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A second round historical synopsis

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Garin Veris

There are two second round picks that standout above others on the defensive line. In 1971, after selecting quarterback Jim Plunkett with the first overall pick in the draft, New England landed Julius Adams in the second round (27th overall). Adams went on to play in 206 games between 1971 and 1987 and he still ranks second on the team's all-time sack list with 79.5. He also started Super Bowl XX. 

In 1985, the Patriots selected defensive end Garin Veris out of Stanford with the 48th overall pick. He played 78 games with 46 starts from 1985 to 1991, during which time he totaled 36 sacks (13th in team history). Veris started Super Bowl XX as a rookie in 1985, a season in which he set the team's rookie sack record with 10.5. 
Some picks that didn't work out as well include Ben Thomas (1985), Mike Ruth (1986), Marquise Hill (2004) and Ron Brace (2009).

Linebacker

The Patriots have struck linebacker gold in the second round starting with Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Nelson with the 34th selection in 1974. Nelson went on to start 173 of the 174 games he played as a Patriot and finished his career with 1,776 tackles between 1974 and his retirement after the 1988 season. He started Super Bowl XX.

In 1980, the Pats grabbed linebacker Lawrence McGrew - another Super Bowl XX starter - with the 45th pick. He played in 122 games with 74 starts between 1980 and 1989.

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In 1982, New England once again held the top overall pick in the draft and selected defensive end Ken Sims while grabbing defensive tackle Lester Williams at the bottom of the first round. With back-to-back second rounders at 40 and 41, the Patriots drafted running back Robert Weathers and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, who established himself as one of the best linebackers to ever play the game. Between 1982 and 1993, Tippett dominated on the field. He is the franchise record holder with 100 career sacks, including a single-season best 18.5 in 1984. Tippett was selected to the 1980s NFL All-Decade Team and was the NFLPA Linebacker of the Year in three straight seasons from 1985-1987. Tippett also started Super Bowl XX.

In 1988, the Patriots took a player nicknamed "The Undertaker" in Mississippi Valley State's Vincent Brown (43rd overall). From 1988 to 1995, Brown started 103 of the 123 games in which he played and was a force in the middle of the defense during some lean years in New England. He played on only two Patriots teams that finished above .500 and played in only one playoff game. 

Fast forward to 1993 - Bill Parcells first season at the team's helm and yet another draft during which the Patriots held the first overall pick. After selecting quarterback Drew Bledsoe with that first pick, the Pats tabbed linebacker Chris Slade in the second (31st overall). Slade played in 127 games with 108 starts between 1993 and 2000 and his 51 career sacks ranks sixth in team history. He was a Super Bowl XXXI starter. 

Two seasons later, the Patriots landed linebacker Ted Johnson in the second round (57th overall). Johnson would emerge as a defensive leader that Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith once tabbed as one of the toughest players to face in the NFL. Between 1995 and 2004, Johnson played in 117 games with 104 starts and was the team's best run defender. He started in Super Bowl XXXI and was also part of three Super Bowl championship teams in 2001, 2003 and 2004. 

In 2013, after trading their first-round pick, the Patriots drafted versatile linebacker Jamie Collins with the 52nd pick. He became an immediate starter and a major contributor on the Super Bowl XLIX championship team. In the last two seasons, he started every game in which he played. He has 248 tackles and 9.5 sacks with three interceptions in three seasons. 

There have not been many swings and misses with second round linebackers, but the closest of late might be Jermaine Cunningham (2010), who played 36 games over three seasons with the team. 

Defensive backs

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The Patriots have selected several defensive backs in the second round but, unfortunately, have rarely hit the jackpot. We'll forget about Ras-I Dowling, who in two seasons, started two games and played in only nine after being taken 33rd overall. The best of the group came in 1996 when New England tabbed safety Lawyer Milloy with the 36th pick. He became a starter and a captain. He started in Super Bowl XXXI as a rookie and was an instrumental part of the team's Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams. He had 19 interceptions and went to four Pro Bowls as a Patriot. He also was physical defender in the running game. 

