- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In anticipation of the NFL combine this week where teams will be evaluating/scouting prospects, the Patriots' top-of-the-board drafting was compared to some other top teams in the league over a five-year snapshot (2006-2010). A few commenters then suggested adding the Ravens to the comparison.
Today, it's the Packers.
1st: Bryan Bulaga, B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Justin Harrell, A.J. Hawk
2nd: Mike Neal, Jordy Nelson, Brian Brohm, Pat Lee, Brandon Jackson, Darryn Colledge, Greg Jennings
3rd: Morgan Burnett, Jermichael Finley, James Jones, Aaron Rouse, Abdul Hodge, Jason Spitz
1st: Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Meriweather, Laurence Maroney
2nd: Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Patrick Chung, Ron Brace, Darius Butler, Sebastian Vollmer, Terrence Wheatley, Chad Jackson, Wes Welker*
3rd: Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Tyrone McKenzie, Shawn Crable, Kevin O'Connell, David Thomas
ANALYSIS: Looking solely at the top three rounds does not reflect a complete picture, although it's a good start because that's where the highest percentage of starters/impact players are found. One connection between the Patriots and Packers is the volume of picks. Like the Patriots, the Packers have missed the mark on a few high selections (e.g. Justin Harrell, Brian Brohm), but their overall performance is solid. Both teams drafted/developed top tight ends, have a good hit/hits on the offensive line, while also adding elite defensive prospects (e.g. Raji/Matthews and Mayo/McCourty). The Packers get the edge when it comes to drafting/developing receivers, while the Patriots have received more out of their defensive backs. Overall, these two teams look even in this snapshot.
*Acquired for a 2007 second-round draft choice (and 2007 seventh-round draft choice)