As the 2010 NFL Draft approaches, the New England Patriots sit at the 22nd pick for only the second time in the team’s history.
The only other time the Patriots held the number 22 pick overall in the draft was in 1998. With that pick, the Patriots selected a 6-foot-2; 218-pound safety from Syracuse University named Tebucky Jones. Jones played five seasons (1998-2002) and 72 games, with 36 starts in New England.
Jones, a native of New Britain, Conn. led the team with 28 special teams tackles as a rookie. His first career start as a cornerback came late in the 1999 season, but was switched to safety by Bill Belichick in 2000 after continual poor performances at corner. He would start nine of 15 games that year and seemed to find a home patrolling the defensive backfield alongside fellow safety and pro bowler Lawyer Malloy.
Tebucky Jones (34) covers Reche Caldwell (87) during Patriots mini camp June 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
During the next season, the duo would prove to be a hard hitting tandem that helped the Patriots win the team’s first Super Bowl Championship. During that 2001 season, Jones was the team’s starting free safety, starting 12 of 16 regular season games and all three playoff games. In the playoffs, Jones played a big role in the team’s Super Bowl XXXVI championship run by posting 15 playoff tackles and adding an interception in the 2001 AFC Championship Game. In 2002, Jones started 13 of 14 games and posted 50 tackles.
During the offseason in 2003, the Pats applied the franchise tag to Jones and traded him to the Saints for two draft picks. One of those picks was used to select linebacker Tully Banta-Cain in 2003. Banta-Cain led the team in sacks in 2009, but the other draft pick was safety Dexter Reid in 2004. Reid was released from the team after just one unproductive season in New England. Reid is currently out of the NFL.
After spending two years with the Saints and one with the Dolphins, Jones later returned to the Patriots, signing a two-year contract in 2006. He would never play again, however, due to injuries, he was placed on injured reserve for 2006.
Jones would end up suing the Patriots team doctors, who claimed that a leg injury suffered during the 2006 preseason was diagnosed only as a hamstring problem, even though two MRIs allegedly showed that he also had torn the ligament in his knee.
Jones later told the Boston Herald that “the biggest pain is I played for three teams and I respected New England the most because I'm from New England. I got drafted from New England. I won a Super Bowl with New England. I always respected New England. That probably hurts the most.”
What really hurts is that the 2001 Championship season proved to be an aberration for Jones in New England. His lack of production for the most part hurt. He finished with only four interceptions and 2.5 sacks in five seasons in a Pats uniform. That hurts! Let’s hope the 22 pick in 2010 hurts like 2001.
Other similar first round picks that were more productive included pro bowl safety Tim Fox chosen at 21st spotin 1976; Patriots Hall of Fame left tackle Bruce Armstrong was selected at 23rd in 1987; perennial pro bowl cornerback Ty Law was selected 23rd in 1995; and pro bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork was selected 21st in the 2004 draft.
Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin ( here ).
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