- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Building off this morning's blog entry on the Patriots owning just five selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, here is a breakdown of total picks made per season in the Bill Belichick era (2000-present):
QUICK-HIT THOUGHT: Looking at the snapshot from 2009-2011, and the total of 33 draft choices over that time, it adds context to the Patriots current dip in total picks. Not all of those 33 picks are still with the team, but several of them now form a nice young nucleus on the roster (Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Nate Solder, Stevan Ridley etc.), and Belichick probably viewed 2012 and 2013 as a stretch in which there was more flexibility to trade away picks for established veterans who could fill specific needs. Some of those trades worked out (Aqib Talib) and some have not (Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth). Every team goes through cycles when the youth pipeline needs to be filled and in part because of their work doing that from 2009-2011, the Patriots are in the lower quarter of the NFL in terms of total age of the roster. Add it all up and it starts to add more context to the reduction of draft choices for the Patriots compared to recent years.