There's pretty much a zero-percent chance that the New England Patriots will ever recuperate their 2016 first round pick (or 2017 4th round pick), which was stripped as the result of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's inadequacies and inability to understand basic scientific principles.
That 1st round pick is really going to hurt, since the Patriots 1st round picks over the prior nine seasons have turned into tremendously important figures for the franchise.
In 2007, the Patriots had the 24th overall pick from trading wide receiver Deion Branch to the Seahawks and used it on safety Brandon Meriweather. The team's own 28th overall pick was traded to the 49ers in exchange for a 4th round pick and a 2008 1st round pick. That 4th round pick was traded to the Raiders for wide receiver Randy Moss.
In 2008, the Patriots used their 7th overall pick, acquired the prior season from the 49ers for New England's 2007 28th overall pick, and moved down to 10th overall to select linebacker Jerod Mayo to replace Tedy Bruschi in the heart of the defense. The Patriots own 1st round pick was stripped due to LocationGate.
In 2009, the Patriots traded multiple times and turned their 23rd overall pick into cornerback Darius Butler (41st overall), wide receiver Brandon Tate (83rd overall), wide receiver Julian Edelman (232nd overall), and a 2010 2nd round pick that was used to select tight end Rob Gronkowski.
In 2010, the Patriots traded down from the 22nd overall pick to the 27th overall as the Rutgers pipeline opened and defensive back Devin McCourty was selected. McCourty went on to have an All Pro rookie season at cornerback and is now one of the league's premier free safeties. The picks obtained from trading down turned into tight end Aaron Hernandez and wide receiver Taylor Price.
In 2011, New England drafted Starting left tackle Nate Solder at 17th overall, with the pick originally from trading defensive lineman Richard Seymour to the Raiders, and running back Shane Vereen with the 2nd round pick derived from trading the 28th overall pick to the Saints for New Orleans' 2011 2nd round pick and 2012 1st round pick. Both players were extremely integral in the Patriots winning the 2014 Super Bowl.
In 2012, the Patriots cashed in on the draft picks and selected starting defensive end Chandler Jones and starting linebacker Dont'a Hightower at 21st and 25th overall. Both players are cornerstones of the franchise's rapidly improving defensive unit.
In 2013, the team actually traded down and out of the first round with the Vikings, but managed to convert the four acquired draft picks into superstar linebacker Jamie Collins (52nd overall), starting cornerback Logan Ryan (83rd overall), wide receiver Josh Boyce (102nd overall), and starting running back LeGarrette Blount (acquired by trading the Vikings' 7th round pick to the Buccaneers). Three out of four impact players ain't bad.
In 2014, defensive lineman Dominique Easley was a projected top 10 pick that plummeted down the draft board due to ACL injuries and the Patriots drafted him at 29th overall. Unfortunately, both of his seasons have landed him on the injured reserve, which has made him impact harder to evaluate. But at least when he's available, he ranks as a top 5 pass rusher in the NFL from the defensive interior and the team felt his loss down the stretch on 2015.
In 2015, another defensive lineman in Malcom Brown fell down the draft boards from his expected projection inside the top 20 and the Patriots were able to take advantage at 32nd overall. Brown quickly became the Patriots top defensive tackle, leading the position group in snaps over 2015 as he projects to be a key starter for years to come.
Think of this: the Patriots have converted their first round picks over the past nine seasons into Randy Moss, Jerod Mayo, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Nate Solder, Shane Vereen, Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, LeGarrette Blount, Dominique Easley, and Malcom Brown, plus other prospects that haven't panned out like Brandon Meriweather (although he probably should be on that first list if shorter-term impact players like Hernandez and Ryan are), Shawn Crable, Taylor Price, Josh Boyce, and others.
The last bad first round was running back Laurence Maroney in the 2006 Draft, and even he averaged the 3rd most yards per game of any Patriots running back drafted by the team over the past 30 years (min. 20 games played). That pick hurts more because he was selected just ahead of other star running backs like DeAngelo Williams and Maurice Jones-Drew.
First round picks are extremely important because teams will have control over the player for their first five seasons in the NFL. The Patriots turn their first round picks into borderline All Pro talents on a regular basis and the 2016 Draft is full of potential impact players.
The bottom of the 1st round will have a few can't-miss offensive tackle prospects in Michigan State's Jack Conklin, Ohio State's Taylor Decker, and Indiana's Jason Spriggs that the Patriots could've selected to be the long term replacement for right tackle Sebastian Vollmer.
There are potential blue chip offensive players that could really take the Patriots to new grounds in Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry, Texas Christian wide receiver Josh Doctson, Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller, and maybe even Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, should the star back make an Easley- or Brown-like fall.
The Patriots no longer have the draft capital to maneuver the board as easily as they typically would like, thanks to the NFL's penalty.
Losing Brady for four games due to suspension would hurt the team for a quarter of the season. Losing the first round pick affects the franchise for the next five years.