When looking at the Top 10 Patriots Draft Success in the Bill Belichick drafting era, it is really difficult to narrow the list down to 10. Off the top, I discounted all players from the 2009 and 2010 draft classes, as it is difficult to judge those players' legacy with the team. Even when you don't factor in picks such as Devin McCourty and Sebastian Vollmer, it is still incredibly difficult to narrow a list down to ten.
Based on how teams are supposed to draft, the general idea is that the higher you pick, the better your draft pick should be. Last decade, the Patriots made three draft picks in the first half of the first round, and all three turned into star players for the team, checking in at a three way tie at number ten. I should note that these guys were ranked lower on the list due to expectation vs. production. When a fourth round pick such as Asante Samuel, who isn't expected to be anything more than a role player becomes an All-Pro cornerback, he is naturally going to be ranked higher on this list than a player selected in the top ten who is supposed to be an impact guy / star player. At least, that's what made it easiest for me to compile this list.
#10T. Richard Seymour, DE, Georgia: Round 1, Pick 6, 2001
When Richard Seymour was first drafted, most saw him as a reach due to the fact that he was a tweener between defensive end and defensive tackle. Seymour silenced those doubters as a right end in the Patriots base 3-4 defense and by his second year, Seymour was starting and was an impact player. At times during the Patriots' dynasty run, Seymour was considered the best defensive player in the NFL. Not bad for Bill Belichick's highest draft pick of the decade.
#10T. Ty Warren, DE, Texas A&M: Round 1, Pick 13, 2003
Ty Warren has never made a Pro Bowl and has been underrated not only in his pro career, but ever since he came out of Texas A&M in 2003. But the Patriots knew better, and using the first round pick acquired from the Drew Bledsoe trade, moved up and took Warren. It was a wise move, as Warren continues to be one of the best run stuffing 3-4 defensive ends in the game today.
#10T. Jerod Mayo, ILB, Tennessee: Round 1, Pick 10, 2008
In just three years of on-field action, Jerod Mayo has gotten his name up there with the likes of Seymour and Warren. But he's really been that good. Seen by most as a mid to late 1st round pick, Bill Belichick, with the seventh pick in the first round, moved back three spots to number ten and still got his guy. Three years later, Mayo is an All-Pro inside linebacker and leader of the Patriots up and coming young defense.
Verdict: Bill Belichick certainly knows how to work the first half of the first round, given that his only three picks in that range have been bonafide NFL stars. Not too shabby.
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