Is Accumulating More Draft Selections Really in New England’s Best Interests?

At this point, it’s difficult to determine what New England has in 2012 third-round pick Jake Bequette. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

On April 15th, some ideas for potential trades the New England Patriots could investigate in order to replenish their draft capital were outlined; however, there is always the distinct possibility that the Patriots will opt for three high-quality picks (their first, second, and third-round selections) over trade-down possibilities which would offer them additional mid-round draft choices. Without many roster spots, available, don’t be surprised if New England is more aggressive than anticipated; read on for more information regarding this possibility.

The strongest case to make for a small 2013 draft class revolves around New England’s activity in free agency; the Patriots were very active this offseason, filling many of their roster spots with veteran players. They seem to have replaced Danny Woodhead with Leon Washington, Wes Welker with Danny Amendola, and Deion Branch with Donald Jones. Will Svitek was brought in to provide New England with offensive line depth, while the Patriots also invested in defensive linemen, signing Armond Armstead as well as Tommy Kelly to compete for snaps in what is shaping up to be a deep defensive tackle rotation. Dane Fletcher and Niko Koutouvides were re-signed as linebacker reserves, while the defensive backfield received attention via the signing of Adrian Wilson and re-signings of Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib.

At this point, we know that New England is receptive to adding another wide receiver due to the one-year, $2.5 million offer they tendered to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, but whether Patriots head coach Bill Belichick sees any major holes on the roster aside from that is anyone’s guess. Positions such as right guard or defensive end could potentially be addressed, but there are also young players on the roster at both positions with the potential to develop into starters: 2011 fifth-round pick Marcus Cannon and 2012 third-rounder Jake Bequette.

Both possess impressive physical tools, but their lack of significant playing time has made it difficult to evaluate their future prospects. Should New England’s coaching staff believe players such as Cannon and Bequette could replace incumbents Dan Connolly and Rob Ninkovich, respectively, they may wish to pass on drafting prospects in the early rounds at those positions.

What the Patriots plan to do with players whose contracts are set to expire following the 2013 NFL Draft is also worth considering; starters such as Ryan Wendell, Kyle Love, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Spikes, and Aqib Talib are set to hit the open market, so New England may look into addressing those positions with younger, cheaper talent a year in advance. However, it’s also possible that the Patriots will opt to reward quality play with contract extensions; in particular, it would come as a surprise if Wendell, Love, or Ninkovich were allowed to hit the open market.

New England’s possible openings in the starting lineup are concerning, but fortunately, the team is loaded with enough low-end depth to render additional mid-round picks more of an option than a necessity. In a draft which appears thinner than usual at certain positions (CB and WR excluded) in the fourth-to-sixth-round range, mid-round picks may have a difficult time winning roster spots from players currently on the roster. As we saw in 2007, this may be a draft in which New England makes relatively few picks, opting to upgrade at say, wide receiver, cornerback, and linebacker early rather than making a handful of picks to improve their roster depth.

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20 Responses to “Is Accumulating More Draft Selections Really in New England’s Best Interests?”

  1. kdog says:

    This article is fair enough as a counterpart to the trade-down piece.

    The non-sexy way to sum all this up is, the Pats have options. Their decisions can thus be dictated by what’s on the board, as it is most years.

  2. patsfan says:

    check this out. Probably one of the best mocks I have seen. Really hits all needs except cover linebacker but Taylor is so big he could fit the bill along with Adrian Wilson.

    • munchkin says:

      Thanks for drawing attention to that Mock. Bleacher report does a nice job on many levels. Jones would be a great fit with high value at that point in the draft.

  3. Rob says:

    Any idea what a trade for D. Fells or Humanouwii would bring back?

    • MaineMan says:

      A ham sandwich, a six-pack of near-beer and two tickets to a minor league hockey game in Enid, Oklahoma.

      IOW, slightly more than what the Jets might get for Sanchez.

  4. Ray Foley says:

    The less is more approach makes a lot of sense especially when you can consider the two players signed out of Canada as additional draft choices. Good article!

  5. Rob says:

    I also like the less is more approach but they have to hit on the receiver.
    Trading the 1st,for a 2 and a 4 would allow the pats to take Jamar Taylor and Aaron Dobson in the 2nd. I haven’t seen either player in the contacts yet. Any ideas about their value to the Pats, or how they’d fit?

  6. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    We could look at QB mallett trade to Tampa and our #91, and get #43, giving us;
    #29- Sio Moore
    #43-Markus Wheaton
    #59- Jordan Poyer

  7. Stephen S says:

    Does anyone know how many players are currently on the roster I believe its around 70-75 and they have 90 spots to fill as of right now if its 75 they have 5 draft picks that leaves them at 80 with 10 more spots to fill how many undrafted free agents will they pick up along with free agent signings. Just something to think about

  8. J H TARBORO says:

    less is more, we have our core players.

    • J H TARBORO says:

      Looking at the current 2013 draft contact list, it might make sense if we can’t get who we want in the 1st round. Checkout the list it’s growing.

      • acm says:

        There is likely a very limited list of players BB would spend that 29th for – 3-4 would be my guess. If none of them falls there, logical thing to do would be to trade out of the 1st.

        Just took a look at the contact list and wow, so many players from my board on there. Could so use an extra pick in the 2nd and 3rd.

        • Big Dan From Maine says:

          Dropping out of the 1st with a trade to the early second would not be a bad idea. Also somone had the idea about trading up with a pick and Mallet. I REALLY like that scenerio. Could definately see that as a possibility in the second round.

        • J H TARBORO says:

          i like the players i saw from my list also.

  9. Aaron says:

    I like the less is more approach. With few holes to fill, we need players that can come an contribute now. We need to land one or two players that potentionally start right now

  10. Aaron says:

    A nice article. I like the less is more approach. With only a few holes, we need players that can play now. Unless trading back lands a similar player that’s going to contribute this year, I say take fewer picks and get a starter or two.

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