Patriots: 3 draft trades that could change NE’s first round

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The New England Patriots currently hold the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which is uncharted waters for a team that is used to picking near the tail end of the first round over the last few decades.

The Patriots could be in the market for a new starting linebacker, a potential No. 1 wide receiver, and a franchise quarterback that can take over once Cam Newton is ready to let go of the QB1 reigns.

Doing that in the middle of the first round, however, could be tough.

New England built a dynasty around the idea of trading down, as the philosophy of maximizing the number of potential stars by getting more draft picks seems like a noble idea to adhere to. Unfortunately, in practice, the Patriots might get burned for decades to come if they aren’t more aggressive this year.

The Patriots not only could see many of the top prospects come off of the board in the first few rounds ahead of them, but they could be beaten to the punch by other aggressive teams.

If one of these three moves happens, it could be devastating for New England.

These 3 NFL Draft day trades could alter the Patriots’ strategy.

Dave Gettleman, Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 29: Dave Gettleman General manager of the New York Giants. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Dave Gettleman trades down

The Giants have been considering trading out of the No. 11 pick, as Dave Gettleman seems to think that the best way to get Daniel Jones some help is to accumulate picks. With a lack of great edge-rushing talent in this class and a surplus of wide receivers, the Giants might do well to trade out of that spot.

If the Patriots aren’t the team that makes that trade, this could be a nightmare scenario for New England. While most of the top quarterback talent will likely be off the board, New England will have to deal with the possibility of one of the top wide receiver prospects in this class not falling to them.

Ja’Marr Chase is amazing, but he hasn’t played in a year. DeVonta Smith won the Heisman, but he weighs just 166 pounds. Jaylen Waddle is a game-changer, but he’s a major injury risk. All three of those prospects have flaws that could help their stocks slide, but New England remaining passive could force them to miss out on all three standouts.

The Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne signings will help in the short-term, but New England needs a star that they can lean on for the next decade now that Julian Edelman has retired. Belichick could let a golden opportunity slip away if he doesn’t try to pry that pick away from Gettleman.