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Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are seen as NFL Draft maestros to many who follow the sport. He seems to trade, or to some he swindles, his way to a seemingly impressive draft class while also making sure he has put the Patriots in position to sustain success in the future. In addition to his masterful trading, it always seems to be impossible to pinpoint who will go to the Patriots in any given draft and in any given round. Belichick will not hesitate to take someone who could be labeled as a "reach pick." This year's prime example of a "reach pick" is Duron Harmon.

Since history repeats itself (yet in football it is not always a perfect predictor of the future), I have taken, along with Duron Harmon, similar Patriots reach draft picks who were picked in the third round or rounds adjacent to the third round. The list is as follows: Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Rich Ohrnberger, Jermaine Cunningham, and Sebastian Vollmer. I will go chronologically and give their simplified pre-draft analysis, list where they were picked by the Patriots, and the success, or lack thereof, that they had with the Patriots or otherwise.

Rich Ohrnberger

Pre-draft analysis:
Rich was not invited to the NFL Combine, and nfldraftscout.com had him ranked as the #326 prospect in the draft.

Picked:
Round Four, Pick 23, Overall Pick 123.

Success:
He did not start a single game for the Patriots, did not appear in a game in 2011, and started four games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012.


Sebastian Vollmer

Pre-Draft Analysis:
He was not invited to the combine, and nfldraftscout.com had him ranked as the #98 prospect in the draft, as well as the #10 OT.

Picked:
Round Two, Pick 26, Overall Pick 58.

Success:
He has started in nearly every game he has been healthy, and he was Second Team All-Pro in 2010 and one of Madden's All-Protector Team in 2011.




Jermaine Cunningham

Pre-Draft Analysis:
He was ranked by nfldraftscout.com as the #11 DE in the draft and #110 on the overall big board. He was highly acclaimed for his speed, and at best was seen as a 3rd round projection, but mostly 4th round.

Picked:
Round Two, Pick 21, Overall Pick 53.

Success:
He had a pretty good rookie season starting eleven games; however, he has since started three over the past two years and is constantly being speculated as to whether or not the Patriots will cut him.

Tavon Wilson

Pre-Draft Analysis:
Mike Reiss says: Wilson wasn't invited to the combine, and while he took several visits with NFL teams in the weeks leading up to the draft, he was considered by many to be more of a mid- to late-round selection. Among other things, the Patriots liked his smarts, versatility, and how he showed up in Illinois' sub packages in different roles.

Picked:
Round Two, Pick 16, Overall Pick 48.

Success:
He started four games in his rookie season, reeling in an impressive four interception and 41 tackles. However, he did not start a single game after Devin McCourty was moved back to safety, thus his success is hard to determine especially with Belichick taking another safety and cornerback in the first three rounds this year.


Duron Harmon

Pre-Draft Analysis:
He was not invited to the combine, and nfl.com had his projected to go undrafted as the #413 ranked best player in the draft.

Picked:
Round Three, Pick 29, Overall pick 91.

Success:
Not yet seen, but I wonder if Belichick just drafted this guy simply based on his character and is hoping he turns out like Nate Ebner or Matthew Slater as a great special teams guy. I hope not because Nate Ebner was taken in the sixth round and Matthew Slater was taken in the fifth, not in the third.

Bill Belichick has had one, potentially two, successful reach picks taken around the same time as he took Duron Harmon. He has had at least two, potentially three bust picks (Tavon Wilson pending for both). Therefore, don't expect the Patriots to have just struck overlooked gold, because history tells us not to.

Sam Reilly 5/09/2013 01:26:00 PM Edit
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