Round 2, Pick #34 - Patrick Chung, SS
Round 2, Pick #40 - Ron Brace, DT
Round 2, Pick #41 - Darius Butler, CB (Carolina Panthers)
Round 2, Pick #58 - Sebastian Vollmer, RT
Round 3, Pick #83 - Brandon Tate, WR/KR (Cincinnati Bengals)
Round 3, Pick #97 - Tyrone McKenzie, LB (Minnesota Vikings)
Round 4, Pick #123 - Rich Ohrnberger, OG
Round 5, Pick #170 - George Bussey, OT
Round 6, Pick #198 - Jake Ingram, LS
Round 6, Pick #207 - Myron Pryor, DT
Round 7, Pick #232 - Julian Edelman, WR/CB/PR
Round 7, Pick #234 - Darryl Richard, DT
1. Eight of the twelve players picked by the Patriots in 2009 are still in the NFL, technically. Ron Brace is still on the roster but was inactive for most of the year and figures to be cut during this offseason. Myron Pryor spent 2011 on Injured Reserve, after finishing 2010 on Injured Reserve. Rich Ohrnberger spent 2011 on IR after bouncing between the active roster and the practice squad for his first two years. Tyrone McKenzie was on the Vikings practice squad in 2011. Brandon Tate was limited to kick return duties in Cincinnati, not catching a pass on offense all season. Both Chung and Volllmer missed significant portions of the 2011 season to injury. Butler started 6 games and played in 13, netting 33 tackles and 7 passes defensed.
It is somewhat fitting that the most productive on-field player in 2011 from this draft class was Julian Edelman, with 4 receptions, 28 kick returns, 4 rushing attempts and 18 tackles, playing in all three phases of the game.
2. Provided a return to health, both Chung and Vollmer have earned starting roles, with Vollmer being a borderline all-pro candidate at RT. Edelman is a valuable player who contributes everywhere, including as the emergency 4th QB, scout team QB and disproven assault allegations. I am more optimistic that Pryor claims a role with the 2012 Patriots as a rotation DL but his health is a huge question. I have no doubt Ron Brace will be looking for work elsewhere.
McKenzie has an outside shot at a roster spot in MIN; Tate seems a lock to have one as a KR specialist somewhere, most likely CIN. Butler might have carved himself a niche in Carolina - maybe he regained his confidence there, and if so, good for him. His problem in NE wasn't skill, it was mental.
3. Although 2 starters, a do-everything guy and a rotation DL is not TERRIBLE, it's reasonable to say that this was a less than perfect draft for the Patriots. The expectations for 4 2nd round picks was higher than "2 starters, a washout CB and a DT who never found the field". That said, you cannot "FAIL" a draft if you net multiple starters and both Chung & Vollmer have shown enough to be considered NFL starters, with Vollmer showing the potential for much more than that. If Vollmer's back is healthy and he returns to the Pro Bowl a couple more times (not unreasonable), then this was a better draft than it appears now.
As it is, the results merit nothing more than a solid "C".
**I'm gonna go through every draft and re-grade them. In the end, will any other team net 2 starters, a jack of all trades and a rotation guy from this draft? I'm curious to find out - and to compare everyone's "washout" percentages at the end of the exercise. Stay tuned.**
EDIT: Thanks to SuperNomario for catching the Ohrnberger mistake, now corrected.
Edited by soxfan121, 07 February 2012 - 10:28 AM.