New England Patriots: Trade up or Trade Down in First Round?

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots /


By pick twelve at the absolute latest, four quarterback will be off the board. If Arizona (15 overall) or Baltimore (16 overall) have a shot at Lamar Jackson, he will likely be gone to one of those two quarterback needy teams. To get Jackson, the New England Patriots are likely to have to jump to Green Bay at fourteen overall to have a realistic chance to draft the exciting quarterback prospect.

This seems unlikely. With five picks in the top 95, it will cost New England both first round draft picks or number 23 and their higher second round pick (43 overall) to get into the top 15. More likely is the New England Patriots look to make a package with the 43 overall pick in the second round to get a third first round pick in this draft.


With the depth of this draft, my prediction is the New England Patriots will move up and then move down later. I expect the Patriots to stay at 23 and 31 overall and try to move back into the first round at 29 overall (Jacksonville), 30 overall (Minnesota) or Philadelphia (32 overall).


Simple. The value of the fifth-year team option that comes with first round draft picks. With the slotted salaries for first round picks no longer making the cost of a first round pick prohibitive, the later first round draft picks will have a very affordable fifth-year cost that second-round draft picks do not.

Look only at AFC rivals Miami (Jarvis Landry) and Pittsburgh (Le’Veon Bell) to see how a superstar emerging from the second round can create chaos after year four. The Steelers have had to slap the franchise tag on Bell twice already when a fifth-year option would have likely made Bell much more amenable for a deal. Landry was dealt this offseason to Cleveland by Miami after they had to put the franchise tag on him with a dispute over his value.

Closer to home, consider the case of Jimmy Garoppolo. If Garoppolo had been a first round draft pick he would be back in New England in 2018 at a reasonable cost and no leverage to force a trade. The New England Patriots would have had another year to decide the fate of Garoppolo. This is the biggest reason to take a quarterback in the first round.

Bill Belichick tends to be the leader of the pack in finding value. He was the last executive fighting for the six year contract for first round draft picks. The late first round draft pick is becoming the best value add to a roster right now. With two first round draft picks already, why not try to squeeze another year at a cheap price by moving up 11 to 14 spots and get that third player at five years.

With three first round draft picks, the Patriots would be more comfortable gambling on a late first round quarterback. If they did go with a quarterback late in the first round, I would expect Luke Falk of Washington State to be the target. Falk is not mobile, and like a young Tom Brady needs to add muscle and strength in his upper and lower body. However, he is a pocket passer with excellent accuracy and poise. Yes, he played in a spread offense that inflated his stas a bit, but he should have a few years to work under center and work with Josh McDaniels to translate his raw skills into an NFL quarterback. Best of all, he’d be under team control for five years.