But it’s fun to dream, right?
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has constructed a fun mock draft that consists entirely of trades. Each pick exists in a vacuum so the Patriots are featured multiple times as they have two of the best trading chips in the league with CB Malcolm Butler and QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
One trade has the Patriots picking late in the first round. Another has the Patriots drafting first overall. Let’s start with the latter scenario first.
1st Overall Pick
Patriots get: 2017 1st overall pick; 2018 conditional fourth round pick (from Browns); WR Josh Gordon
Saints get: CB Malcolm Butler; QB Cody Kessler; 2017 second round pick from Browns (53rd)
Browns get: QB Jimmy Garoppolo; LB Stephone Anthony; 2017 first round pick from Saints (11th), 2017 third round pick from Saints (76th), 2018 conditional fifth round pick (from Patriots)
There’s a lot to unpack with this three-way trade, but here’s the gist for New England:
Patriots give up: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, CB Malcolm Butler, and a conditional 2018 fifth round pick that could become a third round pick if Gordon plays well.
Patriots receive: WR Josh Gordon, the 1st overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, and a conditional 2018 fourth round pick that could become a second round pick if Garoppolo plays well.
The Patriots have set up the roster to make both Garoppolo and Butler expendable by drafting Jacoby Brissett in 2016 and by adding Stephon Gilmore in free agency and this is a trade that maximizes the return for New England.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wants a pair of first round picks in return for Garoppolo and another first round pick for Butler. New England won’t be getting three first round picks in this trade, but the 1st overall pick is the equivalent of three late first rounders, per the draft value chart- and the Patriots would be able to trade down and accumulate more picks if they want.
“Bill Belichick loves trading down, which he could then do and amass additional selections in what is projected to be a deep class,” Barnwell explains, “but he can also just stay put and draft a franchise pass-rusher in Myles Garrett at a relative position of need for the Patriots. Not a bad fallback plan.”
Garrett is considered one of the best pass rush prospects in recent memory, so there will likely be a team or two willing to acquire the first overall pick, allowing the Patriots to trade down and accumulate more draft capital in an extremely deep defensive draft.
25th Overall Pick
Patriots get: 2017 25th overall pick; 2018 first round pick
Texans get: QB Jimmy Garoppolo; 2017 fourth round pick (131st); 2018 first round pick
To translate this trade, the Patriots give up Garoppolo and a fourth round pick in exchange for the Texans 2017 first round pick and the right to swap first round picks in 2018. Barnwell is projecting the Patriots to reach the conference championship again in 2017 and for the Texans to finish in the middle of the pack, giving Garoppolo the equivalent value of a mid-first round pick.
The Patriots want a pair of firsts for Garoppolo and this is a far cry from that demand, assuming the Texans don’t collapse and finish as a bottom-10 team in 2017. Garoppolo would be an excellent fit with the Texans offense, but this trade seems to favor the Texans far too much. The Patriots would rather keep Garoppolo than obtain a solitary mid-to-late first round pick.
Which trade would you rather the Patriots make?
This poll is closed
Trade for the 1st overall pick
Trade for the 25th overall pick