Yesterday, the New England Patriots announced the first wave of new jersey numbers. While the team's rookie class has yet to be assigned numbers, some of the team's veteran offseason additions and former practice squad players were already handed out theirs. Let's take a look back at who previously wore the newly handed-out numbers over the course of the Patriots' history.
WR Riley McCarron: #17
Jersey number 17 is currently most associated with mediocre-at-best wide receivers: Second-round busts Chad Jackson and Aaron Dobson wore it, as did Taylor Price and Dedric Ward. Before that, quarterbacks Jeff Carlson – one of the four men to start at the position in 1992 – and Mike Taliaferro wore it. Neither of the two had much success.
FS Duron Harmon: #21
21 had its ups and downs in the past: For every Ras-I Dowling and Fred Taylor there is a Randall Gay and – the biggest and most successful name of the bunch – Malcolm Butler. New England has to hope that Duron Harmon will continue his success playing under his new number.
CB Jason McCourty: #30
Jason McCourty, after being handed the number 30 from Duron Harmon, will try to duplicate the success the fellow defensive back had wearing it. By doing that, McCourty would write a new chapter in the relatively successful history of the jersey that was most famously worn by running back Mosi Tatupu from 1978 to 1990.
RB Jeremy Hill: #33
Last worn by Dion Lewis, number 33 has been a successful one for Patriots running backs over the last few decades: Kevin Faulk played an important role in three Super Bowl victories wearing it and had a franchise Hall of Fame career. Before Faulk, Tony Collins in the 1980s and Sam Gash in the 1990s set the bar for the number.
DE Keionta Davis: #58
58 is predominately a linebacker number: Shea McClellin, Darius Fleming and Matt Chatham all wore it in the past. The Patriot most closely associated with it, however, played another position: New England starting center Pete Brock wore the 58 jersey for 162 games over the 12 seasons from 1976 to 1987.
OT Matt Tobin: #64
Last worn by the likes of Chris Barker, Donald Thomas and Mark LeVoir, you have to go back all the way to the 1990s to find a regular starter donning 64: Center Dave Wohlabaugh wore it in 63 games for the team. Defensive lineman Richard Bishop also had success with the #64 jersey in the late 1970s.
OG Jason King: #65
While 65 currently has an unremarkable run with Jonathan Cooper and Jordan Devey last wearing it, it was previously worn by one of the best players in franchise history: Defensive tackle Houston Antwine donned it from 1961 to 1971 when he appeared in 144 games for the Patriots. Antwine is now a member of the All-AFL team and the Patriots Hall of Fame.
OC James Ferentz: #66
Center Bryan Stork and long snapper Lonie Paxton both won Super Bowls wearing 66, while Paul Fairchild was a seven-year starter at guard in the late 1980s. Even though it lacks the star power of some of the other jersey numbers assigned yesterday, 66 has had its share of success stories over the years.
OT Trent Brown: #67
Two of the greatest offensive linemen in Patriots history donned the #67 jersey: Dan Koppen wore it between 2003 and 2011 and Bill Lenkaitis from 1971 to 1981. Other noteworthy players who called 67 their own are guards Josh Kline and Steve Moore, both of whom started multiple games over the course of their tenures in New England.
DT Danny Shelton: #71
Last worn by backup tackle Cameron Fleming, 71 has a rich but not necessarily star-powered history with the Patriots: Offensive linemen Russ Hochstein and Todd Rucci wore it in the 2000s and 1990s, respectively, while defensive linemen Ray Hamilton and Don Oakes called it their own in the 1970s and 1960s.
OT Luke Bowanko: #72
Tim Goad, Mel Lunsford and Larry Eisenhower are some of the notable players to wear #72 in the past. The younger generation of Patriots fans will most closely associate it with offensive tackle Matt Light, however, who protected Tom Brady's blindside during three Super Bowl-winning seasons in the early 2000s.
OT Ulrick John: #77
Nate Solder's old number will be worn by free agency addition Ulrick John this year. And while Solder is the most decorated 77 in franchise history, he is far from the only player to successfully wear it: Fellow offensive tackles Nick Kaczur, Pat Harlow and Tom Neville all wore it in the past, as did former number one overall draft pick Kenneth Sims.
WR Jordan Matthews: #80
Jordan Matthews has some big shoes to fill as three of the greatest wide receivers in Patriots history all wore 80 on their jerseys: Irving Fryar, Troy Brown and Danny Amendola all secured their places in franchise history with the 80 on their chest. Tight end Don Hasselbeck and linebacker Jack Rudolph also were multi-year starters wearing it.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson: #84
While not as historically successful a number as 80, 84 also had some productive carriers in the past: Tight end Ben Watson donned it in the 2000s, while wide receivers Shawn Jefferson, Darryl Stingley and Art Graham all wore it before that.
TE Troy Niklas: #86
While David Patten, Greg McMurtry and Tony Romeo all were productive wide receivers wearing #86, there is one man that stands above the rest: Stanley Morgan. Between 1977 and 1989, the former first-round pick who now resides in the franchise Hall of Fame appeared in 187 games with the number 86 on his jersey. He is still the Patriots' all-time leader in receiving yards.
WR Kenny Britt: #88
After being worn by four tight ends in a row – Martellus Bennett, Scott Chandler, Matthew Mulligan, Jake Ballard –, 88 returns to a wide receiver in the form of Kenny Britt. The late Terry Glenn is the most noteworthy wideout to don the number in the past.
DE Adrian Clayborn: #94
Former first-round pick and two-time Super Bowl champion Ty Warren is the most famous 94 in Patriots history. The number that has since been worn mostly by role players like Chris Jones, Shaun Ellis and most recently Ricky Jean Francois.