The New England Patriots were expected to use the No. 21 overall pick on adding a new No. 1 cornerback to replace JC Jackson or getting Mac Jones and Kendrick Bourne more help at wide receiver. As we all know by now, neither of those potential futures manifested into a reality.
New England did what they always do and traded down with the Chiefs, picking up the No. 29 pick in the process. The Patriots took Chattanooga lineman Cole Strange, who was expected to be available in the third to fourth round despite having a very impressive athletic profile.
Like many Patriots fans, Bourne seemed to be just a bit underwhelmed by New England’s general draft strategy. Despite several pressing needs on the roster, New England moving back and choosing a lineman was considered to be underwhelming (and a slight reach) by many.
Bourne seemed less mad about the Strange pick and more irritated with the fact that his draft party had to stay up even later in order to find out who New England would take. Bourne has only been with the Patriots for one year, so he got a very rude introduction to life alongside the master of trading down in Belichick.
Kendrick Bourne was mad the New England Patriots traded down
Can’t fault Bourne for that! The first round of the draft always takes forever, and if you’re slotted in the 20s, it feels that much longer. All the guy wanted was a selection at the time that was promised! Is that too much to ask?
While Belichick did trade down with Kansas City early on, he later moved up in order to take Baylor speedster Tyquan Thornton in the second round. While the selection of Houston cornerback Marcus Jones was met with praise, New England used a fourth-round pick on a nearly identical player in Arizona State’s Jack Jones.
Trading down as a contender makes sense, as it could help New England stockpile depth at multiple key positions. Doing so as a fringe playoff team with clear holes that need to be addressed is something completely different. Reaching on your first two picks makes this strategy even riskier.
Belichick trading down was a strategy that could not be criticized due to how often he was developing Pro Bowlers. Over the last few years (2021 largely notwithstanding), Belichick’s ability to identify talent has come under fire thanks to picks like N’Keal Harry. Strange needs to ball out immediately to take the pressure off.
Belichick refusing to trade down in 2021 was a rarity, as he was not going to let the chance to add a future franchise quarterback in Mac Jones pass him by. The Patriots fanbase and Bourne himself will change their opinions in a heartbeat if Strange is an immediate impact player as a rookie, though.