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.
It all comes down to this. Thousands of votes have been tallied, 30 other busts have fallen, and that leaves us with just two standing. Both are 1-seeds, and were two of the favorites heading into the tournament when it was kicked off back in March. But only you can decide who will take the crown and end up as the biggest bust of the Bill Belichick era.
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#1 Chad Jackson vs #1 Ras-I Dowling
After taking down everyone that came at them, these two have proven how great of a bust they both are. This is going to make this decision incredibly challenging.
On the one hand, you have Chad Jackson, who the Patriots moved up for to draft in the second round back in 2006. They had just traded Deion Branch, and were looking for someone to step in and become the new number one receiver in town. He had a forgettable rookie season and eventually tore his ACL in the AFC Championship Game — but don’t worry, he wasn’t actually playing offense, he was covering a kick. In 2007, the Patriots obviously retooled their offense, but, even with the tutelage of Randy Moss, he was unable to grasp an NFL offense. He moved on to Denver in 2008, where he was equally inept, finishing his NFL career with 14 receptions. Oh, to add salt in the wound, the pick the Patriots traded to the Packers for Jackson was used to select Greg Jennings, who had a long and productive NFL career.
The other option is Ras-I Dowling, who the Patriots took 33rd overall in 2011. This is significant because pick 33 is the first pick of the second round, which the league has a whole day to think about. As you probably know, the first round takes place on Thursday, and the second and third take place on Friday. That means that Belichick had the entire day to make sure he was taking the right guy, or trade out of that spot to a team that fell in love with a guy and had to get him. The 49ers would trade up just a few picks later to get Colin Kaepernick, but apparently Belichick couldn’t get them to trade up with him. Dowling is another case of a player who just couldn’t get onto the field: he would play in a total of 12 games, and finish his career with 11 total tackles. He was never even close to being a factor for the Patriots. The only thing he has going for him is that the second and third round of the 2011 draft was very weak across the board, but his career was still extremely poor.
My pick out of the two is Chad Jackson, though. I know that Dowling was bad, and couldn’t get on the field, but Jackson had a ton of potential in a very needy offense, and still failed to do a single thing. His athleticism was off the charts, the Patriots were thin at wide receiver and needed the help, and still, he couldn’t carve out a role on offense. Injuries didn’t derail his career as they did Dowling’s (although Belichick knew Dowling’s injury history going in), he just couldn’t play football. To me, that makes him the biggest bust of the Belichick era.
But what about you?
Please vote below, and thanks for following along during this process. I hope you had as much fun participating it as I did making it!
Chad Jackson vs Ras-I Dowling
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