New England Patriots: Trade up or Trade Down in First Round?
By Hal Bent
TRADE DOWN PREDICTION:
Again, the this is a deep draft and the New England Patriots would be wise to capitalize on accumulating extra picks between 43 overall and 95 overall. Although the Patriots lack draft picks in rounds four and five they have two in the sixth round and another in the seventh round. Look for New England to use pick number 63 to move backwards and accumulate another pick in the fourth or fifth round.
If the Patriots are unable to move up with 43 overall, or are not enamored with the selections at 31 overall, a trade back is entirely possible. Look back to 2013 when the Patriots–lacking mid-round draft picks–moved backwards to great success trading their first round draft pick to Minnesota.
The New England Patriots traded the number 29 overall pick to the Vikings for a second round pick (52 overall), a third round pick (83 overall), a fourth round pick (102 overall) and a seventh round pick (229 overall). Patriots fans were disappointed to stay up on Thursday night and then not see the team make a draft pick.
However, the bounty that year allowed New England to reload on both sides of the ball. At 52 overall the Patriots snagged linebacker Jamie Collins who gave them three and a half solid years and was traded for a third round draft pick that turned into offensive tackle Tony Garcia (who may yet be the replacement for Nate Solder at left tackle).
The second pick from Minnesota became cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan was a versatile starter who gave the Patriots four solid seasons before leaving as a free agent last year going to Tennessee. Collins and Ryan were two solid–and inexpensive–players for the New England defense.
The fourth round pick ended up as wide receiver Josh Boyce. Boyce was a disappointment as he could never stay healthy and did not last beyond two seasons and had just nine receptions. The seventh round pick was sent to Tampa Bay and New England acquired running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount gave the New England Patriots a solid season (772 yards) in 2013 before moving on to Pittsburgh. He was released and came back in 2014 helping the Patriots to a Super Bowl ring.
He was the lead back in 2015 (an injury to Blount likely played a big part of the Patriots falling short in getting back to the Super Bowl) and he won another championship in 2016 continuing three plus years of solid running and 35 regular season touchdowns (and eight more in the playoffs) at a bargain price. Last offseason he moved on to Philadelphia where he picked up a third Super Bowl ring in four seasons.
A bounty like the one Minnesota paid could convince the Patriots to trade down from 32 overall or from 43 overall. The depth of prospects available in the middle rounds could see the Patriots move down multiple times to accumulate multiple picks between 63 overall and 95 overall (or even a few spots later).