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Top 10 Belichick-Era Patriots Draft Successes: #6 Deion Branch

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[Editor's Note: For the month of April leading up to the draft, Bud Light will be sponsoring the NFL blogs here at SB Nation.  Each day, we'll count down the top 10 Bill Belichick era Patriots "busts" and "booms" in the NFL draft." -Greg

Belichick-Era Patriots Top 10 Successes #6

Name: Deion Branch

College: Louisville

Drafted: 2nd Round, 65th Overall, 2002

Position: Wide Receiver

Years with Team: 5

Where is he now? New England Patriots Starting Wide Receiver

Comments: Strange how quickly Deion Branch's story with the Patriots went from something of a mixed bag due to his contract dispute in 2006 to a feel good story with his return and resurgence in 2010.  Still, there's no question that the Patriots' selection of Branch, at the tail end of round two, was one of the biggest success of the Bill Belichick drafting era.  Undersized but explosive, Branch was seen as a late day one or early day two pick by most teams (day one equaled three rounds in that time).  But the Patriots were bold with their selection of Branch.  Branch initially exploded onto the scene before hitting the rookie wall in 2002.  But by 2003, he was starting and producing big plays in big playoff games, including his 10 catch, 143 yard game in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Panthers and against the Steelers in the 2004 playoffs.  And oh yeah... his 11 catch and MVP winning performance against the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.  Forgot about that one.  When you turn a LATE second round pick into that kind of production, that pick will always be considered a major success.  The only thing keeping him out of the top five on this list is the fact that he was gone for four years... yeah.

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