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Patriots, the draft & Dez Bryant

In his weekly "Tip Sheet", ESPN.com senior football writer Len Pasquarelli focuses on the high number of productive receivers drafted after the first round last season.

The topic hits home here in New England.

When the Patriots traded down to the 27th spot in the first round this year, they passed on the chance to select two of the top-rated receivers in the draft -- Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant. Of the two, Bryant had the most buzz attached to his resume. The thought of Bryant in a Patriots uniform was compelling to many, and the team did host him on a pre-draft visit.

For those disappointed in the team's decision-making, the first paragraph of Pasquarelli's "Tip Sheet" might ease some of the disappointment.

Of the 15 rookie wide receivers with 30 or more catches last season, 10 were chosen in the third round or later and eight were selected in Rounds 4 through 7. Four of the rookie wide receivers, in terms of yardage leaders, were selected after the first 80 choices went off the board.

Pasquarelli goes on to point out some of the mid- to later-round receivers who made an impact as rookies in 2009, and he includes New England's Julian Edelman (7th round) in the discussion.

Writes Pasquarelli: Little wonder that in the 2010 draft, and even in drafts before that one, general managers and personnel directors were confident they could unearth productive wide receivers outside of the first round.