In the year 2009, the New England Patriots were heading into a re-tooling period. The team lost franchise cornerstones in Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrabel. Along with Tedy Brushci and Richard Seymour after the draft.
For a long time, the Patriots 2009 draft class was looked at as a failure. However, looking back now you have to realize that it was an overall success. Three players were key contributors to the most recent Super Bowl championship team. Here are some of the more successful players from that draft class.
Patrick Chung: After his first four seasons with the Patriots most fans looked at the Chung pick as a failure. Although, he was not playing in his natural role in the 2009-2012 seasons. When he was, he played very effective and Chung was a key factor on the AFC Champion team in 2011.
After a one-year stint in Philadelphia, Chung made his way back to Foxboro. His 2014 season was better than his first four in New England combined. Due to the much improved talent in the secondary, Chung was able to play in his more natural role of strong safety. Chung did not have to play as much in pass coverage, and was more of a small athletic linebacker.
His highlight of the season was batting down a Joe Flacco pass on third and goal in the back of the end zone in the fourth quarter of the divisional playoff game. This turned out to be one of the biggest games of the season.
Sebastian Vollmer: Since he was chosen at pick number 58 of the 2009 draft, “Sea bass” has been one of the more reliable right tackles in the NFL. Vollmer was voted as a second team all-pro player in 2010, and has been a starter for most of his career.
The Patriots have been one of the more successful teams in keeping their quarterback upright for the last few seasons. Vollmer’s massive size and strength make him a physical presence, and his consistency makes him one of the more respected tackles in the NFL.
Julian Edelman: Obviously, the first name one would think of when they bring up the Patriots 2009 draft class. Edelman wasn’t taken until pick 232 in round seven of the draft. However, he immediately jumped into the offensive rotation but was thought of only as a Wes Welker want to be.
In the year’s 2009-2012 Edelman was no more than a utility player. He would be a solid fourth option for Tom Brady on offense, and a very good punt returner. Furthermore, when injuries hit the secondary in 2011, Edelman stepped up and played nickel back.
After Wes Welker bolted for Denver, Edelman replaced him right away putting up almost better numbers in his first two seasons as starter. In 2013 Edelman racked in 105 receptions for over 1,000 yards.
In 2014 Edelman posted similar numbers and was most notable for his Super Bowl heroics. Making a huge catch on third and fifteen while getting crushed by Kam Chancellor, and then proceeding to catch the game winning touchdown.
Other notable players from the Patriots 2009 draft class include Brandon Tate, Darius Butler, and Myron Pryor. All were serviceable but none made a real lasting impact. Darius Butler has proceeded to make a name for himself in Indianapolis.
In conclusion, the 2009 New England Patriots draft class was one of ups and downs. Only a few stood out, but the ones that did have made a real lasting impact on the organization.