Yeah, I know. The draft is over. It has been over for awhile. Hundreds of analysts and experts have already given the final word on how well the New England Patriots did. But what else is there to talk about??? The owners continue the lockout and no end is in sight. Last week I discussed the selection of Nate Solder, a very good pick. So what did the Patriots do with their second first round pick?
That’s right, they traded it to the New Orleans Saints for the 56th overall pick in the 2011 draft and their first round pick next season. Now that is not a bad trade. They got good value for that pick. The Pats once again have situated themselves to be able to do whatever they want in the draft next year. But to be completely honest, I am torn as to whether Belichick did the right thing here. So let’s start with why I think that this trade was a wise move.
First, two first-round draft choices equals big-time money. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but the current state of the league this year makes that a bigger gamble. One of the hot-button issues in the labor negotiations is a rookie salary cap. Who knows what that number might be? The amount of money that is usually committed to a first round choice is usually high. A cap may pull that down somewhat but with two picks, that might make things more complicated.
Second, what about a regular salary cap? Again, with so much unknown, it may have been more prudent to trade away the pick, grab another first rounder for next year when we should know all of the parameters and avoid the problem.
With that being said, Mark Ingram would have looked fantastic in a Patriots uniform. The Patriots have a few holes that could have been filled there. Running back, which the Patriots did eventually address proving that they knew it needed to be upgraded, as well as a legitimate pass-rusher could have been taken there.
Look at the names that were still on the board, in addition to Mark Ingram, at pick 28. Cameron Heyward, Bruce Carter, Brooks Reed, Akeem Ayers, Jabaal Sheard, and Muhammed Wilkerson, to name a few. All of these guys would have improved the Pats pass rush. It is even a little more frustrating when the Pats passed up most of these same players twice when they selected Ras-I Dowling with the first pick of the second round. Why not address such a big need?
Now it is possible that the Pats have their eye on a pass-rusher in the free agent market. But who knows for sure who will be available? New rules may change who is eligible. Perhaps their current team will tag the player or resign them before they hit the market. Then what? It feels like a gamble.
So was this a good trade? I say yes. Why? The Pats could have grabbed one of those guys later if they had wanted to. Then no one would be complaining about this trade. The trade itself was a prudent move and, sooner or later, there will be a player that Belichick will become enamored with. And when that player comes along, the Hoodie will have the ammunition he needs to be able to go and get him. Delayed gratification people. It’s still a virtue, even in our instant gratification culture. So just chill. Belichick knows what he is doing. In the meantime, the Pats just continue to win.