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Thursday, April 2, 2009
What can the Patriots expect at No. 23?


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

What sort of player can the New England Patriots expect with the No. 23 pick in the draft?

I thought reviewing the level of talent each AFC East team's first-round draft slot has yielded over the past decade would prove educational.

In tracking the selections, the caliber of player at No. 23 doesn't seem appreciably worse than No. 17. In fact, the 23rd spot has produced more star power in the picks that hit.

The biggest regrets are cornerback Rashard Anderson (drug issues) and defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs (injuries).

It's too early to label Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall because he was sidelined by a shoulder injury last year as a rookie. Two of the three Rashards to play in the NFL were selected at No. 23 within the past decade. How about that?

But there've been several gems otherwise.