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Analysis: Pats make sensible move

Alabama safety Xavier McKinney (Photo courtesy of AU Athletics)
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney (Photo courtesy of AU Athletics)

Sometimes the obvious move is the one that simply makes the most sense.

That was the case Thursday night when the Patriots chose to move down and out of the first round, picking up two additional selections on Friday.

Bill Belichick had the option of making a selection at 23 or moving down, and he found a willing partner in the Los Angeles Chargers and grabbed picks in the second (No. 37) and third rounds (71) instead. The move made plenty of sense for a team that is clearly in transition, with Tom Brady now in Tampa and the prospect of breaking in a young quarterback in Jarrett Stidham at quarterback.

Now the Patriots will have plenty of Day 2 ammunition with five picks. They also found their way into the second round, a pick that was lost last season in the trade to pick up Mohamed Sanu. In addition to the two new picks, the Patriots also will select at Nos. 87, 98 and 100.

By moving down the Patriots passed on some talented players such as linebackers Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen, safeties Xavier McKinney and Grant Delpit and edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos. Obviously there were others as well, but the Patriots likely felt comfortable that a similarly-rated player would be available at 37.

In fact, that's exactly what ESPN's Adam Schefter said on the broadcast when he explained the rationale. "They can take the same player at 37 that they would have taken at 23," Schefter said.

"You always have to be prepared to pick and we had a handful of players we were discussing," Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said. "We look at them on a case-by-case basis. We make a decision and look forward.

"We were having discussions with the Chargers and we were on the clock when the trade went down. We thought it made sense. I don't think what happened in front of us necessarily impacted what we did. We made the decision to move back."

If that line of thought proves correct, the Patriots will be in great shape. Tight end could be in the mix early in the second round, where perhaps Notre Dame's Cole Kmet, Dayton's Adam Trautman or Florida Atlantic's Harrison Bryant might make sense. Wide receiver depth is also considered to be at an all-time high with some prognosticators suggesting that 40 rookie receivers could be drafted this weekend. Defensively there are some intriguing options as well. Edge rushers, linebackers and safeties remain available at the start of the second round.

With 13 picks still at their disposal, more trades will likely be coming, as well as additional opportunities to improve the team. It may have been frustrating for fans looking forward to a first-round pick, but it was the right move for a team looking to add youth and talent.

"We'll look at what's left and recalibrate," Caserio added. "We'll see how it all goes. I'd expect us to pick a handful of players tomorrow."

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