Vote: Who was the best first-round pick in Patriots history?
|04.15.11 at 12:35 am 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 second rounders in the spotlight. Now, we’ve got the best of the first round, a group with two Hall of Famers are two others who will almost surely get some consideration for Canton down the road. Vote for your favorite:
Mike Haynes: 1976, fifth overall. The Arizona State alum played in New England from 1976 until 1982 before ending up in Los Angeles with the Raiders, but while with the Patriots, he made his mark as one of the best young corners and return men in the game. A six-time Pro Bowler, he has 28 career picks (sixth in franchise history), including eight as a rookie. He was twice named an All-Pro, named to the Patriots All-Time Team in 2009 and was the second Patriots’ player in franchise history elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame ‘ he received the honor in 1997.
John Hannah: 1973, fourth overall. Accorded as the best offensive lineman in the history of the game, the Alabama product spent his entire 13-year career with the Patriots, and was the first player in franchise history inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Named to nine Pro Bowls, the guard helped power an offensive line that helped set an NFL record with 3,165 rushing yards in 1978 ‘ still an NFL record. Small wonder he was a 10-time All-Pro who was named to the Patriots All-Time Team in 2009.
Ty Law: 1995, 23rd overall. A five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, this corner out of Michigan was named to the Patriots’ All-Time Team in 2009 after a career where he set the franchise record for most career interceptions (36), including nine in 1998. In addition, he holds team records for most interception return yardage (583), most interceptions for a touchdown for a career (six) and in a season (two). He departed following the 2004 season, playing two seasons with the Jets, two with Kansas City and one with Denver, but his part as a three-time Super Bowl Champion while with New England will always endear him to Patriots’ fans. (His 11 career picks of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning probably don’t hurt either.)
Vince Wilfork: 2004, 21st overall. The three-time Pro Bowler, this Miami product has made his mark in New England as a leader, both on and off the field. His numbers aren’t especially overwhelming, but his ability to occupy two blockers on the nose and his versatility ‘ he kicked out to defensive end several times over the last year ‘ have made him an absolutely vital force along New England’s defensive line. A three-time team captain, he is perhaps the most respected voice in the Patriots’ locker room.
Just missing the cut: Devin McCourty (2010, 27th overall); Logan Mankins (2005, 32nd overall); Jerod Mayo (2008, 10th overall); Richard Seymour (2001, sixth overall); Willie McGinest (1994, fourth overall); Drew Bledsoe (1993, first overall); Ray Clayborn (1977, 16th overall); Stanley Morgan (1977, 25th overall); Pete Brock (1976, 12th overall); Tim Fox (1976, 21st overall); Russ Francis (1975, 16th overall); Sam Cunningham (1973, 11th overall); Jim Plunkett (1971, first overall).