Belichick & developing WRs

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Former Patriots WR Bethel Johnson goes up for a catch.

The NFL's season-opener between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers didn't disappoint. That was a fun game to watch, with one of the unexpected stars Packers receiver Randall Cobb.

Cobb tied former Patriot Ellis' Hobbs' NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown -- a terrific individual effort that combined great balance and burst-- and also had a 32-yard touchdown in which he actually ran the wrong route (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel link here). Cobb's performance had me pulling out the Pro Football Weekly draft guide to read more about him; the Kentucky receiver slipped to the last pick of the second round (64th overall) and looks like a real find.

Cobb's impressive debut led me to revisit Bill Belichick's history drafting receivers, which is one area Belichick would probably acknowledge he could do better work. It's been a long time since he's developed a young receiver into a top contributor.

Here is the breakdown from this perspective:

Nailed it

Deion Branch (second round, 2002)

David Givens (seventh round, 2002)

Missed it

Bethel Johnson (second round, 2003)*

P.K. Sam (fifth round, 2004)

Chad Jackson (second round, 2006)*

Brandon Tate (third round, 2009)

Jury still out

Julian Edelman (seventh round, 2009)

Taylor Price (third round, 2010)

* Traded up to acquire

(Note: Matthew Slater, now a team captain, was considered a special teams player over a receiver in this analysis.)