Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have rarely targeted wide receivers in the NFL draft, taking just nine since 2002 and none before the third round since 2006.
Examine the receivers drafted since 2002:
2002: Deion Branch, 2d/65: Eighth on franchise list for receptions(312) and wasMVP of Super Bowl XXXIX.
2002: David Givens, 7th/253: Had three productive years with Patriots before injuries ended his career at age 26.
2003: Bethel Johnson, 2d/45: Speedster was an effective return man but never developed into a reliable WR.
2004: P.K. Sam, 5th/164: New England was the ﬁrst of many brief stops in a nondescript pro career.
2006: Chad Jackson, 2d/36: The highest WR drafted by Belichick, Jackson was a huge bust and was cut in Year 3.
2008: Matthew Slater, 5th/153: Not known for his catching skills, but always highly regarded on special teams. Is still with the team.
2009: Brandon Tate, 3d/83: Injured for most ofrookie season, Tate never really caught up and was cut last fall.
2009: Julian Edelman, 7th/232: College QB has become a backup slot WR, solid special teamer, and occasional DB.
2010: Taylor Price, 3d/90” High hopes for the oft-injured Price never materialized and he was waived last season.