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
HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Devin McCourty (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /


Probably the most impactful overall draft (not including a sixth round pick on a quarterback in 2000) was in 2010. The Patriots zig-zagged up and down the draft board making a dizzying seven draft day trades. With so much draft capital again, it could be another day of numerous trades for the Patriots on Thursday and Friday night and on Saturday.

New England traded back twice in the first round moving back from the 22 overall pick to the 24 overall pick in the first round in a trade with Denver (and Josh McDaniels) and getting a fourth round pick. They turned the 24 overall pick into pick number 27 and sent a later fourth round pick as well to get the number 90 overall pick in the third round. At 27 they got their target all along, defensive back Devin McCourty (they did pass on Demaryius Thomas at 22 overall and Dez Bryant at 24 overall).

The New England Patriots then moved up in the second round throwing in a sixth round pick to jump two spots up and leap past the Baltimore Ravens to grab future All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Baltimore settled for Sergio Kindle (who was limited to three games due to injuries) and Oakland settled for the solid–if unspectacular–defensive lineman Lamarr Houston.

New England was not done yet, moving back with the number 47 overall pick down to 58 overall and picked up a third round pick. That third round pick was sent to Carolina for a 2011 second round pick (which was spun into running back Stevan Ridley and tackle Marcus Cannon) in a subsequent trade with Houston.

New England ended up with McCourty and Gronkowski–arguably two of the top ten players picked that year–in addition to two linebackers (Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham), tight end Aaron Hernandez, punter Zoltan Mesko, and another washout wide receiver (Taylor Price). However, the ability to move up and down to get McCourty and Gronkowski make that one of their best drafts in recent history.

Next: Complete first round mock draft

If the New England Patriots can work this draft capital in 2018 and get two Pro Bowl players and another handful of contributors, this will be a draft that will keep the Patriots in the playoffs for the foreseeable future.