Every NFL draft has its 32nd overall pick. But not all of them have arrived in the first round.
Only 14 prospects have been selected at No. 32 in the first round since 1995, when the league added two expansion teams – the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars – and dispersed an additional two choices between the initial two rounds to both franchises.
After that, there would not be another 32nd selection made in the first until 2002, when the Houston Texans were brought into the fold.
Of course, there were also the 2008 and 2016 drafts, which saw the first round draw to a close after just 31 selections as a result of the New England Patriots’ forfeitures of No. 31 and No. 29 overall, respectively. But the 2017 draft will be different for the Super Bowl LI champions. Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and the rest of New England’s war room will be back in the first round, and fortunate enough to be picking last.
It is the fifth time in which the Patriots have owned the rights to the first round’s 32nd draft slot. New England has made the pick three times, although if the organization ultimately stands pat on the night of April 27 – or, if no move is made prior to then – that number will stand at four.
So, just what caliber of player might New England find at the end of the first? For now, that question remains unanswered. But the history facing them provides a wide-ranging sample.
The 32nd spot of the first has been subject to four trades – including one executed by the Patriots in 2002 – and it has given way to two Pro Bowlers and one Pro Bowl alternate over the course of its existence. Altogether, four defensive linemen, three defensive backs, two offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, one running back, one tight end and one wide receiver have been taken in the first at No. 32.
Let’s revisit the list.
1995: Craig Newsome, CB, Packers
Green Bay inherited the 32nd selection from the expansion Panthers, and proceeded to draft Newsome. The Arizona State corner spent four seasons with the Packers before landing with the San Francisco 49ers via trade in September of 1999. That would be Newsome’s final season. He finished his NFL resume having started 48 of 53 games, collecting four interceptions and a Super Bowl XXXI ring along the way.
2002: Patrick Ramsey, QB, Redskins
The Super Bowl XXXVI champion Patriots sent the 32nd pick, as well as a third-rounder and a seventh-rounder, to Washington for the 21st. And as things shook out, the Patriots ended up with Colorado tight end Daniel Graham while the Redskins ended up with Ramsey. Ramsey, a Tulane product, went on to start 24 games over four seasons with Washington. He’d be a member of nine teams in all through his nine-year tenure in the league, going 511-of-913 passing for 5,930 yards, 35 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
2003: Tyler Brayton, DE, Raiders
Oakland selected back-to-back in 2003, first drafting California cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha at No. 31 before acquiring No. 32 through a trade with the team that beat them in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That swap would see the Raiders draft Brayton. The D-lineman by way of Colorado played five seasons in Oakland, before making stops with the Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. His NFL career concluded in 2011 after 141 games, 93 starts, 309 tackles, 17.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception.
2004: Ben Watson, TE, Patriots
After making a deal with the Baltimore Ravens to collect Miami nose tackle Vince Wilfork with the 21st pick, the Patriots turned to Watson with the 32nd choice. The Georgia tight end went on to log six seasons in Foxborough, securing 165 passes for 2,086 yards, 20 touchdowns and a Super Bowl ring. Watson left for the Cleveland Browns in 2010, and later caught a career-high 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns in 2015 while with the New Orleans Saints. He spent 2016 on the Ravens’ injured reserve as a result of a torn Achilles.
2005: Logan Mankins, G, Patriots
Fresh off a third Super Bowl victory in four years, the Patriots called Mankins’ name at No. 32 in 2005. The Fresno State offensive tackle went on to make his mark at guard, and finished his stay in New England having started all 130 regular-season games he appeared in while amassing six Pro Bowls, along with one first-team All-Pro and five second-team All-Pro honors. Mankins, who also earned spots on the franchise’s 50th anniversary and All-2000s teams, was later shipped to the Buccaneers before the 2014 season for a fourth-rounder and tight end Tim Wright. Mankins retired following another Pro Bowl campaign in 2015.
2006: Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Giants
New York swung a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers to move back into the first round in 2006. Kiwanuka was the byproduct. The Boston College defensive end proceeded to tally 412 tackles, 38.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, three interceptions and over 82 starts and 120 games with the Giants. Kiwanuka, who was released in early 2015, earned two Super Bowl rings at the Patriots’ expense over his nine seasons in the league.
2007: Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts
Indianapolis went wide in drafting Gonzalez out of Ohio State in 2007, and the first-round receiver went on to snare 99 passes for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns over five seasons with the team. Injuries limited Gonzalez to 11 games from 2009 through 2011. He made a stop by Gillette Stadium in March of 2012, but was released by the Patriots two months later.
2009: Ziggy Hood, DT, Steelers
After defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, Pittsburgh called Hood’s name with pick 32. The Missouri defensive tackle went on to accrue five seasons with the Steelers and has been a member of the Jaguars, Chicago Bears and Redskins over the past three seasons. Hood has recorded 197 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 10 batted passes and one forced fumble over 140 games and 60 starts since entering the league.
2010: Patrick Robinson, CB, Saints
New Orleans got their crack at No. 32 in 2010, and with it, the Super Bowl XLIV champs drafted Robinson out of Florida State. Robinson played his first five NFL seasons with the Saints, posting 180 tackles, 46 pass breakups, nine interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble over 58 games and 33 starts. He departed in free agency in 2015, signing with the San Diego Chargers on a one-year deal, and later agreed to a three-year pact with the Colts in 2016.
2011: Derek Sherrod, OT, Packers
The Super Bowl XLV champion Packers selected Sherrod to close out the first in 2011. But after 20 games, one start, and three-plus seasons, the former Mississippi State tackle was waived in the midst of 2014. Sherrod joined the Kansas City Chiefs on a reserve-futures contract that winter, but was let go at the cut to 53 players leading up to the 2015 season.
2012: David Wilson, RB, Giants
The Giants invested the final first-rounder of 2012 on Wilson, though after 21 career games, the Virginia Tech standout’s football career was over due to a neck injury. Wilson retired in August of 2014 at just 23 years old, after 546 rushing yards, 42 receiving yards, 1,755 kick-return yards and seven total touchdowns over 21 games and six starts. Wilson, who was part of the Hokies’ track and field team, set his focus on competing in the triple jump after leaving football.
2013: Matt Elam, S, Ravens
The Super Bowl XLVII champion Ravens looked to Elam back in 2013, and over his first two regular seasons with the team, the hard-hitter out of Florida started 26 games and appeared in all 32 to notch 127 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. A torn bicep, however, forced Elam to miss all of 2015. And after beginning 2016 on injured reserve with a knee injury, he returned to finish the year with just four tackles over nine games. The Ravens had declined Elam’s fifth-year option prior to the start of the 2016 season.
2014: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings
Minnesota worked their way back into the first round of the 2014 draft by sending No. 40 and No. 108 overall to the Seattle Seahawks. And with that, Bridgewater was a Viking. The Louisville QB went 552-of-849 through the air through his first two seasons in Minnesota, putting together 6,150 yards, 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions to go with four rushing scores. But during a practice session leading up to the start of 2016, Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee, a torn ACL, as well as other structural damage and was placed on injured reserve.
2015: Malcom Brown, DT, Patriots
The XLIX champion Patriots called upon a 21-year-old All-American to bookend the 2015 draft’s first round. And since then, Brown has played in every game while starting 25. The versatile Texas Longhorn earned All-Rookie honors in 2015 and has accumulated 98 tackles, six sacks, one safety and one forced fumble through his first two seasons on the interior in New England. Brown was on the field for 29 snaps in Super Bowl LI.