It took a couple years, but Patriots fans finally got it right by selecting former New England first-round pick and three-time Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour to be the 2020 inductee into the team’s Hall of Fame.
Seymour beat out former 1990s head coach Bill Parcells and 2000s All-Pro linebacker Mike Vrabel in the voting a year after losing out to safety Rodney Harrison.
An argument can be made that Seymour is the best draft pick that Belichick made in his two decades in Foxborough. Not the best player or the best value, that nod certainly goes to the late-round flier that the GOAT coach took on GOAT QB Tom Brady. But the best pick.
Belichick needed an anchor for his 3-4 front when he took advantage of the No. 6 overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft that he earned after his team’s dismal 5-11 season in his first season in Foxborough. Belichick dismissed flashier, sexier picks like getting then-franchise QB Drew Bledsoe a big receiver weapon such as Michigan’s David Terrell.
Nope, Belichick made a controversial selection of a big, long, powerful, athletic defensive lineman out of Georgia with few sexy stats and fewer fans calling for his selection with New England’s highest pick since Willie McGinest.
To say Belichick nailed that pick doesn’t do him or Seymour justice.
Seymour started 10 of 13 games as a rookie, seeing action all over the defensive line and helping stabilized a front that was part of the Patriots first title run.
By his second season Seymour earned his first of five straight Pro Bowl trips in New England. His third year brought his first of three straight All-Pro nods.
Those who are beholden to stats may wonder about Seymour’s greatness. They shouldn't.
No. 93 never had more than eight sacks, tallying a total of 39 in his eight seasons in New England, adding three forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries in that span.
Seymour’s impact, though, went well beyond the numbers. His ability to draw double teams freed up guys like Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi to make plays and accumulate statistics.
His stout play against the run and pocket-pushing pass rush may not have shown up on the stat sheet but were a key aspect in championship defenses that were among the best in Patriots history.
Seymour also butted heads with more than just opposing offensive linemen. He didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Belichick in terms of his big-money contract negotiations or his own usage on the field.
That played a factor on Seymour being traded to the Raiders prior to the 2009 season in exchange for a first-round pick. In Oakland Seymour proved his continued worth with another three Pro Bowls.
Seymour was never the loudest, flashiest or most note-worthy player in his time in New England from 2001-08. But he was certainly always among the best players on the roster on some truly great, talented Patriots teams.
A finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the last couple years, Seymour will likely one day be enshrined in Canton among the greatest football players to ever play the game for any team.
Thankfully, Seymour will get his red Patriots Hall of Fame jacket this summer before his next shot at a gold one.
Seymour was definitively one of the best defensive lineman to ever wear a New England uniform and now he’ll be properly remembered that way with his spot in the Patriots Hall of Fame secure.