Let's start by saying that this is just a rumor. The Patriots have yet to be found of wrong doing and that this is just a report of speculation by team executives about the potential damage.
Rumor from @seniorbowl (don't know if true), small group of team exec's saying Patriots will lose 2nd Rd Pick for "deflated ball scandal."— Russell Lande (@RUSSLANDE) January 22, 2015
Repeat: this is just a rumor, and Lande has admit as such. But if this is what the executives are saying, then either they're pulling it out of thin air for no reason (highly plausible), or it's founded in some truth (also plausible).
A 2nd round pick would be an extremely hefty fine. The Patriots lost a 1st for SpyGate. The Saints lost two 2nds and their head coach for a season for BountyGate. Teams lose day three draft picks for tampering.
Here's a list of draft day penalties:
NO: 2012+2013 2nds, Payton suspended season, BountyGate
DET: 2012 6th, tampering
SF: 2008 5th, swap 3rds w/ CHI, tampering
DEN: 2005 3rd, cap violation— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) January 22, 2015
The Patriots were also charged a 2008 1st round pick for SpyGate (can't fit all in a tweet!). For note, the Broncos were also charged a 3rd round pick in 2002 for the same 97-98 cap violation, bringing the total to two 3rd rounders.
If the Patriots are found to have systematically removed air from the football after the officials pregame measurements, then a day two pick (2nd or 3rd round) should be the absolute maximum, with no additional repercussions, if the league is trying to set an example.
Then again, if the Patriots lose their second round pick, it'll probably be doing the front office a favor based upon their track record (zing).
To restate a third time: this is just a rumor from one scout who has spoken with team executives and should not be taken as fact or anything. The Patriots still haven't been found at fault.
What're your thoughts?