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Pats Madness: Welcome to the Elite Eight!

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Related: Help us choose the biggest bust of the Bill Belichick era!

Filling out brackets is a March tradition. It’s no different here at Pats Pulpit — Coronavirus be damned! Last year, we looked at the best games of the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick era, which was fun, but this year, we’re doing something a little different: we decided to take a look at the biggest busts of the Belichick era.

They could be draft picks, free agent signings, or trade acquisitions. We picked 32 of the biggest disappointments, and arranged them into a bracket for you to fill out.

Today, voting continues with the Elite — or rather: Unelite — Eight. Make sure to vote in every one of the matchups and discuss your choices in the comment section below!

(Note: if you’re visiting via Google AMP or Apple News go to the full website version to vote)

#1 Chad Jackson vs #2 Cyrus Jones

A slightly surprising win by Cyrus Jones over Antonio Brown sets up a matchup between two failed second-round draft picks. The question you must answer is: Who was the worse whiff? The receiver who couldn’t figure out offense in the NFL and get on the field, or the defensive back whose best contribution to the Patriots was a muffed punt while he was playing for the Baltimore Ravens? They were both big-time misses for New England, but my vote goes to Jackson.

Poll

#1 Chad Jackson vs #2 Cyrus Jones

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Chad Jackson
    (209 votes)
  • 44%
    Cyrus Jones
    (170 votes)
379 votes total Vote Now

#1 Dominique Easley vs #2 Adalius Thomas

These two have both cruised to this matchup. Both Easley and Thomas got over 70% of the vote in their respective polls in the Sweet Sixteen, and now they face off against each other. I’m torn on this one, because I think Thomas is the quintessential bust: he received a huge contract in free agency, played pretty well his first year, and then, not only did his game fall off, but he turned into a locker room cancer that almost brought down the whole damn team in 2009. Easley, however, could be Belichick’s worst draft pick: at the end of the first round, instead of taking a guy who could help right away, like DeMarcus Lawrence, Belichick reached for a player who showed great explosion early in his college career, but had a history of knee problems. Easley is a guy that Bill probably never should have drafted in the first place, where Thomas is a guy whose fall was because of his attitude. To me, that pushes me to vote for Easley.

Poll

#1 Dominique Easley vs #2 Adalius Thomas

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Dominique Easley
    (251 votes)
  • 33%
    Adalius Thomas
    (127 votes)
378 votes total Vote Now

#1 Duke Dawson Jr. vs #2 Jordan Richards

Dawson had a close matchup last round against Albert Haynesworth, and he has another one in this round against Jordan Richards. Richards never should have been drafted where he was: a guy that Belichick reached on in the second round, even though no one had him graded higher than a sixth-round talent. Mel Kiper Jr. literally didn’t even have any notes on him when he was drafted. Throw in the fact that most fans think he almost singlehandedly lost the Patriots Super Bowl 52, and it should not really that close. That is why, although Dawson is the only player in the Belichick era to not make it into his second year with the team after being drafted in the first two rounds, my pick goes to Richards.

Poll

#1 Duke Dawson vs #2 Jordan Richards

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Duke Dawson
    (159 votes)
  • 57%
    Jordan Richards
    (218 votes)
377 votes total Vote Now

#1 Ras-I Dowling vs #2 Aaron Dobson

Our last matchup could be a battle for the ages. Dowling was selected with pick No. 33, after Belichick had a full day and night to accept the entire league’s trade offers for the first selection in the second round. Unfortunately, he turned down any possible offers for the honor of selecting Dowling, who would finish his career in New England with exactly 10 tackles. Dobson, on the other hand, was taken in the second round in 2013, when the Patriots were in desperate need of wide receiver help Everything that scouts said about him seemed to be untrue: he was slow, could neither make the tough nor the easy catch, and never fought for a contested reception. The Dobson selection annoys me more, because I genuinely thought he would be good, and was excited about him, but Dowling might be a bigger bust, because he could never even really get on the field due to injuries. That year’s draft, however, was almost completely devoid of talent, and the Patriots passed on Pro Bowler Keenan Allen to take Dobson, so that is going to sway my vote to Dobson here.

Poll

#1 Ras-I Dowling vs #2 Aaron Dobson

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Ras-I Dowling
    (271 votes)
  • 27%
    Aaron Dobson
    (105 votes)
376 votes total Vote Now