No. 19: Patriots' best draft class

ESPN Stats and Information has ranked all NFL players drafted in the modern draft (1967-2008) based on their performance during their NFL careers -- regardless of how they fared with the team that drafted them. Insider will count down each team's best draft class (seeded 1-32), then conduct a tournament to determine the best class of all time.

For a short explanation of the ranking system, click here, or, for a more detailed rundown of how the system was developed, click here.

The 1973 Patriots take aim at the 1981 Redskins -- Vote now!


The Patriots didn't have superior success in the NFL draft in the first 28 years. But four (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003) of their top six classes have come in the past 14, according to ESPN Stats and Information's ranking system. They are the best team overall drafting since Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

The Patriots struck gold with two of the greatest picks of all time. One was the steal of the century, Tom Brady in the sixth round (199th overall) of the 2000 draft. The other was John Hannah (fourth overall in 1973), who many believe to be the best offensive lineman of all time.

It was close, but because Brady is still playing and hasn't achieved enough points in our ranking system, the best Patriots class goes to 1973.