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The Biggest Waste Of A Draft Pick In Team History

Bob George
Bob George on Twitter
22 years ago at 6:17 pm ET

SMITHFIELD, R.I. — Chris Canty may have been the first nickel back ever taken in the first round. He was a bad pick. He wasn’t the worst.

Sedrick Shaw may have been great at Iowa, but his ability to play in the NFL was as much corn as the major crop of that state. He was a bad pick. He wasn’t the worst.

Ed Ellis and Damon Denson are supposed to be the starting left side of the offensive line today. Instead, they both turned out to be totally offensive. They were bad picks. They weren’t the worst.

Chris Carter. Bad pick. Vernon Crawford. Bad pick. Tony Simmons. Bad pick. Rod Rutledge. Bad pick. Dave Stachelski. Bad pick. Jeff Marriott. Bad pick. Tony Gaiter. Bad pick.

None of them were the worst.

The crowning of the worst draft pick ever took several years to be validated. It survived many years of Phil Olsens, Bob Cryders, Reggie Dupards and Kenneth Simses. When the pick was made, however, Patriot Nation placed that pick right up there with picks like John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Drew Bledsoe and Curtis Martin.

But in the long continuum of time, this pick is right down there at the bottom of the dumpster.

It really won’t be official until he leaves the club in some capacity. It may be through retirement, trade, release, or a fitting for prison fatigues. But once Terry Glenn rids himself of this awful team he belongs to, he will have stamped himself in Patriot infamy like no others before him have done.

He will have become the biggest waste of a draft pick in club history. Unbelieveable, huh?

Perhaps you don’t believe it. Or agree with it. Maybe you still can’t believe Bobby Grier passed on Vonnie Holliday and took Tebucky Jones, who still really hasn’t found a home at any particular position. Maybe you are still gagging at the thought of the Patriots passing on David Terrell in favor of a defensive lineman that may fit better somewhere else other than New England. Maybe you are still angry at the Patriots when they traded down and got immortals like Chris Singleton and Ray Agnew.

Nope. Terry Glenn takes the cake. And is trying to eat it too, in big gobs.

It is really difficult for Joe Patriot Fan to understand that this is a man in deep, deep trouble. He stands accused of a felony, and is the subject of a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Glenn can make this claim and that claim and prey upon everyone’s sympathies about how he’s being cheated and mistreated. But the hard truth is that before long, Glenn could be behind bars and his pro football career in ruins.

Joe, understandably, can only see the forest for the trees, and it’s a puny forest at that. All Joe sees is this guy who is jerking his team’s chain at every chance, and taking his team’s Super Bowl chances right with him as he heads out of town.

The loss of Glenn’s talent to the team is barely the tip of the iceberg. It’s everything that Glenn represents that makes this whole situation so damaging for the Patriots. The circumstances surrounding his very selection in 1996 are what really stamp Glenn as the biggest draft bust in team history.

Talent-wise, the man ought to be forming the foundation for his eventual bust at Canton, Ohio. His raw ability is among the best in the league at his position. His game-breaking ability rivals that of Marvin Harrison and Eric Moulds in the conference. When Glenn is right, and when he is totally focused, he is one of the rare players who can force a defense to respect him and to tailor their defensive game plans accordingly.

But that’s the problem right there. When he is right. When he is focused. Except for 1996, Glenn has never been both.

Except for 1996. Hmmmm.

Glenn’s impending departure further magnifies the tragedy suffered by the team that has roots in his very draft selection. Thanks to Glenn being selected, the Patriots lost the services of the greatest coach the franchise has ever known, and the winning tradition he had built and which has never been continued since his departure.

It is such dramatic irony that Glenn’s only productive season was for Bill Parcells. Parcells was the only coach who kept Glenn in line and knew how to get him to work. Parcells got inside Glenn’s head right away with his “she” remark, and Glenn responded with a rookie-record 90 catches in ’96. He made two huge grabs in the postseason that year, one of them that got the Patriots off and running against the Steelers, and a scintillating grab in the Super Bowl that helped set up a touchdown.

Glenn has done precious little since. Parcells left for the Jets, and neither Pete Carroll nor Bill Belichick have been able to replace the father figure that Parcells gave Glenn.

In fairness to Carroll and Belichick, most NFL players don’t need this kind of coddling and tough love. As a man, Glenn is reasonably expected to behave like a responsible adult upon arrival to the NFL. Every pro ballplayer needs to be pushed by a head coach, but there is a distinct difference between being pushed and being babied.

Bob Kraft caused Glenn to be picked, Parcells got mad, coached Glenn the way he needed to be coached, led the Pats to a Super Bowl, then split the team. The Patriots have declined steadily in each year since Parcells left, while Parcells gave the lowly Jets instant stability and credibility. Glenn has regressed from burgeoning superstar to burgeoning jailbird.

This column has delved into Glenn’s troubled past and has attempted to show and portray a man in need of help. While Glenn certainly put up with his share of childhood trauma, and while Glenn has every right to bear anger towards his mother’s murder, it didn’t seem to be a problem while Parcells was head coach.

Because Glenn is here, Parcells isn’t. With Parcells went the Patriots’ respectability, their winning tradition, and the only man who can coach Glenn. Perhaps this is pro football’s version of The Gift Of The Magi. In this case, it would have to be the anti-Magi.

Glenn was a first round pick who should be the linchpin of the Patriot offense. At the very least, he was a first round pick who cost the team their best-ever coach. Now, he’s a first round pick who will most likely leave the team for nothing in return, and who still cost the team a Big Tuna.

Add it all up, and you get the biggest draft bomb in the history of the franchise. It’s the mother of all wasted picks.

You can get real morbid and include all the players Parcells took down to the Joisey swamps with him, including that Martin fella. Makes you wonder if even a perfect Glenn was worth all that loss of personnel. How many of you would take Parcells and perhaps Tony Brackens instead of Glenn right now?

Well, this should all be over sometime soon. The 5:00 PM deadline came and went on Wednesday with nary a Glenn sighting here at Bryant College. Glenn will either retire or sue the pants off the Patriots and the league for his bonus money he isn’t getting. Neither option includes suiting up for practice.

And thus will bring to an end the aura of the Patriots we all thought we were getting. The teaser in 1996 with the Super Bowl and all that is now a fanciful dream in shambles. What used to be a mindset of playoffs being the birthright of the Patriots has become a team that has only a new stadium to look forward to.

Let us all go on with our lives without Glenn. Glenn will go to sleep still angry at his employers, but someday will wake up and come to grips with an alleged drug abuse rap and a day in court.

And the anguish Patriot Nation will have over The Biggest Waste Of A Draft Pick In Team History will be nothing compared to whatever anguish lies ahead for a man whose whole life has been filled with anguish.

Things always even out over time, it seems.

Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 2001 Patriots Season Bill Belichick Bob Cryders Chris Canty Chris Singleton Curtis Martin Damon Denson David Terrell Drew Bledsoe Ed Ellis John Hannah Mike Haynes New England Patriots Pete Carroll Phil Olsens Reggie Dupards Sedrick Shaw Tebucky Jones Terry Glenn Vonnie Holliday

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