Pro Football Focus has been around for a fair while now and they're respected as legitimate players in the football world, offering advanced analytics to media outlets and NFL teams alike. They map every snap of every game and attribute a grade to each player based upon how they perform.
So they have the ability to evaluate teams and be considered knowledgeable on the subject. In this case, they're breaking down the Patriots draft picks from 2009 to 2011.
They give the Patriots top marks for the selection of Rob Gronkowski:
Rob Gronkowski, TE (42nd overall pick in 2010): Injuries have impacted his playing time the past two years but it’s still worth noting that in his four years Gronkowski has managed 3,303 snaps for the Patriots. In that time he has established himself as the premier tight end in the NFL and one of few capable of contributing as both a receiver and blocker.
And near bottom grades for both Ron Brace and Ras-I Dowling:
Ron Brace, DT (40th overall pick in 2009): Some saw him as the best 2009 Boston College defensive tackle. He wasn’t and while the Patriots kept him around for a while he could never break a pretty lackluster rotation, ending up playing just 494 snaps that earned a -6.1 grade.
Ras-I-Dowling, CB (33rd overall pick in 2011): Second-round pick cut two years into his career? Yep that’s a whiff.
Go take a peek and let us know what you think.