FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk strode to the podium, unbuttoned his jacket to reveal a No. 12 jersey and then name-dropped the three-time Super Bowl MVP whose reputation has been sullied by the scandal known as ''Deflategate.''
''The New England Patriots AND Tom Brady select... ,'' Falk said before announcing the pick of North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney at No. 78.
The fans at draft headquarters in Chicago booed, but Faulk had made his point: The Patriots aren't quite willing to stop fighting the NFL and the perception around the country that Brady cheated.
More from FoxSports
The team was fined $1 million and docked two draft picks, and Brady was suspended four games what the league said was a role in a scheme to illegally deflate the footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game. Brady appealed both within the league and in the federal courts; this week, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled that Commissioner Roger Goodell was within his powers to suspend Brady.
The Patriots were quiet on the first day of the draft on Thursday, although as it began the team posted a picture of Brady's jersey on Instagram and made it the avatar for its Facebook and Twitter accounts. But the draft proceeded with only 31 picks in the first round, skipping New England at what would have been No. 29. (Arizona, which would have had the 30th overall pick, took Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive lineman from Mississippi.)
When the Patriots finally got around to making their first pick at No. 60 overall, they selected defensive back Cyrus Jones from Alabama, a 5-foot-10, 196-pound cornerback who also returned punts for the Crimson Tide. The Patriots had been scheduled to pick 61st as well but traded that pick to the New Orleans Saints.
After taking Thuney, a North Carolina State offensive lineman who did not allow a sack in an Atlantic Coast Conference game during his entire senior year, the Patriots grabbed the quarterback he was protecting: Jacoby Brissett.
During Brady's suspension, Brissett would be the backup in case Jimmy Garoppolo is injured.
AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL