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A Patriots glance through the NFL draft’s past 23 picks at No. 23 overall

Revisiting 23 years of prospects taken where New England stands: No. 23.

Patriots v Chargers Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Which prospects have gone No. 23 overall over the last 23 NFL drafts?

The New England Patriots, currently holding the rights to that slot, don’t need to take the trivia into account this April.

But while the answers over that span exclude franchise pillars in offensive tackle Bruce Armstrong and cornerback Ty Law, picked in 1987 and 1995, respectively, they do include past and present members of New England’s roster.

And the reference points also include a pair of second-team All-Pro selections, 11 combined Pro Bowls as well as six players who started north of 100 games.

Here are the 23 names from 23 drafts.

1997: Antowain Smith, running back, Houston

The former Buffalo Bills draft choice rushed for 354 yards the regular season prior to signing with New England. Smith proceeded to rush for 1,157 yards and a dozen touchdowns on the way to Super Bowl XXXVI, where he’d gain 92 yards on the ground. Smith remained to start Super Bowl XXXVIII, and crossed into the end zone. The 6-foot-2, 232-pound back made additional stops with the Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans. Smith played in 131 games, handling 6,881 yards and 54 touchdowns rushing to go with 982 yards and three scores receiving.

1998: Mo Collins, guard, Florida

Collins, a member of Florida’s 1997 national championship team, started 64 of his 71 games for the Oakland Raiders and appeared in one Super Bowl. In 2014, Collins passed away at the age of 38. He was in his first season as head coach at West Charlotte High School, his alma mater.

1999: Antoine Winfield, cornerback, Ohio State

Winfield intercepted 27 career passes and registered 1,094 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and five touchdowns. The winner of the Jim Thorpe Award was voted to three Pro Bowls and earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2008. Winfield started 173 of his 191 career games between the Bills and Minnesota Vikings before retiring in the summer of 2013. His son, Antoine Winfield Jr., is among the top defensive back prospects in the 2020 draft.

2000: Rashard Anderson, cornerback, Jackson State

Anderson played two seasons with the Carolina Panthers before violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy resulted in suspensions. Following reinstatement, Carolina released Anderson. Over 27 games and nine starts with the Panthers, he notched 75 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown. Anderson later signed with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.

2001: Deuce McAllister, running back, Mississippi

McAllister eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in four of his seasons with the Saints and twice scored double-digit touchdowns. The Ole Miss Rebel finished his career in 2009 as a two-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl XLIV champion and eventual member of the Saints Hall of Fame. McAllister amassed 1,429 carries for a franchise-record 6,096 yards with 49 touchdowns. In the passing game, he collected 249 receptions for 1,720 yards and five TDs.

2002: Napoleon Harris, linebacker, Northwestern

Harris played in 100 games through tours with the Raiders, Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs. He tallied 481 career tackles, including seasons of 107 and 116, and registered 8.5 sacks, four interceptions and five forced fumbles. Harris has served in the Illinois Senate from the 15th District since 2013.

2003: Willis McGahee, running back, Miami

McGahee’s 142 games stand second to Winfield over the last 23 years of No. 23 overall picks. A torn ACL, MCL and PCL in the Fiesta Bowl forced McGahee to miss the entirety of his rookie season with the Bills. The Hurricane would go on to amass 2,095 carries for 8,474 rushing yards and 65 rushing touchdowns in his NFL career, which featured tours with the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. McGahee went to a pair of Pro Bowls.

2004: Marcus Tubbs, defensive tackle, Texas

Tubbs battled injuries up through his August 2008 release from the Seattle Seahawks. The ex-Longhorns defensive tackle played in 29 NFL games, starting 16. He posted 60 tackles, seven sacks and three pass deflections.

2005: Fabian Washington, cornerback, Nebraska

Washington, who clocked the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds at the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine, would be an Al Davis Raider. The Cornerhusker started 28 games for the organization that drafted him and finished his NFL run as a Raven. Washington totaled 222 tackles, 53 passes defensed and six picks over 81 appearances.

