Despite being in different locations, the approach to the NFL Draft has not changed for Bill Belichick or the New England Patriots in 2020.
The New England Patriots made one of their usual moves during the first night of the NFL Draft on Thursday.
The organization realized that the gap between their picks from the first round (23rd overall) to the third round (87th overall) was too large, so as a result, the Patriots decided to gain additional draft assets.
In doing so, the Patriots traded down and out of the first round in order to gain a second (37th overall) and additional third round pick (71st overall) from the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for the 23rd overall draft pick. This trade forms a bridge between the large number of selections in between picks.
The way the trade went down in remote locations showed Bill Belichick calling Nick Caserio, Director of Player Personnel for the Pats, when they were on the clock to discuss what their options were going to be after the Minnesota Vikings drafted wide receiver Justin Jefferson 22nd overall. It showed that the Patriots were perhaps also interested in bringing in the standout receiver from LSU.
The trade now gives the Patriots five draft picks during the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft on Friday night. In a night where the first round only featured one running back and zero tight ends getting drafted, Caserio expressed how the trade simply just made sense in order to gain more assets for Friday night, per Nicole Yang of Boston.com:
"“It was a situation where we thought the trade made sense. I’m sure we’ll be active. At some point, we’ll end up picking a player. Each situation that comes up, we look at it on a case-by-case basis, and we do what we feel is best.”"
It’s worth mentioning that despite the new way of doing a virtual draft for the first time ever this year, Belichick’s overall approach has remained the same. This 2020 first round trade is the 27th time Belichick has traded down in the draft and also is the 78th time that he has made a trade on draft day.
Belichick’s draft day experience has proven that he can find the same talent and use of a player late in the fourth or fifth rounds of the draft that he could in say the second or third rounds — and he uses that as leverage in a genius type mentality as far as obtaining more or future assets.
New England heads into Day 2 of the draft with their team looking exactly as it did earlier in the week. The potential need for a quarterback still looms around the franchise, as well as acquiring other offensive weapons, such as a tight end and wide receiver, and strong defensive playmakers to play down on the line and up in the middle.
The second and third rounds of the NFL Draft will start tonight at 7PM.