Latest draft rumors could alter the Patriots’ first round pick

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 19: A view of New England Patriots helmets on the bench during the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 19: A view of New England Patriots helmets on the bench during the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With the 2023 NFL draft beginning with the first round this evening, the rumors have become a tornado within the media, with speculation about what team will take which player remaining the most discussed aspect.

Although this is common in the week leading to the draft, most of which is intentionally circulated to boost a team’s chances of getting a specific player, several rumors would directly impact the Patriots’ first-round selection.

Because this draft is critical for their rebuilding process, any setback could be nearly devastating.

With just hours left until the draft begins, here is a list of the latest gossip surrounding the draft that could significantly alter the Patriots’ process in round one.

The Aaron Rodgers trade could eliminate a top receiver from the Patriots’ choices by pick 14

Besides the evident impact of Rodgers landing in the AFC East, it has been heavily speculated that Green Bay made it a priority to swap picks with the Jets in round one, giving them the 13th selection and the Jets moving back to 15.

The rumor has been that the Packers have their eyes on one of the top-ranked receivers of the class, one that has been favored to land with New England over the last few weeks.

Suppose there is any truth to this, with even ESPN’s Matt Miller discussing the matter in an article published on Wednesday. That means Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be taken one pick before the Patriots, eliminating him as a potential WR1 for the upcoming season.

Of course, he’s just one receiver option the Patriots could go for in the first round, and we know how much interest they have shown to another receiver in Zay Flowers. So it’s possible they wouldn’t be all too heartbroken over losing JSN.

In case the Patriots want to move up a couple of spots, they may have a friendly option

The Texans have two prime spots in round one, the first being the second overall pick, with their subsequent falling just spots later at pick 12.

Since they desperately need a franchise quarterback while reportedly receiving little interest from teams around the league to trade up to the second pick, Adam Schefter said they might be open to trading pick 12 to move back in round one.

Because of the history between Texans’ GM Nick Caserio, who worked with the Patriots from 2001 to 2021, Bill Belichick may easily be able to make the trade-up happen.

History tells us that it’s doubtful we’ll see New England move up in the first round, but because of the Rodgers trade, it’s more possible now than earlier this week.

If moving ahead two spots isn’t enough… there may be other teams to inquire

Other than the potential trade-up scenario with the Texans, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Eagles (pick 10) and the Titans (like 11) might have interest in trading down to accrue more picks since both teams have just six picks total in this year’s draft.

Although their needs differ, both teams want to add more picks to build a better team overall. If the Patriots want to move up further than pick 12, this may give them two potential trading partners to do just that.

A top offensive tackle may come off the board as early as the top 5 picks

Since improving the offensive line is a priority this offseason, the Patriots have done their due diligence with all of their options at the position in the first round. Fortunately, the class is said to be deep, but if they have their hearts set on Paris Johnson Jr., they may be out of luck.

The Cardinals currently own the third overall pick and are unlikely to select a quarterback, given they still roster Kyler Murray, thus making their choices almost as good as if they were choosing first of the night. And according to NFL insider Greg Gabriel, Arizona will be looking at taking the second-ranked tackle.

Because it would be considered a surprising move, it could create a domino effect in the picks following, forcing other needy teams to grab their favorite tackles earlier than expected. As one of the more prominent positions needing to be addressed through the draft, that could create big problems for the Patriots early on.

DeAndre Hopkins is likely to be traded during the draft…

The rumors of the Cardinals looking to trade their top receiver have been going on for months, with their reported asking price scaring any interested teams from furthering their conversations to make a trade happen.

But that may be changing at some point during the weekend, as Arizona will probably get the trade done in the next few days, at least according to Adam “Pacman” Jones.

Then there’s the latest rumor that the Ravens are a new team expressing interest in acquiring the five-time Pro Bowler, which would be an interesting development considering they just signed Odell Beckham Jr. last month.

No matter where Hopkins ends up, it appears we can rule out the idea of him joining the Patriots.

But Jerry Jeudy is reportedly unlikely to be traded

On top of the Hopkins rumor, ESPN’s Dan Graziano has reported that Jerry Jeudy is staying in Denver, regardless of the multiple trade conversations the team has engaged in since last season.

The Patriots were reportedly heavily involved in conversations with Denver about making a trade for the receiver, more so before they hired Sean Peyton as the new head coach. Upon his arrival, the possibility of Jeudy being traded was seemingly shut down, and it appears the chances of that changing during the draft are slim.

Well, we can’t say the Patriots didn’t try to get a deal done for a WR1 this offseason.