Investigating New England’s Trade Down Possibilities in 2013

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid could receive a call from Bill Belichick on draft day. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

Yesterday, we discussed some of the motivations and prerequisites involved in New England making an unexpected trade up from their 29th overall draft pick. Today, read on for a look at some reasons for a potential trade down, as well as some teams which have an appealing stockpile of selections in this year’s NFL Draft.

With just five picks in this year’s NFL Draft, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would be wise to consider investigating potential trades which would help replenish New England’s shortage of selections. The Patriots could very well enter the draft with holes at a variety of starting positions, as well as some openings in important reserve or rotational roles, which makes Belichick’s proclivity for accumulating extra picks a logical option.

The four most important free agents for New England this season are wide receiver Wes Welker, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, and cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib, all of whom were essentially starters in 2012 (Arrington played some games in the slot, but his snap count was among the highest on the team.) Losing any of these players could create a draft need, with the possible exception of Vollmer, whose departure may be mitigated by further development from 2011 fifth-round pick Marcus Cannon.

In addition, several important reserves are set to hit the market, namely running back Danny Woodhead, wide receiver Julian Edelman, offensive guard Donald Thomas, and safety Patrick Chung. As of now, New England’s depth at wide receiver, along the offensive line, at linebacker, and in the secondary reflect a need to either re-sign impending free agents or personnel in the offseason, whether through free agency or via the draft.

Currently, free agency may be the only route by which the Patriots can address these needs; they hold three valuable draft picks (their own in the first, second, and third rounds), but none in rounds four through six, where rotational or reserve players could potentially be acquired. This year’s deep draft class could allow New England to find contributors in these rounds, which may motivate the Patriots’ front office further.

New England’s most valuable bargaining chip this year is easily their first-round selection, which could very well entice teams with a wealth of picks. The Patriots themselves should be looking to shop the pick for an important reason other than to increase their draft opportunities: not much premier talent is projected to make it to their selection at this point, except potentially at wide receiver, along the defensive line, or in the secondary, all personnel groupings which are plentiful with college prospects through the first three or four rounds.

So who may be interested in New England’s choice? It’s possible that teams such as Cincinnati, Miami, or San Francisco may be interested in moving up the draft board, as all of the above hold additional picks from other organizations. Cincinnati is in possession of Oakland’s second-round pick (#37 overall), Miami holds Indianapolis’ second-rounder (#54 overall) as well as Chicago’s third-round choice (#82 overall), and San Francisco’s deep draft stock s highlighted by a third-round selection from the Carolina Panthers (#74 overall.) In particular, San Francisco’s roster depth could push them toward a move up the board.

Aside from those teams, the Patriots may also field offers from teams picking in the early second round which wish to trade back into the first round for a quarterback prospect. One such option is the Kansas City Chiefs, as Bill Belichick traditionally makes at least one draft-day trade with head coach Andy Reid. Additionally, teams picking in the mid-forties could package their second and third-round picks for a fair deal according to the trade value chart.

New England has historically been willing to consider trades down which involve future first-round picks; that could be another option in April. In a draft class which is considered somewhat weak in the second half of the first round, it may be difficult to obtain a 2013 second-round choice in the deal (mirroring the trade made with New Orleans in 2011), but such a deal may nonetheless offer the Patriots an opportunity to gain day two or three selections while entering the 2014 NFL Draft with an extra first-round choice. Such a move would set the stage for future maneuverability.

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27 Responses to “Investigating New England’s Trade Down Possibilities in 2013”

  1. andrew says:

    we have Wilfork, Deadrick, and Love. can someone tell me why everyone is clamoring for a DT? This is pretty stimple 1 WR, 1 CB, 1 pass rusher from either DE or OLB and move Ninko to the other spot.

    • Phil says:

      Because besides Wilfork, there is a big drop-off. Kevin Love is an efficient run-stopper and Deaderick is just a mere depth option and shouldn’t be starting. The main reason why DT is one of their biggest priorities in this draft is because they need to find an efficient 3-tech DT who can push the pocket from the inside. It will do a ways with helping the pass rush out. By just drafting pass-rushing DE’s or OLB’s, it isn’t going to solve the problem entirely. Armond Armstead will surely help in that area but there needs to be another starting-quality interior pass rushing presence to bring the heat. It also would help out with depth because let’s face it…if Wilfork goes out, sure Kyle Love could fit in but it would bring down the whole defense. Plus, besides Love and Deaderick, who else is there behind them that would be able to fill in. Armstead helps but they need another.

