From Mac Jones and Christian Barmore to Damien Harris and Deatrich Wise Jr., the New England Patriots have made some successful draft picks in recent years. However, they also have had their fair share of whiffs.
Who was the biggest of those, at least in the last five years? According to Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report that honor belongs to cornerback Duke Dawson.
New England Patriots: CB Duke Dawson
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry deserves mention because he hasn’t come close to meeting first-round expectations with 57 receptions for 598 yards and four touchdowns through three seasons.
However, as a Day 2 pick out of Florida, Duke Dawson didn’t play a snap with the Patriots. He opened his first season on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, and New England kept him on the sideline as a healthy scratch for the final two months of the term.
Before the 2019 season, the Patriots traded Dawson and a seventh-round pick to the Broncos in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
In Denver, Dawson suited up for 26 contests (starting in four), logging 27 tackles and two pass breakups. He spent nearly half of the 2021 season on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from a torn ACL before the Broncos waived and re-signed him. The 26-year-old is currently a free agent.
As noted above, Dawson did not play a single snap for the Patriots before getting traded to Denver. Despite his second-round status, he failed to make a deep cornerback depth chart — one that was led by a veteran cast around All-Pro Stephon Gilmore and undrafted rookie standout J.C. Jackson.
What made the Dawson selection even worse is the fact that the team traded up to get him: New England jumped from the 63rd to the 56th spot by sending an additional fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Per the draft value chart, the move clearly worked out better for the Buccaneers, who ended up with a net positive of 10.78 value points — roughly the equivalent of a fifth-round pick.
No matter how you look at it, the Duke Dawson trade and selection was a bad one for the Patriots.