The Patriots are locked and loaded to crush it with six picks in the first three rounds of April's draft, and while it's highly unlikely that they'll keep all of those picks, let's take a look at how they've used those selections in the past.
The Pats have two picks in each of the first three rounds — Nos. 17, 28, 33, 60, 74 and 92 overall — which gives them the flexibility to package them and trade up or sell some off for assets in the 2012 draft. (They've also got the 28th pick in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, but the overall number won't be determined until the league awards its compensatory selections in late March.)
So here is what the Patriots have done when picking in each of those six spots.
Pick No. 17
Running back John Stephens (1988)
The Northwest State product got off to a brilliant start to his career, rushing for 1,168 yards and four touchdowns while winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and earning a Pro Bowl berth in his first season. Stephens eclipsed 800 yards in his next two seasons but never again reached the 1,000-yard mark. In five seasons with the Patriots, he registered 3,249 rushing yards, 781 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. Stephens was out of the league after spending the 1993 season with the Packers and Chiefs.
Center Damien Woody (1999)
The Boston College product played center and guard for five seasons with the Patriots and won two Super Bowls with them. He then played four seasons with the Lions and three with the Jets, and Woody is a free agent this offseason.
Pick No. 28
Center Trevor Matich (1985)
The BYU product spent most of his 12-year career as a long snapper, but he filled in as a reserve on the Patriots' offensive line during his four-year tenure in New England. Matich also played for the Lions, Jets, Colts and Redskins.
Linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer (1999)
He won the Butkus Award at Ohio State and entered the NFL with high expectations, but he suffered a neck injury during his rookie season that derailed his career. Katzenmoyer had 3.5 sacks and one interception as a rookie, but the neck injury limited him in 2000 and washed out his 2001 campaign. He retired in 2002.
Pick No. 33
The Patriots have never drafted out of the 33rd spot, but they've made a few notable selections in that general area, taking tight end Ben Watson with the 32nd pick in 2004, left guard Logan Mankins with the 32nd pick in 2005 and safety Patrick Chung with the 34th pick in 2009.
Pick No. 60
The Patriots have never drafted out of the 60th spot, but they've made a few notable selections in the general area, taking tackle Sebastian Vollmer with the 58th pick in 2009, cornerback Terrence Wheatley with the 62nd pick in 2008 and linebacker Brandon Spikes with the 62nd pick in 2010.
Pick No. 74
Wide receiver Stephen Starring (1983)
The McNeese State product had 112 receptions for 1,865 yards and 11 touchdowns during five seasons with the Patriots. After splitting the 1988 season between Detroit and Tampa Bay, Starring retired.
Running back Curtis Martin (1995)
The Pittsburgh product was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. He is fourth all time with 14,101 rushing yards, and he is 12th with 90 career rushing touchdowns. The six-time Pro Bowler was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1995 when he rushed for 1,487 yards and tied a career high with 14 touchdowns. In three seasons with the Patriots, Martin had 3,799 rushing yards, 890 receiving yards and 37 total touchdowns. He played the last eight seasons of his career with the Jets.
Pick No. 92
The Patriots have never drafted out of the 92nd spot, but they took wide receiver Taylor Price with the 90th pick in 2010. There haven't really been any other notable picks in that immediate vicinity.
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