The Patriots laid the groundwork for their second act in the 2010s by acquiring picks worth more than 17 AV in 2008, 2009, and 2011. The players the Patriots have picked over the years have, on average, actually underperformed their draft positions by a little bit, but the extra value in the picks the Patriots acquired gave them enough Rob Gronkowskis to balance the Ras-I Dowlings.
I can’t think of a better post on Draft-mas Eve than putting all of the great Fitzy Goes to the Draft videos in one place!
Bill Belichick’s Patriots are the only team to exist outside of these rules. Their middle rounds were littered with guys who did nothing, or next to nothing, in the NFL. Their draft success ranked in the bottom third of the league during these seasons. But even in 2009, those guys made up a large chunk of the roster. Nearly a third of the roster was made up of guys who were never drafted at all; the Patriots signed them for cheap and plugged them right in.
H/T to Rich Hill for the find.