In under 24 hours last April, the New England Patriots made seven trades involving 2019 NFL draft capital.
The picks once owned by head coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort’s war room date back further. Their roots can be traced as far back as Labor Day weekend two years prior, before becoming the likes of Miami running back Travis Homer, Old Dominion defensive end Oshane Ximines, Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert and others.
What became of the 2019 picks New England sent elsewhere after this past league year opened? And, specifically, from April 25 through April 27?
They changed hands with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles on their way to going from numbers to names. Sometimes in minutes. Sometimes more than once.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts had a hand in the subsequent turnover, too.
New England’s fingerprints remain.
THE FIRST LOS ANGELES DEAL
- No. 56 – later sent to Chiefs, becoming Mecole Hardman
- No. 101 – later reacquired by Patriots
- No. 45 – Joejuan Williams
On Day 2 of the 2019 draft, New England moved up 11 spots in the second round to select Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams. Los Angeles obtained No. 56 and No. 101 in the swap. One pick would be back in the Patriots’ possession before long. But the second-rounder – which originally came over to New England from Chicago in 2018 – would be dealt from Los Angeles to Kansas City. Mecole Hardman’s 4.33 40-time was the end result. The Georgia speedster’s rookie campaign with the Chiefs included Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors as a returner. And as a receiver, the eventual Super Bowl LIV champion caught 26 passes for 538 yards with six touchdowns by the close of December.
THE SEATTLE DEAL
- No. 64 – D.K. Metcalf
- No. 77 – Chase Winovich
- No. 118 – Hjalte Froholdt
Out of the second round the Patriots went after jumping into its midst. The Seahawks shipped third- and fourth-round selections to stop the fall of 6-foot-4, 230-pound Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. Metcalf went on to start 15 games for the Seahawks in 2019. He’d collect 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns along the way. New England got 5.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and a TD from Michigan’s Chase Winovich at No. 77 overall. And at No. 118 overall arrived Arkansas interior lineman Hjalte Froholdt, who was placed on injured reserve following New England’s preseason.
THE CHICAGO DEAL
- No. 73 – David Montgomery
- No. 87 – Damien Harris
- No. 162 overall – later sent to Rams
- 2020 fourth-round pick
The previous spring, the Patriots had traded a 2018 fourth-rounder to general manager Bob Quinn’s Detroit Lions for a 2019 third-rounder. That latter pick came due at No. 73 overall. And when it did, it became the Bears’ to make. The outcome? Iowa State running back David Montgomery. Montgomery accounted for 1,074 yards and seven scores from scrimmage for Chicago in 2019. In return for that draft slot, New England moved down for Alabama rusher Damien Harris at No. 87, along with the rights to No. 162 and a 2020 fourth-round choice. Harris redshirted his first campaign in Foxborough. He saw five snaps on offense and five snaps on special teams.
THE SECOND LOS ANGELES DEAL
- No. 97 – Bobby Evans
- No. 162 – later reacquired by Patriots
- No. 101 – Yodny Cajuste
- No. 133 – Jarrett Stidham
A round after New England dealt with its Super Bowl LIII opposition, the organization did so again. The Patriots sent No. 97 – awarded in the free-agent compensatory formula – to the Rams. Oklahoma offensive tackle Bobby Evans followed and started seven of his nine games as a rookie. No. 162 also went to Los Angeles, though it’d continue to be recycled. What wouldn’t be? Nos. 101 and 133. The Patriots put those assets towards West Virginia tackle Yodny Cajuste and Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Cajuste remained on physically unable to perform after undergoing quad surgery. As for Stidham, he secured the second seat in New England’s QB room.
THE THIRD LOS ANGELES DEAL
- No. 134 – Greg Gaines
- No. 243 – Nick Scott
- No. 162 – later sent to Vikings
- No. 167 – later sent to Eagles
It’d be back to Los Angeles for a third exchange by Saturday afternoon. A pair of fifth-round draft cards would be gathered by New England in the process, yet neither would be filled out. As for Nos. 134 and 243, the Rams kept those cards. Washington defensive tackle Greg Gaines was the name on one. Penn State safety Nick Scott was the name on the other. Gaines logged 13 tackles and a half-sack over 10 games on the Los Angeles interior as a rookie. Scott, meanwhile, played a Rams-high 82 percent of the snaps on special teams and notched eight tackles.
THE MINNESOTA DEAL
- No. 162 – Cameron Smith
- No. 239 – Dillon Mitchell
- No. 159 – Byron Cowart
Pick No. 162 overall would be involved in four draft-day Patriots trades. The last of which packaged it to the Vikings – along with a seventh-rounder at No. 239 – to move up to select Maryland defensive tackle Byron Cowart in the fifth round. The Vikings would end up calling upon USC linebacker Cameron Smith in the fallout. Smith proceeded to log two stints on Minnesota’s practice squad and two stints on the active roster as a rookie. The seventh-rounder that went from the Patriots to the Vikings along with him became Oregon wideout Dillon Mitchell. New England had inherited No. 239 from the Eagles during the 2018 draft.
THE PHILADELPHIA DEAL
- No. 167 – Clayton Thorson
- No. 246 – later sent to Colts, becoming Javon Patterson
- No. 163 – Jake Bailey
New England’s last 2019 deal saw the war room move up four spots for Stanford punter Jake Bailey. Bailey would average 44.9 yards per punt as a rookie – with 36 landing inside the opposing 20 – in addition to handling kickoff and holding responsibilities. In the trickle-down, Philadelphia drafted Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson at No. 167 and sent No. 246 to the Colts for veteran defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway. Thorson signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad after clearing waivers in September. And at No. 246, the pick by way of New England and Philadelphia would become Mississippi D-lineman Javon Patterson for Indianapolis.
It marked a record-setting draft for trades. The Patriots entered its Thursday night with a dozen selections, and moved up three times and down four times by Saturday afternoon.
“Trades are very player-specific and very player-driven based on the needs or interests of the other team,” Caserio said during New England’s post-draft press conference. “We’ll reach out, they’ll reach out – ‘Hey, what do you think?’ And then we’ll look at it and we’ll make a decision. ‘OK, well if we do this here’s what would happen.’ There’s a reactionary element and you just have to make a decision. You just can’t vacillate. You just have to make a decision and move forward whatever the circumstances are.”