NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
I know what you’re asking, when did Bill Belichick start writing for NEPatriotsDraft.com?
While that would be pretty cool, he hasn’t.
I know this isn’t a popular opinion with fans, and as a fan, I know exactly why it is frustrating. You wait around all day for the Patriots to pick… and they don’t. But maybe I’ve drank the Kool Aid, or maybe I have stockholm syndrome, but it is starting to make a lot of sense to me.
I know all of the complaints, and I’ll try to highlight them all, but in the long run I’m just trying to think what’s best for the team, and what will not only help them win now, but also in the future.
I have one caveat as well, there are seven players that could potentially fall to the Patriots, and if they do, I encourage them to draft these players in the first round, or even trade up for them: Courtney Upshaw, Michael Brockers, Devon Still, Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe, Nick Perry and Melvin Ingram.
Those are all players that are worthy of first round picks, and it will be tough to find a pass rusher or 5-tech DE nearly as good in the second or third rounds.
That being said, here are my reasons the Patriots should trade out of the first round:
DEPTH AT ALL THE POSITIONS OF NEED
This draft is absolutely loaded at CB, WR, G, C and pass rush, especially in the second and third rounds. It’s unlikely that any of the top three WRs (Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd), CBs (Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick, Stephon Gilmore), DEs (Cox, Poe, Still) or pass rushers (Ingram, Perry, Upshaw) fall to the Patriots, so why reach for talent when you can find similar talent in the second round?
All of these players should be available in the second round: Jamell Fleming, Chase Minnifield, Brandon Boykin, Jayron Hosley, Dwight Bentley, Alfonzo Dennard, Casey Hayward, Harrison Smith, Trumaine Johnson, Kendall Reyes, Brandon Thompson, Ronnell Lewis, Vinny Curry, Whitney Mercilus, Jared Crick, Shea McClellin, Andre Branch, Cam Johnson, Kevin Zeitler, Amini Silatolu, Brandon Washington, Ben Jones, David Molk, Phillip Blake, Alshon Jeffery, Stephen Hill, Marvin Jones, Marvin McNutt, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Rueben Randle, Brian Quick, Chris Givens… and the list goes on.
Would you rather take two first round players, which are likely reaches, or four second round picks, two third round picks, and multiple late round picks, while grabbing future picks?
THE MYTH OF DRAFTING “ELITE” TALENT IN THE FIRST ROUND
If you want elite talent, you should be arguing toward trading up, not staying put. The difference between a late first and early second round pick is minimal, especially in this draft.
This is the argument I hear the most often, “the Patriots need elite talent in order to help them win now.” Well they’re picking 27th and 31st. Sure, first round talent is usually easier to predict than later round talent, but if we’re only talking drafting ten picks later while picking up later picks or future picks, what’s the real difference besides the label of “first round pick?”
The best scenario would be to trade one pick for a team looking to draft Brandon Weeden late in the first, and the other pick to a team like the Falcons or Saints without a first round pick, so they could pick up a future first. That way, the Patriots would wind up with a an early 2nd round pick (around 36-43), their 48th pick, a pick around 60, and their 63rd pick.
As I said earlier, they could wind up with four-six of the players I listed above, or they could reach for a guy like Brockers, reach for a center like Konz, then only have two picks in the second round, and one in the third and fourth.