That’s clearly some sort of commentary on the overall first-round talent and elite prospects available. It’s also a scenario that will likely make it tough for teams to move down, creating a buyers’ market and hindering moves, especially involving picks in the top half of the first round.
There is also a good chance that Bill Belichick – often a guy looking to trade down or even out of the first round – will be among those teams looking to make a deal on draft day. The Patriots head into Thursday night’s first round with just five picks – a franchise-record low. New England also has a pretty big hole in its draft, with no picks in the fourth, fifth or sixth rounds – meaning Belichick could watch the “parade go by” in the time between pick No. 91 and No. 226.
As such, there is a good chance the Patriots will be on the phone looking to deal as the No. 29 selection nears late Thursday night. Of course it takes two to trade. But unlike some of the teams nearer the top of the draft, I think Belichick might actually find a bit better trade market if he’s looking to deal down.
When teams trade up in the draft, they’re doing so for a specific player still on the board. Late in the first round of this seemingly unique draft class there is a good chance that a quarterback that some team may have fallen in love with is still on the board. That team, maybe one that’s already selected at another position earlier in the first round, might look to deal back into the back end for a passer. Or the enticement could come at running back – as it did for the Saints in a deal with the Patriots for Mark Ingram a couple years ago. Maybe another Alabama back, Eddie Lacy, will entice a team to jump into the 29th slot.
Maybe a team like the 49ers – that has a boatload of picks and limited holes on the roster – would be looking for a double-dip of top talent in the first round. Maybe a team like the Bills would look to jump back up for a QB they weren’t willing to target in the top 10.
Or maybe with it being a buyers’ market for trading up, maybe Belichick would see value in moving further up the board to get a talented player in the top half of the first round. I’ll never rule anything out for Belichick, Ernie Adams and Co. on draft day.
As we approach what has the potential to be the most unpredictable first round of the NFL Draft in recent memory, the rumors of trade winds are beginning to blow. While that may be wishful thinking in a lot of war rooms, I still think there is a chance the Patriots may indeed be able to trade down, add picks and still get players of value at positions of need in a talent class that’s deeper than it is top-heavy.
And unlike many past years when Belichick and the Patriots moved down in the draft via trade, I think it is probably the team’s best move this spring.
Do you think the Patriots should trade down? Do you think the team will be able to trade down? Let us know with a comment below?