Following a series of trades, the New England Patriots entered the 2017 NFL draft without any selections in the first two rounds: one resulted in wide receiver Brandin Cooks, the other in defensive end Kony Ealy and additional draft capital. When all was said and done and the draft’s seven rounds in the books, the Patriots therefore ended up with just four players selected — the fewest choices made by any team that year.
The players who were picked by the team were the following:
- 3-83 DE Derek Rivers
- 3-85 OT Antonio Garcia
- 4-131 DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
- 6-211 OT Conor McDermott
The most accurate term to describe this haul? Oof.
While Wise Jr. turned into a solid rotational member along New England’s defensive line, the rest of the team’s 2017 draft class contributed little to nothing so far.Rivers missed two of his first three seasons due to injury and saw only limited action when actually healthy, while neither Garcia nor McDermott ever wore the team’s uniform: Garcia’s rookie year and effectively Patriots career ended after blood clots were discovered in his lungs, while McDermott didn’t survive roster cutdown day before ending up on the Buffalo Bills.
It is therefore no surprise that New England’s 2017 draft class was recently ranked as the worst in the NFL by Dane Brugler of The Athletic. He did have some positive words to say about Wise...
Wise is the choice by default, but he has also been a solid contributor on the Patriots’ defensive line. He has played in 46 games, averaging 27 tackles and four sacks each year. [...] Although there were 130 players drafted ahead of him, Wise would likely be selected somewhere in the top 75 picks if every player was redrafted with what we know now. He might never be a high-volume snap defender, but he has quietly carved out a solid career.
...but named Garcia as the biggest miss of a shallow draft haul:
Among the first 85 picks in the draft, three players have still not played in the NFL: [Malik] McDowell , Carlos Henderson and Garcia. Due to injuries, including a blood clot issue, Garcia lasted only one season in New England before short stints with the Jets, Colts and Dolphins. He is currently a free agent. Compounding the problem, the Patriots traded up for Garcia, packaging two picks to the Lions that ended up being [Kenny] Golladay and Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
The Patriots did find defensive tackle Adam Butler as a rookie free agent — one of four undrafted players to make the opening day roster that year alongside tight end Jacob Hollister, offensive tackle Cole Croston and linebacker Harvey Langi — but in the draft itself, the team failed to find any difference makers. As the last two seasons and New England’s current salary cap predicament show, this is a problem.