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Almost A.J.? Philadelphia Eagles' Star WR 'Cried' When Passed By New England Patriots in NFL Draft

Philadelphia Eagles receiver A.J. Brown admits that he "cried my eyes out" when the New England Patriots didn't select him in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Long before the reeling New England Patriots forced their fans to tearfully endure a painful slide toward the bottom of the NFL, they reduced a future star receiver to tears.

In another draft whiff that has accelerated the Pats' dramatic demise from six-time Super Bowl champions to already playing spoiler in Sunday's mid-October AFC East matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Bill Belichick in 2019 selected N'Keal Harry over current elite receivers A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel and DK Metcalf.

In a 2020 interview that surfaced this week, Brown laments that the Patriots passed him over with the 32nd overall pick in the 1st round.

"I was a big Patriots fan," Brown said. "I got a phone call and I was like 'This is it.' But it wasn't it, it was my agent. He was like 'They finna take a receiver.' And I'm like 'OK, cool, bet.' I just saw that the time just kept going down on the Patriots clock. And I was like 'Uhh, they tripping. I don't know what the hell is going on.'"

The Patriots, infamously, decided on Harry over Brown. A key weapon in the Philadelphia Eagles' run to last year's Super Bowl, Brown finally went to the Tennessee Titans at No. 51.

Said Brown, "I'm like 'This s*** is over.' I left everybody at the house and went home. I went in the closet and cried my eyes out. I swear."

Harry was ultimately traded to the Bears - for a 7th-round pick, mind you - after three underwhelming seasons in Foxboro in which he caught only 57 passes. During their five-year careers: Brown has 5,163 yards and 37 touchdown receptions; Harry only 714 and five.

Unfortunately for the Pats, Harry-over-Brown wasn't Belichick's only miss on receiver talent evaluation. New England also spent mid-round picks on busts such as Brandon Tate (2009), Taylor Price (2010), Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce (2013) and Malcolm Mitchell (2016). He sort of stumbled into his last "great" receiver - Julian Edelman - whom he drafted in the 7th round in 2009 as a quarterback out of tiny Kent State.

In his career A.J. Brown has 37 TDs; N'Keal Harry only five.

In his career A.J. Brown has 37 TDs; N'Keal Harry only five.

And the beat goes on. Tyquan Thornton over George Pickens in the 2022 draft. JuJu Smith-Schuster over Jakobi Meyers in 2023 free agency. Trading away tight end Jonnu Smith, who leads the 3-3 Falcons in catches.

With a glaring lack of playmakers, the Patriots are burdened with one of the most anemic offenses in the league this season. They haven't scored more than 20 points in a game and have been held under 30 in 22 games started by quarterback Mac Jones.

Brown got over his disappointment and made an immediate impact as a rookie, helping the Titans upset the Patriots in the 2019 Wild Card playoffs that turned out to be the final game in New England for Tom Brady.