During the last Patriots broadcast, I saw an interesting stat that said that the Patriots did not have a first round draft pick on their offensive roster. This really struck me, because I figured for sure someone on the offense had been picked in the first round, besides Brady, Edelman, and Gronkowski. But all eleven of the offensive starters were not drafted in the first round.
It really struck me to find out this stat, because I had no idea. It also retroactively amazed me how good the Patriots have been this year without having that pick coming from round one. This offense has been incredible this year, have been putting up world class stats this season, and haven't shown any signs of stopping.
What is really impressive is the amount of injuries we have dealt with on the offensive line, and how we have continued to come through week after week. Undrafted rookie center David Andrews has played terrific football to date after starting center Ryan Stork went down with an injury. They were also able to use their ability of being able to bring in anybody off the bench and continue to dominate.
The Patriots haven't had many weapons since the Randy Moss days, but have been able to draft these late round picks that have turned into some pretty good targets for Tom Brady. Julian Edleman, who was a seventh round draft pick, has turned into one of the best targets in the NFL. It's been pickups like this one that has made this group so good for so long.
Luck definitely comes into play when you pick that late and the player isn't really projected to play as well in the NFL as he has shown during his career. With luck also comes good coaching, with Bill Belichick at the helm in New England. He has an ability to take guys that aren't supposed to be that good and make them into something great.
It seems that only the Patriots could get away with not having a first rounder on their team. A combination of good late round drafting and incredible coaching has been been the way that the Patriots have stayed this successful for this long.