The New England Patriots are entering the 2020 offseason with limited resources at their disposal, both in terms of salary cap space and draft capital. While the former remains in flux as contract negotiations will heat up and outstanding grievances might be decided in the team’s favor, the latter is more or less fixed at the moment: the Patriots are expected to own 12 draft picks after the league hands out its complementary selections.
Despite having plenty of picks at their disposal, the value of the Patriots’ capital ranks them just 23rd in the league with an estimated 405 points on Rich Hill’s draft value chart. A big reason for that is the absence of a selection in the second round after the team sent its pick — which later turned out to be the 55th overall — to the Atlanta Falcons before last season’s trade deadline to bring veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on board.
As a result, the Patriots have a hole between their first and second pick: the team is projected to draft 23rd overall and not return to the clock until the 87th overall selection late in the third round. Given the projected depth of the draft and the fact that New England has space to move back in round one without trading out of it altogether, it would therefore not be a surprise to see Bill Belichick and company move out of the 23rd pick.
However, members of the Patriots’ fanbase do not see this happening as SB Nation’s FanPulse survey shows: participants were presented with four options for the team when on the clock at No. 23 — draft a player, use the pick to trade up, use the pick to trade down, use the pick to trade for a player — but the overwhelming majority (67.4%) went with the first one to project that New England indeed stays put to make a selection.
Trading up was the second most popular pick by those participating in the survey (20.7%), followed by trading back (13.0%) and acquiring an established player via trade (3.3%). There are arguments for all four options from maximizing the window of opportunity in case Tom Brady returns to filling the aforementioned 63-pick hole between selections No. 23 and 87, but one thing is certain: the Patriots need to get young talent onto their roster this offseason, no matter how.
If you too are interested in participating in our FanPulse survey, please click here!