  2. JH TARBORO says:

    Keep a eye on TE Joseph Fauria UCLA 6’8 255lbs. I just youtubed him,and i started smiling,can you say match up Nightmare!!! good hands and good blocker. Imagine a 3 TE set with Hernandez and Gronk! Athletically, slender build for 6’8 . Check him out! Keep an eye on this one at NFL combine. Patriot fans this could be a great late round fit.

    • acm says:

      Looks a bit too lanky to me – not enough muscle for that big frame. And the Pats would have ballard on top of Gronk to create those mis-matches next year (serious injuries aside). If the team needs another TE, I’d say he should be in the Hernadez mold – more agile and WR-like.

      • JH TARBORO says:

        acm Can you see the potential based on the way we use our TEs in New England No! i respect your opinion but i disagree, only because i’m looking at the possibilities. for late round consideration. appreciate your comment acm!

  3. acm says:

    Both Woodson and Freeney joined the list of experienced FAs today – unless they seek top dollar, which I think would be unlikely at this stage of their careers, I can easily see BB go after one if not both of them.

  4. Billy C. says:

    It seems like many are projecting the possibility of a Mallett trade. With two years left on the contract and with Brady’s contract expiring in two years it could be plausible that the next man up would be Mallett. In truth none of us really know if Mallett is capable of being the next QB of this club, however, I’m betting that Belichik does have an idea. I’d surmise that if he’s actually willing to trade him for anything less than a first rounder then he firmly believes he’s not the future QB of this team. Good NFL QB’s don’t grow on trees and Mallett has been in the system for two years of learning behind arguably the best QB and coach in the NFL. In two years Brady will be 38 (he won’t last forever).

    • Alex says:

      We can’t get good value for Mallett atm. He has shown basically nothing to teams other than the Patriots staff since he has been drafted, except he seems to have kept his nose clean. We have a decent chance of recouping the third round pick we sued on him, but as you said what’s the point.

      Play him a lot in preseason, and try and get him proper time at the end of games when we are up by 3 scores.

      With a lot of preseason tape, and a healthy smattering of regular season tape, assuming they both show good competency, he could prove to be a very desirable trade object, and we may be able to get a low one/high two and a further high conditional pick (1/2 or 2/3) the year after. At the moment though, no more than a third.

      • JH TARBORO says:

        Alex, remember new BROWNS’ GM Michael Lombardi was and still maybe in like with Ryan Mallett. Belichick’s buddy!

  5. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Draft with KC; Mock;

    QB Mallett, DE Franics, DE /LB Cunningham, for KC’s 3nd #63, 4th#96, and 4th next year.

    Patriots draft would look like;
    #29-DT Jesse Williams
    #59-OG/T Brian Winters
    #63- CB Darius Slay
    #91- SS/LB DaVonte Holloman
    #96-WR Conner Vernon
    7th- CB Demetrius McCray
    7th- TE Mychal Rivera

    • acm says:

      I am not sure you are getting much value for your 91st and 96th rounders, which makes me think it would be better to trade down one of those for a a 4th and 5th or something of the sort.
      If Vollmer and Thomas both stay, I’d postpone drafting an OL-man till the 4th and look for projects like Long, Watson, Armstead, Schwnke, etc there. If Thomas leaves, I can definitely see Winters being drafted in the 2nd (at 59 or 63).
      Also, I have my doubts M. Rivera stays on the board till the 7th – I personally expect him to go in late 4th or into the 5th at the latest.

      Assuming this trade you are making and that Thomas stays, I’d go with something like:

      29 – J.Williams (DT)

      59 – Patton(WR) / Cyprien, P.Thomas (S) / Poyer, L.Ryan(CB) / Greene (LB)

      63 – Dobson, Rogers, Wheaton, Hunter (WR) / Slay, Amerson (CB) / Greene (LB)

      91 – trade down for a mid 4th and mid 5th or something along those lines

      96 – OL-man from list above / Wreh-Willson, Swearinger (CB/S) / Holloman (LB/SS) / Tank Carradine (DE) if still around.

