008 - 7th round (215) - Justin Harper - nothing
2010 - 5th round (156) - David Reed - decent special teamer
2011 - 2nd round (58) - Torrey Smith - excellent
2011 - 4th round (123) - Tandon Moss - nothing
2012 - 6th round (198) - Tommy Streeter - nothing
2013 - 7th round (238) - Aaron Mellette - nothing
2014 - 7th round (218) - Michael Campanaro - nothing
2015 - 1st round (26) - Breshad Perriman - did a little
2015 - 6th round (204) - Darren Waller - stud but as a TE
2016 - 4th round (107) - Chris Moore - did a little
2018 - 4th round (132) - Jaleel Scott - nothing
2018 - 5th round (162) - Jordan Lasley - nothing
2019 - 3rd round (93) - Miles Boykin - too early to tell
2020 - 3rd round (92) - Devin Duvernay - too early to tell
2020 - 6th round (201) - James Proche - too early to tell
2021 - 1st round (27) - Rashod Bateman - too early to tell but looks good so far
2021 - 4th round (131) - Tylan Wallace - too early to tell
While Baltimore has been great at drafting (yes, E5, at other positions too, even though this thread is about WRs), it's interesting to me to see how many swings and misses they've had. A ton.

However, let's compare 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks only.

Bal:
- 1st round (3 picks) - Taylor (solid), Clayton (solid), Perriman (modest),
- 2nd round (1 pick) - Smith (excellent)
- 3rd round (4 picks) - Darling (nothing), Figures (good ST player), Boykin (too soon but looks decent), Duvernay (too soon)
TOT (8 picks): 1 excellent, 2 solid, 1 modest, 1 good ST player, 2 too soon but look good, 1 nothing

NE:
- 1st (1 pick) - Harry (looks like a bust)
- 2nd (3 picks) - Branch (excellent), Johnson (good ST player), Dobson (good start but injuries killed his career)
- 3rd (2 picks) - Tate (good ST player), Price (nothing)
TOT (6 picks): 1 excellent, 2 good ST players, 1 good but injuries, 2 nothing

So Baltimore has done much better at getting good wide receivers as they've drafted the WR position. It's in the later rounds where BB has done well drafting WRs.

So maybe he ought to keep trying to draft WRs late, and use free agency to get more established high end WR talent. Of course, that's more expensive. But then use top picks to select areas where maybe BB tends to draft better - and that would allow them to fill those positions more cheaply, thus saving the money for WR expenditures in free agency.
 

Koufax

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Back to Pittsburgh again, looking at rounds 1 - 3:

1st (2 picks): Burress, Holmes (both excellent)
2d (4 picks): Randle El (very good), Sweed (bust), Smith-Schuster (good), Claypool (good)
3rd (6 picks): Wallace (good), Sanders (very good), Wheaton (good), Archer (kick returner only, so bust as receiver), Coates (poor), Johnson (good)

total 12 picks, 2 excellent, 7 good to very good, 3 poor to bust. Overall, they have devoted more high draft assets to WR than NE, and have fewer busts on average and more good players. I did not look to see whether injury played a factor in any of the poor / bust players..
 
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The frustrating thing about Harry is that the red flaggiest thing about him was STRUGGLES TO GET SEPARATION (in college!), which has - predictably times ten - been a huge red flag for him in the pros. Meanwhile, any and every draft site had AJ and Deebo being ludicrously tremendous matches for the N.E. scheme. To whiff on that WR draft is truly abominable. Embarrassing. Almost unforgivably stupid. Except six Lombardis, so…you’re forgiven.
 

Mystic Merlin

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The frustrating thing about Harry is that the red flaggiest thing about him was STRUGGLES TO GET SEPARATION (in college!), which has - predictably times ten - been a huge red flag for him in the pros. Meanwhile, any and every draft site had AJ and Deebo being ludicrously tremendous matches for the N.E. scheme. To whiff on that WR draft is truly abominable. Embarrassing. Almost unforgivably stupid. Except six Lombardis, so…you’re forgiven.
I think this is revisionist history re: Deebo, but Harry over Brown is a very rough look.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Nov 16, 2004
17,580
I think this is revisionist history re: Deebo, but Harry over Brown is a very rough look.
The other one that bothers me greatly in that draft was Hunter Renfrow. He was such an obvious and great fit for the Pats offense and the Raiders take him in the 5th round.
 

