On April 13th, I published an article about what my strategy for the draft would be. That post had the Patriots staying put at 60, trading back 61 into the 3rd round for a 4th/5th round pick, and trading 91 into the next year for a 2nd round pick. The Patriots wound up doing the first two parts of that strategy, the main difference is the Patriots drafted a player at 91. In my strategy, the Patriots would have picked at 60, 96, and the two picks acquired for 61.
Comparing the two strategies on a Pick by Pick Basis, with the Patriots picks first and my picks in parentheses:
60. Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama (Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech)
61. Trade for a 78 and 112 (Trade for a 3rd and 4th/5th Round Pick)
78. Joe Thuney, G, NC State (Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia)
91. Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State (Trade for 2016 7th, 2017 2nd)
96. Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska (Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama)
112. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia (N/A)
Acquired 2016 7th and 2017 4th (see 91)
Even though my strategy was very close to the actual results of the draft, the players I picked came in a different order than I expected. I had the Patriots drafting Cyrus Jones, Malcolm Mitchell, and Le'Raven Clark. Jones and Mitchell did wind up getting picked by the Patriots, albeit in different spots than I predicted. Jones went a round earlier and Mitchell went a round later. The Patriots also did draft an offensive lineman on the 2nd day of the draft, except it wasn't a tackle in Le'Raven Clark but rather a guard in Joe Thuney. The Patriots wound up picking Thuney over Clark, who went 4 picks later.
The biggest difference between the two strategies involved picks 91 and 96. I had a feeling the Patriots might have been looking at QB prospects, albeit I was thinking Day 3 for that position and not Round 3. The Patriots wound up picking Jacoby Brissett, who is a much different QB than Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. Another major difference was that the Patriots weren't looking at a defensive tackle prospect because the article was written the day before the Patriots absolved themselves of Dominique Easley and that the Patriots could get a defensive tackle prospect in the 4th/5th round. The Patriots wound up taking Valentine at 96, which kind of surprised me at the time because I didn't do any research on the guy until after he was picked.
The Patriots did wind up getting a 2017 Draft Pick in a similar deal that netted them a swap of 7th round picks with Seattle. Although the major difference is they pooled three picks to get up to 147 before deciding to add the 4th round pick stolen by the NFL's Kangaroo Court for Defarcegate. Compared to my strategy from April, that's a difference of two rounds although the same principle applies.
When it came to figuring out which players Belichick would go for, Cyrus Jones and Malcolm Mitchell are basically slam-dunk picks for anyone following the process. The three picks in the 3rd round somewhat confused me at the time when the Patriots made the pick, although with Thuney and Valentine the more I read into it, the more I liked the selection and fit. This will probably be the closest I'll ever get in figuring out how Bill Belichick will run the draft.