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2018 NFL draft: There's now a rumor that the Patriots might have traded up to the second pick if Baker Mayfield was available

Would New England really have pulled the trigger?

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The NFL draft is not only the time for college players to find out where (and if) they will start their NFL careers, and for teams to add comparatively cheap and young talent to its roster – it is also the time for rumors about players, pre-draft interest and possible trades. The latest of which involves the New England Patriots, number one overall draft pick Baker Mayfield, and potentially making a blockbuster trade.

The origin of the rumor is Jack Mills, Mayfield's agent, who went on the Andrew Brandt podcast to talk about the draft (via Pro Football Talk):

We had another team which is going to surprise you. Another team had said, “You may get a big surprise on draft day, at No. 2, if he’s available.” And it was the Patriots. They had 23 and they had 31 and they had two seconds. We thought, “That’s gonna be a heck of a move, to get up that high from where they are.” And of course he wasn’t available so we never knew if that was reality or not.

Mayfield, as Mills says, was not available at number two since he was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Browns. The question therefore becomes if he would have been a realistic trade target for the Patriots to move up for had he been available at number two. There are two sides to this game of make-believe: New England's on one side and the New York Giants' – owners of the second selection – on the other.

Given that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was reportedly not interested in trading the pick, New England would have had to pay a hefty price to actually convince him to do otherwise. How hefty? That's speculation but Rich Hill's draft value chart might give us a clue: According to the chart, the second overall selection holds a value of 717.17 points. For comparison, New England's entire 2018 draft stock was worth just 705.02 points.

The Patriots would therefore likely have had to send their two first-rounders this year plus at least a first-rounder next year and this year's two round two selections to the Giants to even bring them to the negotiating table. This goes against what we know about head coach and de-facto general manager Bill Belichick's way of conducting business, which is spreading out assets to maximize their value. Sending all those picks for one player would be the opposite of that.

It therefore seems like this rumor is little more than a fun scenario to think about – but none that actually was ever a realistic option for the Patriots.