The Patriots hold 11 picks in this weekend’s draft, four of which are in the top 58 selections. If you heard Bill Belichick at his pre-draft press conference yesterday, you should expect that the Patriots will be dealing more than once this weekend.
As a fan, I want the Patriots to make all four picks in the first two rounds because of the excitement that comes with making all of those draft picks. But putting the excitement to the side, it is clear that making trades and moving picks (sometimes to the next year) is never a dumb move to make. Patience is often the key. And as Bill Belichick said, there probably isn’t room on the roster for 11 rookies, and the Patriots’ approach to the draft should run along these lines.
There is no better example of this than the 28th overall pick in the 2007 draft. The Patriots had taken Brandon Meriweather at 24, and many people suspected that Michigan linebacker David Harris would be next at 28. However, San Fransisco came calling and offered a first in 2008 and a fourth that year for the 28th pick. Bill Belichick, seeing the value in that trade, pounced upon the opportunity.
The next day, the Patriots shipped the fourth round pick they received in that trade for Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss. Say what? With that one pick, the Patriots picked up Randy Moss and a first round pick in 2008.
Then came draft day 2008, and the Patriots held the 7th overall pick, the same one from the 49ers trade. While on the clock, the Patriots had their guy, Jerod Mayo, but opted to trade down with the Saints at 10 who offered an additional 3rd round pick. And sure enough, at 10th overall, Jerod Mayo was still on the board, and the Patriots swooped in and took him. Now, from the 28th overall pick, the Patriots had acquired Moss, Mayo, and they still had a third round pick to spend. With the 78th overall pick, the Patriots selected Shawn Crable, who could be a starter down the line.
So there you have it, one pick, three players, and the Patriots are still reaping the benefits. Would you trade Jerod Mayo, Randy Moss, and Shawn Crable for David Harris? With all respect to David Harris who is a great player, I think not.
Bill Belichick is the best at making this kind of trade and you might be frustrated when the Patriots trade out of a selection at some point this weekend, and they most definitely will. But remember, down the road, the value of such a trade will most likely pay off with huge dividends.