Vote: Who was the best fifth-round pick in Patriots history?
|04.08.11 at 4:54 pm ET|
With the NFL draft on the horizon, we’re going to look back at the Patriots’ best draft picks by round. We’ve already put the eighth, seventh and six round under the microscope. Today, we’ve got the fifth rounders — a surprising group that doesn’t have any Hall of Famers, but is still a talented cast that can boast of seven Pro Bowl appearances between them. Vote for your favorite:
Ben Coates: 1991, 124th overall. Selected out of tiny Livingstone College, Coates went on to become one of the great tight ends in franchise history, becoming a favorite target of Drew Bledsoe throughout the 1990s — in 1996, he set the NFL’s single-season reception record for a tight end with 96. He ended his career ranked in the Top 10 all time among tight ends in receptions (499), yards (5,555) and touchdowns (50).
Fred Marion: 1982, 112th overall. A Miami product who would go on to play 144 games in 10 years with the Patriots, Marion reached the Pro Bowl in 1985 after a season where he picked off a career-best seven passes for 189 yards. (He finished with 29 interceptions for his career.) He was voted to the Patriots’ 50th anniversary all-time team as a safety alongside Rodney Harrison.
Steve Grogan: 1975, 116th overall. Grogan was initially drafted out Kansas State as a backup to Jim Plunkett, but he ended up taking the full-time starters’ job in his second season and ended up spending a franchise-record 16 seasons with the Patriots, finishing his career as the Patriots all-time career-passing leader with 26,886 yards. A face of the franchise for so many seasons, Grogan held the franchise record until 2007 with 182 career touchdown passes.
Dan Koppen: 2003, 164th overall. The Boston College product stepped in midway through his rookie year for an injured Damien Woody and was immediately part of back-to-back Super Bowl teams. Koppen has started 119 of 120 games for the Patriots over eight seasons with the club, and was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2007.
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