It’s safe to say New England got the better end of the bargain here. There was some belief that the Patriots would trade cornerback Malcolm Butler to the Saints to get their first-round pick back, however, no trade took place. In addition to receiving Cooks and retaining Butler, New England would later go on to draft offensive tackle Antonio Garcia and ultimately walk away from the deal with more value.
New England already has a solid stable of young offensive guards after addressing the position twice in 2016. Ealy, however, brings a nice blend of experience and youth to the Patriots defensive line. New England was able to use Carolina’s 72nd pick to move down in the third round.
The addition of Brandin Cooks eliminated the need to draft a wide receiver, especially after taking Malcolm Mitchell in the fourth round last year. Moving down helped New England gain draft capital and acquire more tradable draft picks.