The Patriots have the final pick of the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft and it's a pretty valuable position. Players selected in the first round have 5th year options baked into their contract so teams are willing to pay extra in a trade in exchange for that extra season of control. The fact that New England is known to trade will certainly help grease the wheels when it comes to interested parties on draft day, but it remains to be seen if the Patriots will want to move at all.
When the Houston Texans entered the league in 2002, the draft bumped to 32 selections per round; in the season prior, the San Diego Chargers selected Drew Brees with the 32nd overall pick, but it was the first pick of the second round.
Since the expansion, the Patriots have twice selected at 32nd, picking tight end Ben Watson and guard Logan Mankins in back-to-back season. Watson might not have lived up to the hype coming out of college, but he's scored the 15th most receiving touchdowns in Patriots history. He notched the 9th most receiving yards and 5th most receiving touchdowns in the draft class.
Mankins was possibly the Patriots second best guard in franchise history and his tenure in New England was bookended by two Super Bowl victories.
In 2006, the Steelers traded up to the Giants from the 32nd slot to take Santonio Holmes at 25th overall. New York selected Mathias Kiwanuka, a Dont'a Hightower type jackknife who has played both defensive end and linebacker for the Giants. He's currently still in New York.
It's fair to say that these three selections have been the best picks at 32 since the expansion.
A large number of these players have had their careers derailed due to injury, such as wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (2007, Colts), safety Kenny Phillips (2008, Giants), cornerback Patrick Robinson (2010, Saints), offensive tackle Derek Sherrod (2011, Packers), and running back David Wilson (2012, Giants).
In 2009, the Steelers selected defensive tackle Ziggy Hood. Hood was an interior tackle in a 4-3 scheme in college and the Steelers asked him to play defensive end in a 3-4 in the NFL. It did not work. Hood is now on the Jaguars.
The Ravens picked safety Matt Elam at 32nd in 2013, but he's been considered a disappointment; he wouldn't have been playing much in 2014 except for all of the injuries in the Baltimore secondary.
The Vikings selection of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the last draft still needs to time to evaluate, but he was developing as a player over the course of the season and posted the second best passer rating in the league over the final five games of the season.
New England will look to help buck the trend at 32nd overall and hopefully select a better contributor than their predecessors at the selection.