2006: Davin Joseph, guard, Oklahoma

Joseph started 112 of 116 games between his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and lone season with the St. Louis Rams. The right guard by way of the Sooners was named a Pro Bowler in both 2008 and 2011.

2007: Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver, LSU

Bowe started 112 NFL games and played in 125. The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Chiefs deep threat led the league with 15 receiving touchdowns in 2010, drawing Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro recognition. Bowe accrued 537 career catches for 7,208 yards and 44 scores up through 2015 with the Browns.

2008: Rashard Mendenhall, running back, Illinois

Mendenhall, who earned a Super Bowl XLIII ring with Pittsburgh Steelers, retired in 2014 at the age of 26. He posted back-to-back seasons of 1,000 rushing yards and scored 13 touchdowns during one of which. Mendenhall totaled 5,032 yards and 39 TDs from scrimmage in his career, which concluded as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

2009: Michael Oher, offensive tackle, Mississippi

Oher, whose story was depicted in the 2009 film, “The Blind Side,” started all 110 of his NFL games. The unanimous All-American tackle and Ravens draft arrival made subsequent stops with the Titans and Panthers. A Super Bowl XLVII champion, Oher played his last regular-season down in 2016.

2010: Bryan Bulaga, offensive tackle, Iowa

The Hawkeyes bookend played in 115 games for the Green Bay Packers and started 111, including Super Bowl XLV. Bulaga, 31, now nears his first season with the Los Angeles Chargers. He signed a three-year, $30 million pact in March.

2011: Danny Watkins, guard, Baylor

Watkins was named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie team after a season which saw him start 12 contests. The transfer from Butte College would start six games the following year for the Philadelphia Eagles, yet was waived during roster cutdowns in 2013. Watkins spent what would be his final NFL campaign with Miami Dolphins before transitioning to a career as a firefighter.

2012: Riley Reiff, offensive tackle, Iowa

A first-team All-Big Ten selection and an All-American, Reiff has gone on to start 112 of his 120 NFL games. Reiff signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 after spending his initial five seasons with the Detroit Lions. The 31-year-old left tackle out of Iowa has served as a team captain for Minnesota.

2013: Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida

Floyd totaled 95 tackles and 9.5 sacks through his first three seasons with the Vikings. Meniscus surgery left the former Gators first-team All-American with nerve damage. Floyd played in one game for the Vikings in 2016 and was placed on the non-football injury list the following September.

2014: Dee Ford, edge-rusher, Auburn

Ford’s 37 career sacks stand tops among players picked No. 23 through the last 23 drafts. The former Chief also stands with 151 tackles and 11 forced fumbles. Ford would be traded to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a second-rounder after his Pro Bowl 2018 season. He’d later sign a five-year, $87.5 million contract with San Francisco.

2015: Shane Ray, edge-rusher, Missouri

Ray, a unanimous All-American at Missouri, had his fifth-year option declined by the Broncos and was released by the Ravens following an offseason stint in 2019. The outside linebacker has appeared in 49 games to register 94 tackles and 14 sacks.

2016: Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver, Mississippi

Across two stints with the Vikings organization that drafted him, Treadwell caught 65 passes for 701 yards and two touchdowns. The 24-year-old Ole Miss standout saw action in 53 games for Minnesota before agreeing to terms with the Atlanta Falcons in March.

2017: Evan Engram, tight end, Mississippi

Engram has started 25 games while a New York Giant, catching 153 passes for 1,766 yards and a dozen touchdowns. A member of the 2017 PFWA All-Rookie team, the hybrid tight end has missed 13 games over the past two campaigns.

2018: Isaiah Wynn, offensive tackle, Georgia

Wynn, whose rookie season with the Patriots ended with a torn Achilles after nine preseason snaps, started all eight of his games as a sophomore left tackle. The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Georgia Bulldog missed two months last fall because of turf toe. He played every offensive snap upon returning.

2019: Tytus Howard, offensive tackle, Alabama State

Beginning at left guard and continuing at right tackle, Howard started eight games for the Texans as a rookie in 2019. The Alabama State first-rounder was placed on IR at the end of November to repair a meniscus tear.

Seven No. 23 overall picks currently reside on NFL rosters.