No team made fewer selections in the 2017 NFL draft than the New England Patriots.
No team has fewer selections from that year’s class remaining in the fold, either.
Edge-rushers Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise Jr. are the only ones left.
As things stand a year out, that retention tally of two matches the Patriots’ 2009 class with strong safety Patrick Chung and wide receiver Julian Edelman, the 2010 class with free safety Devin McCourty and tight end Rob Gronkowski, as well as the 2012 class with linebacker Dont’a Hightower and core special-teamer Nate Ebner. It also stands in stark contrast to the six remaining from both the 2015 and 2016 Patriots draft classes.
That comes with the territory when a war room maneuvers capital for veteran commodities, and in turn, walks away with the most abbreviated list of picks in franchise history.
Rivers, who was taken No. 83 overall out of Youngstown State before missing his rookie season with a torn ACL suffered during joint practices in August, marked the first card filled out by the Patriots last spring. Wise, who went No. 131 overall out of Arkansas and logged five sacks as a first-year pro, marked the third.
But the two who have moved on from Foxborough since hearing their names called 13 months ago haven’t moved far away.
That thought came to mind when Monday’s transaction wire revealed that the New York Jets had claimed Antonio Garcia.
Garcia, drafted No. 85 overall by way of Troy in 2017, was waived last Friday by New England with the non-football injury designation after being sidelined for all of last campaign due to blood clots in his lungs. His exit came after the Patriots traded for then-San Francisco 49er Trent Brown on Day 2 of April’s draft, and after the organization made Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn its initial phone call on Day 1.
Fellow offensive tackle Conor McDermott preceded Garcia on waivers eight months prior.
McDermott, picked at No. 211 by New England in 2017, had been eclipsed by undrafted rookie Cole Croston last preseason and was made available at the 53-man roster deadline in September. The Buffalo Bills had the highest waiver priority among the teams pursuing the UCLA grad’s services.
McDermott went on to appear in three games for the Bills last season, playing one snap on offense and 15 on special teams. He made his debut in Week 3.
If given full medical clearance in East Rutherford, Garcia – who’d been participating in New England’s voluntary offseason workout program – can hope a debut of his own will be in the cards in 2018. Perhaps a meeting with his former club on Nov. 25 or Dec. 30 will be, too.
McDermott and Garcia are now among a handful of ex-Patriots draft picks residing elsewhere in the division.
Current Miami Dolphins center Ted Larsen checked in as Patriots sixth-round pick in 2010 by way of North Carolina State. Another Dolphin in tight end AJ Derby was traded to the Denver Broncos during the 2016 campaign after entering the league as a sixth-round draft choice via Arkansas one year prior. And cornerback Darryl Roberts, chosen a round after Derby in 2015 out of Marshall, was claimed off waivers by the Jets to begin 2016.
So, that saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? It might not apply here.
But it is worth noting that two tackles the Patriots parted ways with didn’t make it out of the division.