Barring a trade, 71 NFL draft prospects will hear their names called Thursday and Friday night before the New England Patriots go on the clock for the first time in Philadelphia.
The Patriots, who have been very willing to deal draft picks for proven talent this offseason, will not make their first selection in the 2017 NFL Draft until the eighth pick of the third round — No. 72 overall. That would be the longest New England ever has waited without drafting a player since the franchise’s inception in 1960.
To get a sense of what kind of player the Patriots can expect to nab at No. 72, we took a look back at the players they have chosen in the third round of each of the last 10 drafts. The results were decidedly mixed.
Note: The Patriots currently have two selections in the third round, as they also own pick No. 96.
Guard Joe Thuney (78th overall), quarterback Jacoby Brissett (91st), defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (96th)
It’s still early, but this third-round trio showed plenty of promise in its first taste of NFL action. Thuney has been New England’s starting left guard from the day he arrived in Foxboro, Brissett performed admirably while Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo were sidelined and Valentine appeared in 13 games and tallied 19 tackles as a D-line reserve.
Defensive end Geneo Grissom (97th)
Grissom was a core special teamer in 2016, but he’s yet to make a significant impact on the defensive side of the ball. He played just 11 defensive snaps all season after logging 130 as a rookie in 2015.
Cornerback Logan Ryan (83rd), safety Duron Harmon (91st)
These were two slam-dunk picks. Ryan spent two seasons as the Patriots’ primary No. 2 cornerback before landing a three-year, $30 million contract with the Tennessee Titans last month. Harmon, a virtual unknown entering the draft, developed into perhaps the team’s most underrated defender. New England re-signed him to a four-year, $17 million deal earlier this offseason.
Defensive end Jake Bequette (90th)
Swing and a miss. Bequette spent three seasons with the Patriots but appeared in just eight games and did not record a single tackle. New England attempted to switch him to tight end during the summer prior to the 2015 season before ultimately releasing him.
Running back Stevan Ridley (73rd), quarterback Ryan Mallett (74th)
Though he fumbled too much for coach Bill Belichick’s liking, Ridley otherwise was a solid back during his four seasons with the Patriots. His best year came in 2012, when he carried the ball 290 times for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. A torn ACL ended his 2014 campaign, however, and he hasn’t been the same since.
Mallett, meanwhile, has yet to have any semblance of success as an NFL starter and probably is best known for getting yelled at by Houston Texans coaches on “Hard Knocks.” He currently backs up Joe Flacco in Baltimore.
Wide receiver Taylor Price (90th)
With the exception of Chad Jackson (second-round pick in 2006), Price was the biggest wide receiver whiff of Belichick’s Patriots tenure. He caught just five passes in a Pats uniform before being cut midway through his second NFL season.
Wide receiver Brandon Tate (83rd), linebacker Tyrone McKenzie (97th)
Tate never really found a foothold in New England, but he went on to have a nice run with the Cincinnati Bengals as a kick and punt returner. He’s now entering his second season with the Buffalo Bills. As for McKenzie, I honestly forgot he even existed. He never appeared in a game for the Patriots and has been out of the NFL since 2012.
Linebacker Shawn Crable (78th), quarterback Kevin O’Connell (94th)
Oof, this was a rough one. Crable and O’Connell appeared in a grand total of eight games between them before washing out of the league.
Left thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images
Right thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images