There’s a time for everything – even a time to draft a long snapper.
Bill Belichick would tend to agree. He’s selected two during his tenure in the New England Patriots’ war room. And the 66-year-old head coach has been around long enough to take a punter, a couple kickers, three fullbacks, nine quarterbacks, 30 defensive backs and 157 players across 16 positions altogether.
But who have been the most recent Patriots draft picks at each position on the field? It is fair to wonder.
Let’s jog the memory before more arrive between April 26-28.
2016: Jacoby Brissett, third round, No. 91 overall
Brissett became the ninth QB drafted in the Belichick era, and the third-highest-selected one behind only Ryan Mallett in 2011 and Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014. He’s one of four to later be traded by New England, alongside the aforementioned and Matt Cassel.
2014: James White, fourth round, No. 130 overall
It has been four years since the Patriots last invested a draft pick in a running back – with the exception being the fifth-round compensation extended to the Buffalo Bills to acquire restricted free agent Mike Gillislee last spring. White’s the last 2014 selection remaining.
2006: Garrett Mills, fourth round, No. 106 overall
A do-it-all at Tulsa, Mills played tight end, H-back and fullback as well as special teams. His titles during his brief stay in New England included both tight end and fullback. Spencer Nead and converted halfback Patrick Pass were among those picked in the years prior.
2015: AJ Derby, sixth round, No. 202 overall
Speaking of position converts, Derby went from Iowa’s backup quarterback to Arkansas’ starting tight end, with a stop in between at Coffeyville Community College. His father, John, a former linebacker, was in camp with Belichick’s Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s.
2016: Malcolm Mitchell, fourth round, No. 112 overall; Devin Lucien, seventh round, No. 225 overall
Fifteen receivers have been drafted by the Patriots since 2000. Mitchell arrived with the team’s first pick of Day 3 in 2016, and Lucien – who spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was released from injured reserve during his second – marked the team’s last.
2017: Antonio Garcia, third round, No. 85 overall; Conor McDermott, sixth round, No. 211 overall
Neither Garcia nor McDermott played a regular-season down for the Patriots in 2017. Blood clots in Garcia’s lungs sent him to non-football illness list. And McDermott, who was eclipsed by undrafted rookie Cole Croston, was sent to waivers and claimed by the Bills.
2016: Joe Thuney, third round, No. 78 overall; Ted Karras, sixth round, No. 221 overall
Thuney played all five O-line spots during his time at North Carolina State, but as Dante Scarnecchia said shortly after the 6-foot-5, 304-pound was drafted, Thuney was “going to be an inside player unless disaster hits.” Karras has been one as well, at center and guard.
2014: Bryan Stork, fourth round, No. 105 overall
The Rimington Trophy recipient provided versatility over his two-plus years in Foxborough before being waived and later retiring, starting Super Bowl XLIX and stepping in at tackle, guard and fullback. David Andrews, undrafted in 2015, has since started 41 games at center.
2016: Vincent Valentine, third round, No. 96 overall
The Patriots drafted a defensive tackle in three-straight years, going from Dominique Easley to Malcom Brown to Valentine. Valentine, who recorded 19 tackles and one sack as a rookie, spent the entirety of 2017 on injured reserve due to a knee injury.
2017: Derek Rivers, third round, No. 83 overall; Deatrich Wise Jr., fourth round, No. 131 overall
Rush linebackers and 4-3 defensive ends are together here. And the fluid, 6-foot-5, 250-pound Rivers and the long-armed, 6-foot-5, 271-pound Wise serve both well. Rivers missed his rookie campaign with a torn ACL, while Wise played end and kicked inside for five sacks.
2016: Kamu Grugier-Hill, sixth round, No. 208 overall; Elandon Roberts, sixth round, No. 214 overall
Grugier-Hill, a linebacker-safety hybrid out of Eastern Illinois, was cut out for a special-teams role that has since been realized with the Philadelphia Eagles. Roberts, meanwhile, was cut out as a late-blooming downhill thumper who didn’t check the prototypical boxes.
2016: Cyrus Jones, second round, No. 60 overall
Jones’ rookie year included five fumbles and six healthy inactives, and it was followed by a 2017 that began on IR with a torn ACL suffered in the preseason finale. No. 41 is the lone corner on the Patriots’ roster that the organization drafted – excluding Devin McCourty.
2015: Jordan Richards, second round, No. 64 overall
Few spots have been addressed by the Patriots with more draft picks than safety, though Richards has played 185 more snaps in the kicking game than he has there. Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner and the aforementioned McCourty headline the drafted depth.
2006: Stephen Gostkowski, fourth round, No. 118 overall
The franchise’s all-time scoring leader was drafted one pick after the New York Jets took tailback Leon Washington and one pick before the Denver Broncos took wideout Brandon Marshall. Owen Pochman is the only other kicker the Patriots have drafted post-2000.
2010: Zoltan Mesko, fifth round, No. 150 overall
Mesko, replaced by undrafted two-time Ray Guy Award winner Ryan Allen in 2013, was the first punter the Patriots ever drafted under Belichick. The Michigan Wolverine, now an IBM employee and the co-founder of Exero Labs, is also still the last.
2015: Joe Cardona, fifth round, No. 166 overall
The Navy grad became the fourth long snapper-only prospect ever drafted, and joined Hawaii’s Jake Ingram as the second of the Belichick era. In the process, Cardona became the first Midshipman picked since guard Mike Wahle in the 1998 supplemental draft.