More recently, New England grabbed Eugene Wilson (36th in 2003) and Patrick Chung (34th in 2009) in the second round. Wilson made an instant impact beside Rodney Harrison at safety and started 55 of 62 games between 2003 and 2007. He started on two Super Bowl championship teams (XXXVIII and XXXIX). Chung has started 59 of 81 games in New England with eight interceptions during two stints (2009-2012 and 2014-present). He started in Super Bowl XLVI and XLIX for the Patriots. 

This position is littered with players that didn't reach their lofty second-round status in New England. That would include Dowling (2011), Darius Butler (2009), Terrence Wheatley (2008), Eric Coleman (1989), Venice Glenn (1986) and a perhaps a few others who contributed more than this group, but not much more. Glenn actually had a solid NFL career, but most of it came with San Diego and Minnesota after he played just four games as a Patriot. 

There have been key contributors selected on the offensive side of the football as well, including a contributor whose career track has him on a path to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Offensive line

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There are three offensive linemen selected in the second round that standout more than others. Matt Light was selected 48th overall out of Purdue in 2001 and almost immediately became the team's starter at left tackle. He started 153 of 155 games over 11 seasons, was selected to three Pro Bowls and was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams and five AFC Championship teams. 

Tackle Sebastian Vollmer was the 58th overall pick in 2009 and quickly emerged into a solid contributor at right tackle. He started eight games as a rookie and has been a full-time starter when healthy since, including starts in Super Bowl XLVI and XLIX.

Guard Todd Rucci was the 51st selection in 1993 and started 75 of 85 career games while also starting Super Bowl XXXI. 

We had to go back to 1974 to find what looks like a miss up front with Steve Corbett, drafted 30th out of Boston College. Injuries, including multiple surgeries actually derailed his career and he played in only 14 games. 

Tight end

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We must start with Rob Gronkowski, who was the 42nd overall selection in 2010. All he has done is assault the Patriots and NFL record books at his position. In six seasons, Gronk has 380 receptions for 5,555 yards and 65 receiving touchdowns. He has helped the team reach two Super Bowls and win one. He is on track to be a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Enough said. 

In 1977, the Patriots tabbed Don Hasselbeck 52nd overall and he went on to play 86 games with 27 starts over seven seasons. He wasn't nearly the type of receiving threat as Gronkowski, but was a good blocker whose best receiving season came in 1981 when he led the team with 46 receptions for 808 yards and six touchdowns. He caught 15 TD passes in his Patriots career. His sons, Matt and Tim, both became NFL quarterbacks. 

The only other tight end selected in the second round since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 was Rod Rutledge (54th in 1998). He was serviceable during four seasons, 63 games and 31 starts. He also was part of the Super Bowl XXXVI championship team. He caught 27 passes with one touchdown in his career while spending most of his playing time as a blocker. 

Running back

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Kevin Faulk, a 2016 Patriots Hall of Fame finalist, is the best of the bunch of second round running backs (46th in 1999). He ranks fifth all-time in team rushing (3,607 yards), fifth in receptions (431) and first in kickoff return yardage (4,098). He played in 161 games between 1999 and 2011. Faulk played in three Super Bowl championship teams and two other AFC Championship teams.

In 1981, the Pats drafted Tony Collins with the 47th pick in the draft and he emerged amongst a crowded group of running backs as an immediate contributor. He led the team with 873 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie to go with 26 catches for 232 yards. He ranks third on the team's all-time rushing list with 4,647 yards, fifth in rushing touchdowns with 32, 13th in receptions with 261 and 12th in scoring with 44 total touchdowns for 264 points). He also started Super Bowl XX. 

Shane Vereen (56th overall in 2011) didn't wow anyone as a rookie, but steadily improved into a contributor and had a huge game with 11 receptions in a Super Bowl XLIX win over Seattle. While a solid runner, his bigger impact came in the passing game, both as a receiver and in protection. He caught only eight passes in his first two seasons, but then grabbed 47 for 427 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 and 52 for 447 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. From 2012-2014, he ran 202 times for 849 yards (4.2 ypc) with six rushing touchdowns. 

New England has rarely used second round picks on running backs. Ike Forte (35th in 1976) played in only 23 games. Robert Weathers (40th in 1982) and Horace Ivory (44th in 1977) contributed, but not quite at the level of Faulk, Collins and Vereen. 

