Comparing the Patriots' and their Rivals' 2010-12 Drafts

A lot of people have been writing articles like: "Is the Patriot Dynasty over?". Pundits have proclaimed that the Patriots have two years, max, as kings of the division. What they miss is that this isn't the same Patriots team. With the exception of Brady and Belichick, the team is almost completely different. What's also interesting is how the entire team has been rebuilt within the past three years. (I've included UDFAs as part of the draft classes)

Starters: McCourty at CB/S (captain), Rob Gronkowski (future HOF TE), Aaron Hernandez (elite TE), Brandon Spikes (solid LB), Zoltan Mesko (solid punter), Kyle Love (DT), Nate Solder (Pro Bowl T), Stevan Ridley (top-10 RB), Chandler Jones (DROY candidate DE), Dont'a Hightower (starting LB), Alfonzo Dennard (solid CB),

Contributors: Dane Fletcher, Shane Vereen, Ryan Mallett, Marcus Cannon, Brandon Bolden, Justin Francis

Players with Potential: Ras-I Dowling, Jake Bequette, Nate Ebner, Jeff Demps,

The bottom line is that over the past three years, we've obtained 11 home-grown starters, 6 contributors, and 4 players with potential. That's a very good statistic for a Super Bowl contender.

Let's examine our competition: The Broncos, the Texans, and the Ravens

Ravens first:

2010: Terrence Cody (3 starts this past year, only 1 year of some production), Ed Dickson (starting TE), Dennis Pitta (top-10 TE), Arthur Jones (backup DL), Ramon Harewood (backup G)

2011: Jimmy Smith (backup CB), Torrey Smith (solid WR), Jah Reid (backup G), Tandon Doss (3rd string WR, no playing time), Chykie Brown (backup CB), Phernell McPhee (starting DE), Anthony Allen (3rd string RB), Josh Bynes (backup ILB)

2012: Courtney Upshaw (starting LB), Christian Thompson (3rd string S), Asa Jackson (3rd string CB), DeAngelo Tyson (3rd string DE), Bernard Pierce (solid RB), Justin Tucker (kicker)

Bottom line: They have obtained 7 starters, 6 contributors, and 7 players with potential. As we can see, those numbers aren't as good as the Patriots but they still are solid. During that period, they also used draft picks for short-term deals like: Anquan Boldin. Overall, they have a lot of free agents: Ed Reed, a gap at MLB, Dennis Pitta, Cary Williams, Joe Flacco, Kemeatu, McKinnie, Kruger, Ellerbe, Boldin. That's 10 starting positions. This team is clearly at a crossroads - they can either blow it up or try to keep everyone together for a while in order to make a few more runs before completely imploding.

Let's take a look at a team praised for drafting, the Texans:

2010: Kareem Jackson (starting CB), Ben Tate (backup RB), Earl Mitchell (backup DT), Darryl Sharpton (starting LB), Garrett Graham (contributing TE)

2011: JJ Watt (all-pro DE), Brooks Reed (starting LB), Brandon Harris (3rd string CB), Rashad Carmichael (3rd string CB), Shiloh Keo (backup CB), TJ Yates (backup QB), Derek Newton (backup RT), Lestar Jean (3rd string WR)

2012: Whitney Mercilus (backup LB), DeVier Posey (3rd string WR), Ben Jones (starting RG), Keshawn Martin (3rd string WR), Jared Crick (backup DE), Nick Mondek (backup OT)

So they got 5 starters, 9 contributors, and 5 players with potential. Overall, not horrible, but I wouldn't say they're at the Patriots level. In fact, JJ Watt sort of saves the rest of the drafting. Overall, their roster is not incredibly deep. They're still young and talented and so we'll continue to see them, but I expect Luck's Colts to reassert Indy dominance in a couple years, if not before.

Finally, the Broncos:

2010: Demaryius Thomas (top-10 WR), Zane Beadles (starting G), JD Walton (starting C), Eric Decker (starting WR)

(NOTE: This was the much maligned Josh McDaniels draft - with Tebow who I'm not including because he's not with the team)

2011: Von Miller (DPOY), Rahim Moore (starting S), Orlando Franklin (starting OT), Quinton Carter (backup S), Jeremy Beal (backup DE), Chris Harris (starting CB)

2012: Derek Wolfe (starting DT), Brock Osweiler (backup QB), Ronnie Hillman (3rd string RB), Omar Bolden (3rd string CB), Philip Blake (backup C), Malik Jackson (3rd string DE), D. Trevathan (3rd string LB), Steven Johnson (3rd string LB)

So they have obtained 9 starters, 4 contributors, and 5 players with potential. We see that while they've had great success drafting, its actually only on-par or a little lower than the Patriots. Overall, we see that the Patriots are the only team to have replaced more than half of their starters in the last three years through homegrown young talent.

What does it mean?

In other words, our team has a lot of young talent, more than any of our current rivals. If we continue to draft well, we will be well set up for another dynasty, a new run. When we finally do win that Super Bowl, we'll be able to point to 2010 as year 1 of the new era.

What do you guys think? If you'd like me to analyze other teams in this way, let me know.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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