slamminsammya

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Jul 31, 2006
7,188
San Francisco
Jeez, everyone is so confident in how obvious things were in retrospect. Nothing about the draft is obvious - the guys who are paid the most to think about this stuff screw it up all the tme.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
20,039
Here are some scouting reports on Harry pre-draft:

https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/nkeal-harry

https://www.nfl.com/prospects/n-keal-harry/32004841-5265-4593-d716-d972ec2d4468

https://walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2019nharry.php

https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2019/3/27/18278402/nkeal-harry-nfl-draft-2019-new-england-patriots-scouting-report-wide-receiver-ranking

https://www.milehighreport.com/2019/3/28/18284459/nfl-draft-scouting-report-nkeal-harry


The reports definitely talked about his lack of speed and "twitchiness", but they all lauded him for size, strength, ability to catch the ball, and his great RAC ability. They ALL thought he would be very successful in the NFL. Not sure they all thought he should have been a first round pick (though some scouting reports had him in that round), but they all thought he would be good in the NFL.

So it wasn't like BB drafted some risky guy out of nowhere. He drafted a guy with plus-plus size and strength, plus ability to make tough, contested catches, plus ability to run after the catch. Sure, he wasn't fast. But the league has been littered with quality receivers throughout the years who weren't very fast, but who were good at pro football anyway. There was no reason, really, to think that he wouldn't at least be *good*.
 

Shelterdog

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Lifetime Member
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Feb 19, 2002
14,798
New York City
Here are some scouting reports on Harry pre-draft:

https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/nkeal-harry

https://www.nfl.com/prospects/n-keal-harry/32004841-5265-4593-d716-d972ec2d4468

https://walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2019nharry.php

https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2019/3/27/18278402/nkeal-harry-nfl-draft-2019-new-england-patriots-scouting-report-wide-receiver-ranking

https://www.milehighreport.com/2019/3/28/18284459/nfl-draft-scouting-report-nkeal-harry


The reports definitely talked about his lack of speed and "twitchiness", but they all lauded him for size, strength, ability to catch the ball, and his great RAC ability. They ALL thought he would be very successful in the NFL. Not sure they all thought he should have been a first round pick (though some scouting reports had him in that round), but they all thought he would be good in the NFL.

So it wasn't like BB drafted some risky guy out of nowhere. He drafted a guy with plus-plus size and strength, plus ability to make tough, contested catches, plus ability to run after the catch. Sure, he wasn't fast. But the league has been littered with quality receivers throughout the years who weren't very fast, but who were good at pro football anyway. There was no reason, really, to think that he wouldn't at least be *good*.

He's not that slow for his size. His combine results are similar to a Josh Gordon, Terrell Owens or Dez Bryant's and those guys aren't slow (we're not drafting a super slow guy and saying well Anquan Bolden did it). Clearly as a Pat didn't show the same short area quickness as those guys did although I wonder if part of that is coordination/precision/balance related less than some explosive measurable power. Obviously they blew the pick but they blew it because they assumed a very productive college player with a ton of measurable athletic activity would also be able to figure out how to use/control his body to shield people, how to turn at 7 yards and not 6.5, how to make sharp cuts not round ones, how to coordinate feet and hands to beat press coverage, etc.

The teams that are right on Harry not figuing it out (or on Metcalf figuing it out) get to win games and their GMs get to keep their jobs etc, but it's not clear at all in retrospect.
 

Cellar-Door

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SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
29,195
He's not that slow for his size. His combine results are similar to a Josh Gordon, Terrell Owens or Dez Bryant's and those guys aren't slow (we're not drafting a super slow guy and saying well Anquan Bolden did it). Clearly as a Pat didn't show the same short area quickness as those guys did although I wonder if part of that is coordination/precision/balance related less than some explosive measurable power. Obviously they blew the pick but they blew it because they assumed a very productive college player with a ton of measurable athletic activity would also be able to figure out how to use/control his body to shield people, how to turn at 7 yards and not 6.5, how to make sharp cuts not round ones, how to coordinate feet and hands to beat press coverage, etc.

The teams that are right on Harry not figuing it out (or on Metcalf figuing it out) get to win games and their GMs get to keep their jobs etc, but it's not clear at all in retrospect.
The big miss was AJ Brown, but he and Harry were very similar testers at the combine. (Brown was 0.04 faster at the 40, Harry was a bit better on the jumps).