First and second round picks of the NFL draft are supposed to be the bread and butter of perennial contenders. Miss one of these picks and you can set your franchise back a few years.
2nd round, 52nd overall: LB Jamie Collins. 0 snaps vs Steelers.
The Patriots shipped Collins to the Cleveland Browns this year in exchange for a 2017 3rd round compensatory draft pick. Collins was a 2nd Team All Pro in 2015 and was supposed to take another leap in 2016; instead, he found himself at odds with the Patriots franchise vision. Collins is expected to sign a monster 4-year deal with the Browns.
2nd round, 59th overall: WR Aaron Dobson. 0 snaps vs Steelers.
After a promising rookie season, Dobson required foot surgery and never recovered. He is currently signed on a futures contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
1st round, 29th overall: DT Dominique Easley. 0 snaps vs Steelers.
Easley was released this offseason after going against the team doctors on multiple occasions. He has landed with the Los Angeles Rams and is a part of their defensive tackle rotation.
2nd round, 62nd overall: QB Jimmy Garoppolo. 0 snaps vs Steelers.
Garoppolo helped the Patriots clinch homefield advantage in the playoffs thanks to a stellar 1.5 games to start the season, but he didn’t play a single snap against the Steelers as the back-up quarterback.
1st round, 32nd overall: DT Malcom Brown. 45 defensive snaps, 3 special teams snaps vs Steelers.
Brown has been an excellent run defender for the Patriots in his two seasons with the team. He’s currently the second best defensive tackle on the roster, according to head coach Bill Belichick, and he’s improved on what seems like a weekly basis. He played 39 defensive snaps and 8 special teams snaps against the Texans.
2nd round, 64th overall: S Jordan Richards. 0 snaps vs Steelers.
Richards was a healthy scratch against the Steelers, a fairly common position for Richards in his second season. Richards was inactive for five regular season games this year, along with both playoff games. He’s not contributing like the Patriots would have hoped.
2nd round, 60th overall: CB Cyrus Jones. 0 snaps vs Steelers.
Jones was also a healthy scratch as he is the last cornerback on the depth chart. The Patriots weren’t willing to risk Jones’ fumblitis in the postseason and Jones’ return ability would be the only reason to activate the rookie.
Malcom Brown is the only Patriots 1st or 2nd round draft pick from the past four drafts to contribute to the Patriots this postseason. That’s terrible production from high draft picks.
So how do the Patriots keep getting away with it? Well, the Patriots acquired 2013 1st round LB Barkevious Mingo from the Browns, 2014 2nd round LB Kyle Van Noy from the Lions, and 2015 2nd round CB Eric Rowe from the Eagles, and all three have made plays for the Patriots over the past two weeks.
Van Noy is coming off one of his best games as a Patriot and could help offset the loss of Easley, while Rowe is doing his best to make Patriots fans forget about drafting Richards. New England has found ways to supplement the roster after failing to receive the necessary contributions from their draft picks.