Both teams passed on the Florida product in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. The talented Hernandez was considered a first-or-second round talent, but he had some red flags that allowed him to fall to the 113th pick. Hernandez became a strong performer for the Patriots and a draft steal.
Of course, that perception changed Wednesday when Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder and cut by the Patriots. Let’s a take a look at the AFC West selections that were made shortly before Hernandez was taken.
Oakland: Guard Bruce Campbell, 106: He was a combine star and the late Al Davis loved combine stars. But Campbell never made many strides and he was traded from the new regime to Carolina last year for running back Mike Goodson. Goodson left through free agency this year.
Oakland: Receiver/returner Jacoby Ford, 108: Another combine star, the fastest player in the draft, Ford has been a dynamic returner and he made a lot of big plays as a receiver. But he had had trouble staying healthy the past two years.
San Diego: Safety Darrell Stuckey, 110: He has become a tremendous special teams player. Stuckey hasn’t made much of an impact at safety. He will get more of a chance to play this season.
None of these players have come close to making the impact on the field that Hernandez did in the past three seasons. And both teams went into this offseason with the need at tight end, so bypassing Hernandez looked like a mistake.
That can no longer be said.