Picking up where they left off late last night, the Patriots were busy making moves when the NFL Draft resumed on Saturday afternoon.
Early in the day, New England added to its wide receiver and kick return corps by selecting Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (6-1, 195).
During his conference call with local media Saturday, Mitchell recalled his pre-draft visit with New England wide receivers coaches Chad O'Shea.
"We went over several different things just to see if I would be a good fit for the system so for them to pick me up lets me know that they have confidence in me to be able to make that adjustment and learn what I need to learn to be the most effective player I can be on the field.
"I told the Patriots I'm willing to do anything I need to to help the team any way that I can. Regardless of if that's playing on offense, any special teams. I'll fill up the water if they want me to."
Mitchell already has a familiarity with the region, having interned at a telecomm company in downtown Boston last spring.
"I loved it…. came in May where the weather wasn't as cold as it normally is, but when I came up there for a team visit I loved every bit of it.
"Being drafted here in a special place is a dream of mine, but I have dreams that go beyond that, so, it's not about being drafted. It's about coming in, working hard, being productive and helping the team as much as I can," Mitchell emphasized. "That's also a dream of mine so that's what I look forward to trying to accomplish next."
Later, lacking a pick in the fifth round, the Patriots unloaded a few of their remaining picks to move up into that area. In a rare intra-division trade with Miami, New England acquired the Dolphins' 147th overall choice while surrendering two of their sixth-rounders (196 and 204 overall) and their final seventh-round choice (250 overall).
New England barely owned that 147 pick before dealing it away to Seattle. The two teams also swapped seventh-round picks, with New England acquiring the 225th in exchange for the 250th. In addition, the Seahawks gave the Patriots a fourth-round pick in 2017. That last move filled a void in 2017's Round 4 for New England, which had its own pick in that round taken away by the NFL as part of the DeflateGate punishments.
That left the Patriots with four choices: their three compensatory picks in Round 6 and Seattle's selection in Round 7.
Head coach Bill Belichick said after the draft that those two trades just happened to work out in New England's favor, particularly the second one, because the Patriots were about to make a selection when Seattle called to make an offer.
When the Patriots finally picked again in Round 6, at 208 overall, they chose Eastern Illinois defensive back/linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, a former college teammate of backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
"He's been kind of my mentor [throughout] this whole process," Grugier-Hill told reporters. "[Garoppolo]'s definitely been helping me out and giving me some advice on the process. I've definitely been in touch with him. Yeah, we actually have been texting back and forth for a little bit [today]."
Given his size (6-2, 215), Grugier-Hill looks like a hybrid safety/inside-the-box linebacker at the NFL level, and he acknowledged that he's worked out for NFL teams at "a bunch of different positions."
"He's an interesting player," Belichick mused. "He's kind of built like a safety, plays like a linebacker, plays a lot down in the box, as a linebacker would. Part of his value to our team would be in the kicking game, just based on the position that he plays. Defensively, we're just going to have to figure out what the best fit would be."
Six picks later, at 214 overall, New England went with another undersized linebacker, Houston's Elandon Roberts (6-0, 235). Leadership is a quality he believes he can bring to his new team.
"My dad, he was an Army guy, so, we lived in a very structured household," Roberts explained. "He went by the saying of 'Don't be a follower, be a leader', and I think that's what comes in on the field for me. I know with the New England Patriots organization that you see a lot of players that are leaders on the field and I'm just glad and I'm blessed to be a part of the organization."
Then, with the final selection in Round 6, at 221 overall, the Patriots grabbed another offensive lineman, their second in this draft, guard Ted Karras (6-3, 310) of Illinois. Karras comes from an NFL pedigree. His father, grandfather, and two great uncles (one of whom is former Detroit Lion and actor Alex Karras) all played in the league for at least one season.
New England's 2016 Draft concluded four picks later with the selection of another receiver, Arizona State's Devin Lucien (6-2, 195), in the seventh round.
No sooner had the draft ended than the Patriots, like every other team in the league, began reaching out to sign undrafted rookie free agents. Media reports indicated that Vanderbilt tight end Steven Scheu, Mississippi linebacker C.J. Johnson, and Arizona State RB/WR D.J. Foster were among those headed to New England.
As is their protocol, the Patriots have not yet confirmed any of those reported transactions. They normally do so a few days after the draft, once contracts are officially processed with the league office in New York.
Rookies, meanwhile, will begin arriving at Gillette Stadium for orientation as early as this coming week.
"Those guys have a lot to absorb, a lot to learn," Belichick remarked, "but they'll get through it…. I think we added some players who'll be competitive on the team. I look forward to working with them."
A look at the Patriots 2016 Draft class.