Late last night the New England Patriots wrapped up a deal with the Minnesota Vikings that sent them the #29 pick in the first round in return for another four picks in the draft. As can be seen in this video, when the deal was finalized in the New England war room, Belichick firmly hit his hand off the table, nodded his head in approval and said, "that's four picks tomorrow."
It's typical Belichick. He doesn't say a lot but he knows he got away with a great deal here. In this draft, the value between the #29 and #52 selection is not that drastic and to pick up another three selections (#83, #102, #229) gives them the flexibility to do what they want on day two.
So what will the Patriots do with four selections on day two of the draft? Patriots Director of Player Personnel, Nick Caserio, admitted the Patriots could move again tonight.
With five out of the next 70 draft picks, he was asked about this flexibility and said, "We're in a situation now where we hope we can capitalize on that. It just gives us the flexibility to do a few different things tomorrow."
Caserio went a little more in depth when asked about the possibility of trading up, he said, "Possibly. We'll see how it goes...based on the number of players that are there, if there are multiple players, then that's one thing. If some of those players start to come off and we want to make a move up, we now have a little more flexibility to do that. I think we're open to anything at this point, so we'll have to see how it unfolds tomorrow once we get started."
That's right, we need to see how things unfold. The Patriots spent about 25% of their pre-draft visits and workouts on wide receivers, so with all the time that went into that, it's easy to assume that wide receiver is the number one need. But the secondary and defensive line could be a spot where the team needs some depth as well.
What To Watch For
With only three wide receivers going in round one, there is plenty of talent that could fall in round two. Caserio himself hinted that if multiple players are there then a trade up is unlikely but if those players come off, it might be time to make a trade.
Specifically, keep an eye on the wide receivers. If they start to fall off the boards, look for New England to move up. Richard Hill wrote a great article outlining some of the possibilities if the team does choose to move. However, if wide receivers aren't being drafted, expect the Patriots to stay put at #52 and #59.
The x-factor in all of this is Ryan Mallett. He's still in New England's back pocket and if a team chooses to offer an early second round pick for him, the Pats could pull the trigger. While it's unlikely, the possibility is always there and it's something to keep an eye on.