The Patriots began Friday scheduled to make three combined picks in the second and third rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.
By the time the night ended early with Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio taking to the podium to discuss New England's day – including trading the No. 95 overall pick to the 49ers in exchange for mammoth veteran right tackle Trent Brown and the 143rd pick, one of a handful of trades on the day – the Patriots made just one selection, Florida cornerback Duke Dawson.
The wheeling and dealing on Friday now leaves New England with five picks on Saturday's final day of draft action with one fourth-round selection, a fifth-round pick, two sixth-round picks and a seventh-round pick. The Patriots also added a 2019 second-round pick from the Bears along the way.
As he wrapped up Friday's work, Caserio said the five picks on the final day could allow the team to once again move around the board to target certain players of value or even to select more guys, including some who might otherwise have to be targeted as priority undrafted free agents.
"It just gives you an opportunity to pick maybe a few players that you like or that maybe you would have to compete for in rookie free agency," Caserio explained. "So, instead of having to compete with them in free agency, maybe you'd just pick the player to avoid that and/or if you wanted to move a little bit in the fourth and fifth round. So, if you're looking up there and there's a specific player that you have interest in and you're sitting there going, 'Well, he might not make it here to the sixth or seventh round.' Like, if we like the player enough, alright, let's go up there and get him and pick the player.
"Numbers just give you more opportunity and flexibility if you want to use it. I mean, look, those five could very easily go to two in a heartbeat or depending on how it unfolds."
Having drafted the "normal" total of three players through the first three rounds, and with the five picks on day three to put to use, New England still has some perceived holes to fill.
Here's a look at some of the potential positions the Patriots could target on Saturday and some of the top remaining players at those positions.
Quarterback – Many expected the Patriots to take a developmental quarterback this weekend. Three rounds in, with six quarterbacks having been drafted, New England still has not addressed the theoretical need. The remaining crop of talent includes Richmond's Kyle Lauletta, Western Kentucky's Mike White and Washington State's Luke Falk, all three of whom have been linked to the Patriots at some point in the process.
Edge –After three rounds of action, New England hasn't yet added to the team's defensive front seven. Among defensive end possibilities still on the board are Florida State's Josh Sweat, Ohio State's Jaylen Holmes, Wake Forest's Duke Ejiofor, Tulane's Ade Aruna and Utah's Kylie Fitts. Outside linebacker types include Oklahoma's Obo Okoronkwo, Auburn's Jeff Holland and Central Florida's Shaquem Griffin.
Tight end – Even with Rob Gronkowski's recommitment to the team, adding a youthful developmental tight end remains an option. Still-available prospects include Miami's injured Chris Herndon, Wisconsin's Troy Fumagalli and Indiana's Ian Thomas, among others.
Wide receiver – The receiver position is always one that sees a lot of prospects get their name called, including later in the draft. That means plenty of draftable options are still on the board. Some who might fit the Patriots needs include troubled-but-talented Florida prospect Antonio Callaway, Clemson's Deon Cain, Miami slot option Braxton Berrios and a long list of others.