Wide receiver

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The pickings have been slim for second round wide receivers. Deion Branch (65th in 2002) was the best during huis two stints with the team between 2002 and 2005 and 2010 and 2012. He helped the team win a pair of Super Bowls and was the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP after making 11 receptions in the title game for the second straight year. He finished his Patriots career eighth all time in receptions with 328 for 4,297 yards (10th in team history) and 24 receiving touchdowns. 

Vincent Brisby was taken 56th overall in 1993 and went on to play 83 games with 46 starts over seven seasons. He is 15th all-time in receptions with 217 for 3,142 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

There have been several misses at this spot over the years. Chad Jackson (2006) played in only 14 games in New England. Tony Simmons (1998) had the fastest 40 time at the Combine but lasted only three seasons with his production dropping each year from 23 catches as a rookie in 1998 to 19 in 1999 to 14 in 2000. In 1994, Bill Parcells tabbed Kevin Lee 35th overall and the Alabama product lasted two seasons while playing in seven games. In 1983, the Patriots drafted Darryal Wilson 47th overall, but he lasted just one season and appeared in nine games. 

Quarterback

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The Patriots have selected two quarterbacks in the second round since the 1970 merger - Matt Cavanaugh (50th in 1978) and Jimmy Garoppolo (62nd in 2014). In six seasons, Cavanaugh played in 52 games with 15 starts. He completed 206-of-385 passes for 3,018 yards with 19 TDs and 23 interceptions in his Patriots career. Garoppolo has made 11 appearances in two seasons backing up Tom Brady with zero starts. 

cavanaugh_matt18.jpg

The Patriots have selected two quarterbacks in the second round since the 1970 merger - Matt Cavanaugh (50th in 1978) and Jimmy Garoppolo (62nd in 2014). In six seasons, Cavanaugh played in 52 games with 15 starts. He completed 206-of-385 passes for 3,018 yards with 19 TDs and 23 interceptions in his Patriots career. Garoppolo has made 11 appearances in two seasons backing up Tom Brady with zero starts. 

There have been five occasions in Patriots history in which the Patriots did not make a first round selection. With no first round pick to speak of in 2016, this should mark the sixth time. 

The second round of the draft has uncovered star-caliber talent, including one of this year's Patriots Hall of Fame finalists - Kevin Faulk (1999). 

Overall, as one might expect, the second round has been a mixed bag. The Hall went back through history to find the best second round selections in team history by position. Starting on defense, here is a look back:

Defensive line

veris_garin04.jpg

There are two second round picks that standout above others on the defensive line. In 1971, after selecting quarterback Jim Plunkett with the first overall pick in the draft, New England landed Julius Adams in the second round (27th overall). Adams went on to play in 206 games between 1971 and 1987 and he still ranks second on the team's all-time sack list with 79.5. He also started Super Bowl XX. 

In 1985, the Patriots selected defensive end Garin Veris out of Stanford with the 48th overall pick. He played 78 games with 46 starts from 1985 to 1991, during which time he totaled 36 sacks (13th in team history). Veris started Super Bowl XX as a rookie in 1985, a season in which he set the team's rookie sack record with 10.5. 
Some picks that didn't work out as well include Ben Thomas (1985), Mike Ruth (1986), Marquise Hill (2004) and Ron Brace (2009).

Linebacker

The Patriots have struck linebacker gold in the second round starting with Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Nelson with the 34th selection in 1974. Nelson went on to start 173 of the 174 games he played as a Patriot and finished his career with 1,776 tackles between 1974 and his retirement after the 1988 season. He started Super Bowl XX.

In 1980, the Pats grabbed linebacker Lawrence McGrew - another Super Bowl XX starter - with the 45th pick. He played in 122 games with 74 starts between 1980 and 1989.

nep080208-897.jpg

In 1982, New England once again held the top overall pick in the draft and selected defensive end Ken Sims while grabbing defensive tackle Lester Williams at the bottom of the first round. With back-to-back second rounders at 40 and 41, the Patriots drafted running back Robert Weathers and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, who established himself as one of the best linebackers to ever play the game. Between 1982 and 1993, Tippett dominated on the field. He is the franchise record holder with 100 career sacks, including a single-season best 18.5 in 1984. Tippett was selected to the 1980s NFL All-Decade Team and was the NFLPA Linebacker of the Year in three straight seasons from 1985-1987. Tippett also started Super Bowl XX.

