8 Worst New England Patriots NFL Draft Picks of the 2010’s

Patriots NFL Draft Picks
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The New England Patriots were easily the best team of the 2010’s, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a few bumps along the way. The NFL Draft is a crapshoot, and nobody can draft perfectly over a sustained period of time. There weren’t that many to choose from, but here are the worst New England Patriots NFL Draft picks of the past decade.

Note that this list only includes players drafted from 2010 to 2017, as it’s too early to know anything about the players drafted in 2018 and 2019 (with one exception). Additionally, this list only factors in player contributions from their time in New England. For example, Tavon Wilson made a decent career for himself in Detroit, but he makes this list since he didn’t do much of anything in New England.

Best New England Patriots NFL Draft Picks of the 2010’s

Worst New England Patriots NFL Draft Picks of the Past Decade

8. Tavon Wilson, 2nd Round (48th Overall)

Nobody knew who Tavon Wilson was when the New England Patriots took him with the 48th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Projected as an undrafted free agent by the few that scouted him, Wilson actually had a role in New England’s defense to start his career. However, once Devin McCourty moved to safety, Wilson couldn’t get back on the field. He spent most of his four years in New England on special teams before carving out a decent career in Detroit.

7. Aaron Dobson, 2nd Round (59th Overall)

The 2013 season was one of the most fascinating non-championship seasons in recent memory. After losing nearly everyone in the offseason, the Patriots needed an infusion of pass-catching talent. Aaron Dobson was supposed to be New England’s outside receiver of the future, and he actually had his moments in 2013. After a bumpy start, Dobson showed some genuine flashes and ended his season with 37 receptions for 519 yards and four touchdowns. However, injuries prevented him from taking the next step, and he recorded just 16 catches over his next two seasons in New England.

6. Jermaine Cunningham, 2nd Round (53rd Overall)

The New England Patriots knocked it out of the park by taking Devin McCourty and Rob Gronkowski with their first two picks in the 2010 NFL Draft. Their third one, however, left something to be desired. Jermaine Cunningham was a decent roleplayer on the 2010 Patriots. Even though he only recorded one sack, he got pressure at a decent rate and looked like he could develop into a solid rotational pass rusher. However, he took a major step back in 2011 and hardly saw the field. After another disappointing season in 2012, the Patriots moved on from Cunningham. Just to add salt to the wound, Carlos Dunlap and Sean Lee were the two players selected after Cunningham.

5. Cyrus Jones, 2nd Round (60th Overall)

This one is a collective failure by the NFL Draft community. While most of Belichick’s second-round defensive backs come out of nowhere, everyone believed Cyrus Jones to be a good value for the pick. The Alabama product had a great collegiate career, NFL-caliber athleticism, and a history of success on special teams. However, all of that went away in New England. During his rookie season, Jones couldn’t cover anybody on defense and had a hard time controlling his emotions. In Week 5, he was ejected for throwing punches against the Cleveland Browns.

However, his defensive struggles were overshadowed by his failures as a returner. Seemingly allergic to the ball, Jones fumbled five of his 19 kick and punt returns. Cyrus Jones never had a chance to redeem himself, as he missed 2017 with an injury and didn’t make the team in 2018. Since then, he’s found a home as a depth cornerback in Baltimore.

4. Jordan Richards, 2nd Round (64th Overall)

Nobody will ever know what Bill Belichick saw in Jordan Richards. Projected as a priority free agent by most, Belichick saw something in the Stanford product and took him early in the 2015 NFL Draft. That gamble didn’t pay off, as Richards didn’t have the speed to play safety nor the size to play linebacker. Belichick probably wanted him to be the heir to Patrick Chung, but Richards just didn’t have that in him.

The NFL Draft is an absolute crapshoot, and misses are inevitable. Normally, Belichick is good at identifying said misses and cutting bait early on. However, for whatever reason, Belichick couldn’t see the flaws in Richards’ game. The greatest coach of all-time believed in him for three straight seasons and went out of his way to praise him prior to Super Bowl 52. Eventually, Belichick saw the light and moved on from Richards in 2018. Since then, the Stanford product has bounced around the league on special teams, and even made a brief cameo on the 2019 Patriots.

3. Duke Dawson, 2nd Round (56th Overall)

Normally, it’s impossible to know anything about someone’s career after just two seasons in the league. However, it’s safe to say that Duke Dawson did not work out for New England. Dawson was something of a reach in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft and struggled to climb the depth chart throughout offseason workouts. The rookie suffered a neck injury late in the preseason and started the season on the short-term injured reserve. He came back halfway through the year but didn’t play a single snap. Before the start of 2019, the Patriots traded Dawson to the Denver Broncos for essentially nothing. Dawson spent 2019 as a depth corner for the Broncos, but that’s not helping Bill Belichick in any way, shape, or form.

2. Ras-I Dowling, 2nd Round (33rd Overall)

Ras-I Dowling was the first in a long line of second-round defensive backs that haven’t panned out in the 2010’s. Dowling had glaring injury red flags, yet the Patriots opted to look past these woes and make him their second pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Predictably enough, Dowling struggled to stay on the field. In total, Dowling played just nine games with the Patriots before Belichick cut him. He wasn’t even that good when on the field, as injuries appeared to take away whatever made Dowling so special in college.

1. Dominique Easley, 1st Round (29th Overall)

Most of Bill Belichick’s first-round picks over the past decade have worked out to some degree. However, Dominique Easley is the lone exception to that rule. Easley was something of a surprise with the 29th overall pick, as he had a long history of injuries. However, Belichick liked his reaction time off the snap and potential to be an interior pass rusher.

It…didn’t work out. Easley hardly saw the field as a rookie and played in 11 games before ending the season on the injured reserve. The former first-round pick saw some time as a situational pass-rusher in 2015 before hitting the injured reserve for the second straight season. New England decided to cut their losses the following offseason, and the injuries and his off-field issues became too much to deal with. Easley spent some time with the Los Angeles Rams but hasn’t appeared in a game since 2018.

Best New England Patriots NFL Draft Picks of the 2010’s

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