      4th rounder from trade – whoever is left from 96 + Swope (WR) / Rivera (TE)

      5th rounder from trade – Rivera / Wilson, Mellette (WR)

      7th rounders – depth picks where needed

      Basically, would go with best value available at needed positions, avoiding duplicating picks for a given position or players like say Greene and Holloman, both of whom project as coverage LBs in the NFL and have experience at SS.

  6. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Olineman Cannon will not be the answer at right OT if Vollmer leaves, thats for sure. Cannon is a back-up at OT, but has played much better at OG. I think Vollmer signs, but if not we draft an OT, at some point in the draft.
    QB mallett I see going to KC for a 3d #63 and a 4th next year.
    I do not think we sign much for free agents, maybe S Jim Leonard, for Min. money.
    We draft, a WR, TWO CB’s, OL, and maybe LB.
    Extra picks? DT/DE, SS,

    • JV says:

      Agree about Cannon, he looks more like a OG than an OT.

    • Hunter says:

      I heard a good scenario the other day on NFL Radio where KC sends Cassel and their 2nd rnd pick to NE for Mallett. It all depends on what teams think mallet is worth. But in this scenario, I see BB trading the 1st for a 2nd and 3rd, trading one 2nd for a 3rd and 4th, and suddenly you have 2 2nds, 2 3rds, and a fourth. I’d be ok with that based on the CB, S, and WR depth in this draft.

      • Sid says:

        If the cheifs didnt have such a high 2nd round pick it would be terrible however i dont think that it would be the best sinario i would much more prefer a second round for mallot

        • Alex says:

          Err, that trade gives us a second for Mallett. Not just any second but #34, which is as close to a first as makes little difference. They will never do that trade, far too kind for us.
          I reckon we could get a third this year, but why take it when he is cheap, and has a good chance to rise in value, and we spent a third on him.

  7. JH TARBORO says:

    The Patriots will be the blackjack dealers come draft time. We have a lot to gain in this years’ draft, for starters trading Ryan Mallett,also remember we are shedding players. IF you think Bill Belichick is only going to have 5 draft picks, you’re crazy! They’re multiple teams with 8 or more picks,San Francisco has 12 picks. A lot of new coaches mean,many new rosters and being that 2013 is cap year and many teams were over the cap last year,we will find some players in free agency to plug up some of our holes but the rest will be in draft and undrafted free agents. I have a feeling they’re going to get this right for 2013 .

    • Alex says:

      Worried about San Fran.
      Already have a loaded roster, have loads of picks this year. I see them trading lower picks for higher ones next year, and trying to get multiple second and third picks next year, as well as trying to get a high first.

  8. AM says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see KC or another team trade back into the first round for, say, Matt Barkley, but it just seems like there isn’t much demand for QBs this year. KC and Arizona are the only two teams that are definitely in the market. The Bills and Jaguars are presumed to be, but the Bills may not be willing to pull off the in-division trade, and the Jaguars may just roll the dice with Gabbert and Henne for one more year. Moreover, any of those teams may make a move for Alex Smith or Matt Flynn.

  9. Joe Blake says:

    Regarding the draft and FA: Hello Desmond Bryant, goodbye Trevor Scott. Goodbye Ryan Mallett (Kafka) hello 3rd pick. Hello Jesse Williams, DT (#1), goodbye Folston; hello Terrance Williams WR (pick #2) goodbye (and good luck D. Branch); hello Robert Lester SS (#3), goodbye Chung; hello Cornelius Caradine (#3), goodbye Cunningham; hello two 7th round CBs, goodbye Cole and some other jag whose name escapes me……

  10. cc says:

    This is why I don’t understand why when the org had the opportunity to do so, why we didn’t capitalize on the opportunity to semi-showcase previous player’s let go for nothing and bunch a few together for even the smallest type of extra pick.
    An example of a guy like Hoyer for a backup QB,alongside the let go BJGE. Toss in a decent rotational player or one who still too this day hasn’t respectivly done much “for us”, but could find his way elsewhere. Cunningham and even if you got a small/ lower pick out of it….at least you added a pick to the list for players who in the end for us we’ve gotten nothing for.

    • Dano_in_NY says:

      Mike Reiss has addressed this. You have to assume they ARE trying to trade these players before they unload them. I think the rest of the league goes cold on the Pats because few have traded with us in this way, but we traditionally have one of the largest number of players signed onto other teams’ rosters from ours. I think rosters lesguewide are just so full that no one is willing to give a pick for a player who will eventually be available for free.

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