In 1988, the Patriots took a player nicknamed "The Undertaker" in Mississippi Valley State's Vincent Brown (43rd overall). From 1988 to 1995, Brown started 103 of the 123 games in which he played and was a force in the middle of the defense during some lean years in New England. He played on only two Patriots teams that finished above .500 and played in only one playoff game. 

Fast forward to 1993 - Bill Parcells first season at the team's helm and yet another draft during which the Patriots held the first overall pick. After selecting quarterback Drew Bledsoe with that first pick, the Pats tabbed linebacker Chris Slade in the second (31st overall). Slade played in 127 games with 108 starts between 1993 and 2000 and his 51 career sacks ranks sixth in team history. He was a Super Bowl XXXI starter. 

Two seasons later, the Patriots landed linebacker Ted Johnson in the second round (57th overall). Johnson would emerge as a defensive leader that Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith once tabbed as one of the toughest players to face in the NFL. Between 1995 and 2004, Johnson played in 117 games with 104 starts and was the team's best run defender. He started in Super Bowl XXXI and was also part of three Super Bowl championship teams in 2001, 2003 and 2004. 

In 2013, after trading their first-round pick, the Patriots drafted versatile linebacker Jamie Collins with the 52nd pick. He became an immediate starter and a major contributor on the Super Bowl XLIX championship team. In the last two seasons, he started every game in which he played. He has 248 tackles and 9.5 sacks with three interceptions in three seasons. 

There have not been many swings and misses with second round linebackers, but the closest of late might be Jermaine Cunningham (2010), who played 36 games over three seasons with the team. 

Defensive backs

milloy_lawyer01.jpg

The Patriots have selected several defensive backs in the second round but, unfortunately, have rarely hit the jackpot. We'll forget about Ras-I Dowling, who in two seasons, started two games and played in only nine after being taken 33rd overall. The best of the group came in 1996 when New England tabbed safety Lawyer Milloy with the 36th pick. He became a starter and a captain. He started in Super Bowl XXXI as a rookie and was an instrumental part of the team's Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams. He had 19 interceptions and went to four Pro Bowls as a Patriot. He also was physical defender in the running game. 

More recently, New England grabbed Eugene Wilson (36th in 2003) and Patrick Chung (34th in 2009) in the second round. Wilson made an instant impact beside Rodney Harrison at safety and started 55 of 62 games between 2003 and 2007. He started on two Super Bowl championship teams (XXXVIII and XXXIX). Chung has started 59 of 81 games in New England with eight interceptions during two stints (2009-2012 and 2014-present). He started in Super Bowl XLVI and XLIX for the Patriots. 

This position is littered with players that didn't reach their lofty second-round status in New England. That would include Dowling (2011), Darius Butler (2009), Terrence Wheatley (2008), Eric Coleman (1989), Venice Glenn (1986) and a perhaps a few others who contributed more than this group, but not much more. Glenn actually had a solid NFL career, but most of it came with San Diego and Minnesota after he played just four games as a Patriot. 

There have been key contributors selected on the offensive side of the football as well, including a contributor whose career track has him on a path to Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Offensive line

light4.jpg

There are three offensive linemen selected in the second round that standout more than others. Matt Light was selected 48th overall out of Purdue in 2001 and almost immediately became the team's starter at left tackle. He started 153 of 155 games over 11 seasons, was selected to three Pro Bowls and was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams and five AFC Championship teams. 

Tackle Sebastian Vollmer was the 58th overall pick in 2009 and quickly emerged into a solid contributor at right tackle. He started eight games as a rookie and has been a full-time starter when healthy since, including starts in Super Bowl XLVI and XLIX.

Guard Todd Rucci was the 51st selection in 1993 and started 75 of 85 career games while also starting Super Bowl XXXI. 

We had to go back to 1974 to find what looks like a miss up front with Steve Corbett, drafted 30th out of Boston College. Injuries, including multiple surgeries actually derailed his career and he played in only 14 games. 

