The New England Patriots made nine selections in the 2014 NFL draft.
In wake of the Monday night shocker that shipped quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick, only two are left.
And cornerback Malcolm Butler, from rookie-camp tryout to Super Bowl XLIX savior to eventual Pro Bowler, doesn’t technically count as one of them.
It’d be laying it on a little thick to say 2014 was a draft class gone too soon. Was three years of backing up Tom Brady, and starting two games in his absence, worth the No. 62 overall investment in Garoppolo? Well, that might be, too. But time will tell.
Garoppolo, who turns 26 on Thursday, accrued perhaps 29 spots of draft interest over his time in Foxborough. The Eastern Illinois product did afford the Patriots with viable insurance behind a now-40-year-old Tom Brady, who was no given to earn an additional two Super Bowl MVPs following Garoppolo’s arrival, let alone re-up his contract through 2019.
But the Patriots made a play for the immediate on the eve of this week’s NFL trade deadline. And in turn, almost all of the 2014 draft class is now stored in the past.
Let’s revisit it.
PATRIOTS’ 2014 DRAFT CLASS
No. 29: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida – Easley logged 22 games, three starts, three sacks, one interception and two trips to injured reserve as a member of the Patriots before being waived in April 2016. The once-electric Gators interior rusher signed with the Los Angeles Rams two months later and recorded 3.5 sacks to go with two forced fumbles while appearing in all 16 games that season. Easley hit injured reserve for a third time ahead of 2017 after suffering his third ACL tear, putting his football future up against the odds.
No. 62: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois – The former Walter Payton Award winner went 63-of-94 passing for 690 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions over the course of 17 regular-season appearances for New England. Garoppolo went without throwing a pass in nine of those games, either kneeling down or handing off in relief of Brady, and did not enter into a game for the Patriots through the midway point of 2017 before being traded to San Francisco. But he soon will under Kyle Shanahan, and an 0-8 regime working with a six-year window.
No. 105: Bryan Stork, C, Florida State – Stork, who won the Rimington Trophy as part of the 2013 Seminoles national championship team, went on to start 21 of his 25 regular-season and playoff games for New England. Though after being a starter on the Super Bowl XLIX line, Stork suffered his third diagnosed concussion in three years and began 2015 on injured reserve. He was traded to the Washington Redskins ahead of 2016 in exchange for a conditional seventh-rounder, though the deal was nullified by a failed physical. The Patriots later waived Stork, who announced he was stepping away from his playing career last March.
No. 130: James White, RB, Wisconsin – White’s a long ways out from his redshirt rookie season, which at one point in those winter months left you refreshing the transaction wire. But since White’s nine-carry, five-catch beginnings, he’s emerged as one of not only the most productive receiving backs in franchise history, but one of the most productive currently in the league. White has played in 38 regular-season games since the start of 2015, securing 143 passes for 1,326 yards and with a league-best 10 touchdowns at the position. The ex-Badgers back also happened to ink a three-year extension this spring, soon after setting Super Bowl records with 14 receptions and 20 individual points. White is on pace for a team-high 86 receptions this season, which would be the most all-time for a Patriots back.
No. 140: Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford – Fleming’s tenure in Foxborough looked as though it’d come to an end as the cut to 53 transpired in 2015. Though after clearing waivers and enduring a brief stay on the practice squad, the jumbo tight end, part-time guard and swing tackle returned to the active roster. There he has remained since. Fleming has played in 39 regular-season games for the Patriots, with 15 starts, but has been a spectator in recent weeks with LaAdrian Waddle taking on expanded tackle duties behind Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon.
No. 179: Jon Halapio, G, Florida – Halapio was cut at the end of his rookie preseason and bounced between the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals, as well as the Boston Brawlers and Brooklyn Bolts, before rejoining for the 2016 preseason. Since then, the 2014 sixth-rounder has been with the New York Giants, mostly on the practice squad, before entering into his first career regular-season contest in Week 7.
No. 198: Zach Moore, DE, Concordia-St. Paul – The Patriots made Moore the first Concordia-St. Paul prospect ever drafted. The 6-foot-6, 275-pound defensive end played in eight games thenceforth as a rookie, logging three tackles, a half-sack and a forced fumble. Yet by the following fall, Moore was out. He’s spent time with four teams over the years since, and currently resides on the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad.
No. 206: Jemea Thomas, DB, Georgia Tech – A hard-hitting corner, nickel and safety with the Yellow Jackets, Thomas was unable to crack a place with the Patriots at any of the three. After battling injury and being waived during cutdowns in 2014, he was claimed by the Dallas Cowboys, then had stints with the then-St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans. Thomas played in two regular-season games that season.
No. 244: Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan – Gallon stood on the physically unable to perform list for much of his rookie preseason with New England, securing two passes for 20 yards in the finale before being waived. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound Wolverine has proceeded to make stops in the now-defunct Fall Experimental Football League, the Canadian Football League, the X-League and was picked by the Washington Valor of the Arena League in the 2016 dispersal draft. In between, Gallon was also an offseason member of the Oakland Raiders.
And that’s what’s gone and what’s left. White and Fleming, taken 10 picks apart, still linger from the Patriots’ 2014 draft class. Three others are out of the league. And while there are many layers to that fine line, it goes to show just how quickly things can change.
Garoppolo, the 49er, is the latest reminder.