The New England Patriots built a dynasty in the 21st century with a foundation of talented, bought-in players of the homegrown variety.

They’ve developed the greatest player in the history of the sport. They’ve drafted impact offensive skill players. The Patriots have hit on first-round talents and found value in late rounds that molded into true leadership roles inside the locker room.

Ultimately, each path to success, no matter the era, for the Patriots came from the base of the franchise’s own draft picks.

In a talented history of selections, here are the top five picks:

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5. John Hannah (1973)
Hannah came to the Patriots as the No. 4 overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft out of Alabama. The guard became a staple of the Patriots’ offensive line, leading the battle in the trenches and keeping himself on the field.

Hannah, a seven-time All-Pro, played in at least 13 games in 11 of his 13 NFL seasons. He emerged as a franchise staple and finally earned the chance for glory in his final season, reaching Super Bowl XX with New England before an eventual loss to the Chicago Bears.

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Hannah earned a spot on the All-Decade team for both the 1970s and the 1980s.

4. Ty Law (1995)
Shutdown corners elevated the Patriots during the dynasty. Stephon Gilmore and Darrelle Revis entered that role, though it was Ty Law who established the No. 1 corner spot in New England (most of whom eventually wore No. 24).

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Law joined the Patriots in 1995 as the No. 23 overall pick out of Michigan. The defensive back locked down historically talented receivers, posted seasons where he led the NFL in passes defended and interceptions while establishing a hard-nosed identity with the Patriots defense.

Law stepped up in the postseason as well, returning a pick-six in Super Bowl XXXVI. His standout performance, however, came with a trip of interceptions against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the 2003 AFC Championship, a key victory on the path to the second of three championships Law won with the Patriots.

3. Julian Edelman (2009)
The Patriots weren’t exactly sure what to do with Edelman when they selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

It’s safe to say they found a role for him.

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After playing quarterback in college at Kent State, Edelman made an impact as a punt returner and filled in on defense before finding a home as a dynamic slot receiver. Earning his quarterback’s trust, Edelman became a postseason hero with clutch catch after clutch catch while setting receiving records to boost the Patriots to three titles, ending with a Super Bowl LIII MVP nod against the St. Louis Rams.

2. Rob Gronkowski (2010)
Injuries during Gronkowski’s college career at Arizona dropped him on the draft board. The Patriots took advantage of a future star falling to the second round.

New England drafted Gronkowski with the No. 42 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. As the Patriots embarked on the second half of the dynasty, Tom Brady picked up an unstoppable weapon at offense.

Gronkowski scored 10 or more touchdowns in five of his first six NFL seasons, including 17 during a dominant 2011 campaign. As the best in the game at his position, Gronkowski impacted every aspect of the game, from pass-catching to run-blocking.

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The 6-foot-6 tight end got it done in the postseason as well, hauling in three touchdown receptions in his Super Bowl career with the Patriots.

1. Tom Brady (2000)
This doesn’t just apply to the Patriots.

Getting the best quarterback to ever play the sport in the sixth round with the No. 199 overall pick? That might be the best selection ever.

This choice on the list was obvious.

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Brady transformed the Patriots forever, bringing six titles to New England with three NFL MVPs and four Super Bowl MVP awards. No player impacted the Patriots more than Brady, whose 20-year run in New England defined the generation.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images