Tight end

cb091210_ds1634.jpg

We must start with Rob Gronkowski, who was the 42nd overall selection in 2010. All he has done is assault the Patriots and NFL record books at his position. In six seasons, Gronk has 380 receptions for 5,555 yards and 65 receiving touchdowns. He has helped the team reach two Super Bowls and win one. He is on track to be a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Enough said. 

In 1977, the Patriots tabbed Don Hasselbeck 52nd overall and he went on to play 86 games with 27 starts over seven seasons. He wasn't nearly the type of receiving threat as Gronkowski, but was a good blocker whose best receiving season came in 1981 when he led the team with 46 receptions for 808 yards and six touchdowns. He caught 15 TD passes in his Patriots career. His sons, Matt and Tim, both became NFL quarterbacks. 

The only other tight end selected in the second round since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 was Rod Rutledge (54th in 1998). He was serviceable during four seasons, 63 games and 31 starts. He also was part of the Super Bowl XXXVI championship team. He caught 27 passes with one touchdown in his career while spending most of his playing time as a blocker. 

Running back

faulk1.jpg

Kevin Faulk, a 2016 Patriots Hall of Fame finalist, is the best of the bunch of second round running backs (46th in 1999). He ranks fifth all-time in team rushing (3,607 yards), fifth in receptions (431) and first in kickoff return yardage (4,098). He played in 161 games between 1999 and 2011. Faulk played in three Super Bowl championship teams and two other AFC Championship teams.

In 1981, the Pats drafted Tony Collins with the 47th pick in the draft and he emerged amongst a crowded group of running backs as an immediate contributor. He led the team with 873 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie to go with 26 catches for 232 yards. He ranks third on the team's all-time rushing list with 4,647 yards, fifth in rushing touchdowns with 32, 13th in receptions with 261 and 12th in scoring with 44 total touchdowns for 264 points). He also started Super Bowl XX. 

Shane Vereen (56th overall in 2011) didn't wow anyone as a rookie, but steadily improved into a contributor and had a huge game with 11 receptions in a Super Bowl XLIX win over Seattle. While a solid runner, his bigger impact came in the passing game, both as a receiver and in protection. He caught only eight passes in his first two seasons, but then grabbed 47 for 427 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 and 52 for 447 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. From 2012-2014, he ran 202 times for 849 yards (4.2 ypc) with six rushing touchdowns. 

New England has rarely used second round picks on running backs. Ike Forte (35th in 1976) played in only 23 games. Robert Weathers (40th in 1982) and Horace Ivory (44th in 1977) contributed, but not quite at the level of Faulk, Collins and Vereen. 

Wide receiver

super_bowl_xxxix-branch.jpg

The pickings have been slim for second round wide receivers. Deion Branch (65th in 2002) was the best during huis two stints with the team between 2002 and 2005 and 2010 and 2012. He helped the team win a pair of Super Bowls and was the Super Bowl XXXIX MVP after making 11 receptions in the title game for the second straight year. He finished his Patriots career eighth all time in receptions with 328 for 4,297 yards (10th in team history) and 24 receiving touchdowns. 

Vincent Brisby was taken 56th overall in 1993 and went on to play 83 games with 46 starts over seven seasons. He is 15th all-time in receptions with 217 for 3,142 yards and 14 touchdowns. 

There have been several misses at this spot over the years. Chad Jackson (2006) played in only 14 games in New England. Tony Simmons (1998) had the fastest 40 time at the Combine but lasted only three seasons with his production dropping each year from 23 catches as a rookie in 1998 to 19 in 1999 to 14 in 2000. In 1994, Bill Parcells tabbed Kevin Lee 35th overall and the Alabama product lasted two seasons while playing in seven games. In 1983, the Patriots drafted Darryal Wilson 47th overall, but he lasted just one season and appeared in nine games. 

Quarterback

cavanaugh_matt18.jpg

The Patriots have selected two quarterbacks in the second round since the 1970 merger - Matt Cavanaugh (50th in 1978) and Jimmy Garoppolo (62nd in 2014). In six seasons, Cavanaugh played in 52 games with 15 starts. He completed 206-of-385 passes for 3,018 yards with 19 TDs and 23 interceptions in his Patriots career. Garoppolo has made 11 appearances in two seasons backing up Tom Brady with zero starts. 

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