ESPN analyst suggests 3 round one trades for the Patriots
The pressure is on for the Patriots to make the right selection in the first round of the draft this year, far more than in years past. As they work to overcome the struggles of the last few seasons, the players they choose will likely be paramount to their success as soon as this fall to become a competitive football team again.
Many scenarios can occur in round one, with most believing Bill Belichick will follow his usual route of trading back. But what if he shocked the world and actually moved up in the first round?
According to ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell, that’s one of the three trade scenarios he sees potentially taking place on the opening night of the 2023 draft.
Of the three situations Barnwell sees as an option, he has the Patriots trading with the Titans to move up three spots to pick 11. Along with pick 14, they’d also give up their third-rounder (76) while receiving Tennessee’s fifth-round pick (147).
But why would Belichick decide to move up? Barnwell says to get ahead of two teams that need players at the same positions.
"“For Bill Belichick and the Patriots, this would be a trade up the board to grab a wide receiver ahead of the Texans (No. 12) or a left tackle ahead of the division-rival Jets (13). Belichick sticking it to his former employers? It’s not tough to imagine that one happening. The legendary coach doesn’t often make huge trades forward in Round 1, but he has made left tackle a priority.”"
It’s possible that this could actually happen on draft night, despite Belichick’s history of staying put or trading back. Because of the drastic need for both a receiver and offensive tackle, moving up to get the one they want would be a good move, especially when jumping ahead of AFC rivals.
In the more likely situations, the Patriots trade with the Saints in Barnwell’s first trade-back suggestion.
This lands New England with pick 29 in round one and 40 in round two, six spots above their current second-rounder. New Orleans would only receive pick 14 in return, making the trade a much more favorable scenario for Belichick and the Patriots.
The analyst cites his decision to choose the Saints as a potential trading partner due to their history of trading up, making it a trade match in heaven. However, if there is a tackle specifically that is still on the board at pick 14, Barnwell believes Belichick will stay put.
"“The Patriots could stay put here if there’s a left tackle they like, but otherwise, they should field calls from teams that want to take a cornerback ahead of the Commanders (No. 16), Steelers (17) and Lions (18). Bill Belichick typically prefers to address corner after Round 1.”"
This would be an excellent trade for the Patriots because of the second-rounder thrown in to sweeten the deal. It has been rumored for weeks that they may trade up from pick 46 anyway, possibly for a receiver or corner if they go tackle in the first. So trading back quite a bit and getting pick 40 would be a win/win scenario.
In the other trade-back suggestion, Barnwell has them moving back to pick 21, swapping first-rounders with the Chargers while picking up pick 54 in round two and giving up pick 135 in the fourth.
Although he doesn’t specify why the Patriots would be interested in making this trade, it would be similar to the hypothetical trade with the Saints. Adding another second-rounder not far from their other in the round for a fourth would be a great move.
Fortunately, we only have to wait a week to find out what the Patriots will do with their picks.