Examining draft history at receiver

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
7:00
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With the release of former third-round pick Taylor Price on Saturday, the Patriots have again cut ties with another disappointing wide receiver prospect. Here is a look at the team's draft selections at the position under head coach Bill Belichick (2000-present):

Deion Branch, 2002 -- 2nd round, 65th overall
The first wide receiver selected by Belichick in New England has been a solid performer, returning to the Patriots last season following a five-year stop in Seattle. Branch was the fourth wide receiver in NFL history to earn Super Bowl MVP honors (XXXIX).

David Givens, 2002 -- 7th round, 253rd overall
Givens was another favorite target of quarterback Tom Brady for two Super Bowl teams, catching a touchdown pass in seven straight playoff games before signing with the Titans following the 2005 season. A knee injury, however, ended Givens' career shortly thereafter.

Bethel Johnson, 2003 -- 2nd round, 45th overall
The speedy receiver made a handful of highlight-reel catches and kickoff returns in New England, but was eventually traded to the Saints in 2006 for defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, in a swap of disappointing high-round picks. Johnson is now out of football.

P.K. Sam, 2004 -- 5th round, 164th overall
Sam's short career in New England was mired by injury and a suspension. He later landed in the CFL.

Chad Jackson, 2006 -- 2nd round, 36th overall
Despite the Patriots trading up with the Packers (who later selected Greg Jennings with New England's original selection) to draft Jackson in 2006, the Florida product caught only 13 passes in two seasons with the Patriots. After stints in Buffalo, Denver, and Oakland, his latest stop was in Omaha with the UFL.

Matthew Slater, 2008 -- 5th round, 153rd overall
Now in his fourth season, Slater is the Patriots' special teams captain.

Brandon Tate, 2009 -- 3rd round, 83rd overall
After a knee injury in college wiped out nearly all of his rookie season, Tate scored five touchdowns in 2010, including two on kickoff returns. However, his contributions were inconsistent on offense, and the Patriots cut ties with Tate before this season. He is now with the Bengals.

Julian Edelman, 2009 -- 7th round, 232nd overall
Edelman, a college quarterback, quickly earned comparisons to Patriots receiver Wes Welker, starting seven games his rookie season. While Edelman's role on offense has dwindled, he has recently posted solid performances as a fill-in defensive back.

Taylor Price, 2010 -- 3rd round, 90th overall
In nearly two seasons in New England, Price struggled to break into the Patriots' offense, even when injuries thinned the depth at the position.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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