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11 astounding facts about Patriots’ draft history

Rob Gronkowski is one of three tight ends the Patriots have ever spent a second-round draft pick on. They chose him with the 42d overall pick in 2010.

AP

Rob Gronkowski is one of three tight ends the Patriots have ever spent a second-round draft pick on. They chose him with the 42d overall pick in 2010.

Striking it rich in the NFL Draft is an annual goal for every general manager. And the Patriots, like many teams, often take a mixed bag of results away from the annual NFL selection meeting.

But while the Patriots have seen their fair share of busts (Hart Lee Dykes, Chris Canty, Ras-I Dowling), they’ve also had plenty of success adding players to their core through the draft - an achievement they hope to repeat on Thursday night.

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In our new sortable database of the Patriots’ draft history, we’ve made it easy for you to explore the franchise’s hits, misses, hidden gems and biggest failures.

Among some of the highlights found in the database:

• The biggest collegiate pipeline to the Patriots over the years has been from Boston College. The Patriots have selected more players from BC (18) than from any other school. Notre Dame (15) and Michigan (13) have been the next most popular colleges for the Patriots.

• The Patriots have drafted four quarterbacks who went on to become Pro Bowlers. But only two of them (Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady) achieved that status in New England. The others (Rich Gannon, Matt Cassel) earned that distinction for other teams.

• The Patriots have drafted nine players who became All-Pros since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. In the franchise’s previous 39 drafts, it had selected 17 All-Pros.

• The Patriots have only used a first-round draft pick on a wide receiver six times, and haven’t done it since 1996 (Terry Glenn).

• Not surprisingly, the Patriots have drafted the most Pro Bowl players in the first round (23) and second round (nine). They have had success in finding all-stars bargains, however, with five Pro Bowlers coming in the now-defunct eighth round. They even found one in the long-since-abandoned 19th round (Jim Nance, 1965).

• The Patriots used a first-round pick on a tight end twice in a three-year span (Daniel Graham in 2002 and Ben Watson in 2004). But they’ve only chosen a tight end in the first round one other time in franchise history (Russ Francis in 1975).

• The Patriots have drafted as many runnings backs (seven) as quarterbacks since Brady arrived in 2000, even though only three players (Brady, Bledsoe, Cassel) have started a game under center during that span.

• The Patriots drafted a center seven times between the 1988 and 1999 drafts. Since then, they have selected a center just twice (Dan Koppen in 2003 and Ted Larsen in 2010).

• The Patriots have spent draft picks on kickers (10 times) and punters (seven times) fairly often. But they have only once used a draft pick on a long snapper (Jake Ingram in 2009).

• The Patriots have drafted five players who have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame - Nick Buoniconti, John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippett, and Curtis Martin.

• The Patriots have drafted 25 players from schools in Massachusetts. In addition to the 18 players they’ve welcomed from BC, they also chose three players each from Boston University and Holy Cross and one from UMass.

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