|Vote: Who was the best second-round pick in Patriots history?||04.13.11 at 2:22 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 through the third rounders in the spotlight. Now, we’ve got the best of the second round, an intriguing list of four players who have nine Pro Bowl berths and one spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame among them, and all of whom had lengthy careers with the Patriots. Vote for your favorite:
Kevin Faulk: 1999: 46th overall. The running back hasn’t always put up the biggest numbers, but his durability (he’s the only current player on the roster who predates Bill Belichick as head coach) and his leadership have been large parts of the Patriots’ success over the last 10 years. Taken out of LSU, he’s worked as a return man and third-down/changeup back, and remains a valuable option in the passing game. A knee injury early in the 2011 season put his rest of his career in doubt, but Faulk has already put together an impressive resume, one with three Super Bowl rings.
Steve Nelson: 1974, 34th overall. Part of a collection of great linebackers in the 1970s and 80s, Nelson was a three-time Pro Bowler who recorded over 100 tackles nine times during his career and finished with 1,776 tackles, an average of 10.2 per game. For his efforts, the North Dakota State product was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1993, and had his No. 57 jersey retired.
Andre Tippett: 1982, 41st overall. A resume unmatched by just about anyone in the history of the franchise. A Pro Football Hall of Famer, the Iowa product was one of the best pass-rushers of his era — he holds the team record with 100 career sacks, including 18.5 in 1984. In his 12 seasons with the Patriots, Tippett tied cornerback Michael Haynes’ team record for a defensive player by going to five consecutive Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1999, and elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Julius Adams: 1971, 27th overall. This Texas Southern product played 16 seasons for the Patriots, and like Faulk, his numbers weren’t always overwhelming. But his durability and consistency made him an invaluable part of many Patriots teams throughout the 1970s and 80s. He led the team in sacks four times (including three straight seasons in the early 1970s). Named to the Patriots’ 50th anniversary team, he’s second in franchise history in games played (206).
Just missed the cut: Deion Branch (2002, 65th overall); Matt Light (2001, 48th overall); Lawyer Milloy: 1996: 36th overall; Ted Johnson (1995, 57th overall); Garin Veris (1985, 48th overall); Robert Weathers (1982, 40th overall); Bob Golic (1979, 52nd overall); Horace Ivory (1977, 44th overall); Don Hasselbeck (1979, 52nd overall).
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