(Getty Images)

The Patriots’ trade of Laurence Maroney to Denver closes the book on an era in which the Patriots missed badly on nearly all of their draft picks, and set themselves back a few years in development. Felger & Mazz looked back on the Patriots’ picks from 2006 through 2008, and explained why Maroney is the epitome of that time period.

Felger: “This just highlights the hole they put themselves in from ’06 to ’08. That is where this team bottomed out drafting-wise, and it looks like the last two years have been better. But ’06 to ’08 is where this team dug itself a hole and they’re just starting to dig themselves out of it. ’06: Laurence Maroney, Chad Jackson, Dave Thomas, Garrett Mills, gone. Gostkowski is the last remaining player from that class. In ’07, it was Brandon Meriweather and nobody else made the team. Then ’08, Jerod Mayo and a whole bunch of suck. Wheatley? Suck. Crable? Gone. O’Connell? Gone. Wilhite? Suck. Laurence Maroney is the classic example of someone who flat-lined here. So ’06 to ’08, that’s the black hole of the Pats’ drafting record, and Laurence Maroney is now the poster child of it.”

Mazz: “Remember at the end of ’07? We are all grumbling about Maroney then, and he actually ran the ball well at the end of the season. At the end of that season they started throwing to him a little bit, and he was actually becoming a pretty good weapon for them. It gave you hope that going into ’08 that he was going to be an explosive player for their offense. And it just completely went the other way…[When Bill Belichick says] ‘Time to move on…’ That’s the equivalent of ‘We’re done with this guy!’ [Mike] Shanahan thought Maroney was the best back in the draft that year. Even the best can whiff.”

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