And sometimes the difference between losing it all came down to the sub-replacement-level JAG wannabes (Eric Alexander, Pierre Woods, Chris Harper et. al.) because the rookies & other recently drafted players sucked.
There have been key guys who have been decent to key factors in the SB years. Malcolm Mitchel and Sony Michel for instance (especially Michel) in recent years. Then I think of Seymour, Light and Wilfork playing major roles as rookies in SB winning seasons. Dan Koppen & Eugene Wilson are 2 others I can think of.
The Patriots, as every team, supplements the draft picks with free agency and trades. Giving a pass on poor draft classes because they signed free agents in a year they won the Super Bowl is just stupid.