The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft will take place tonight, and while communication could be an issue with this year’s virtual draft, the New England Patriots expect to be busy as usual.
Nobody around the league likes to wheel and deal quite like Bill Belichick, who swung seven draft pick swaps in last year’s draft. In the Patriots’ last 10 total drafts, Belichick has executed a total of 42 trades. Going back to his first season as the team’s head coach in 2000, the total rises to 77 in-draft trades, an average of 3.85 per draft.
With these deals, Belichick has been notorious for trading down rather than up. He’s traded up just 11 times in his coaching career, while moving back 28 different times to acquire more draft capital.
Trading down this year could be in play again for New England, as the team currently has a 63-pick gap in between its first and second selections (23rd and 87th overall). With 12 picks overalls, however, including a trio of third-round selections and two fourth-round picks, a trade up might be in store as well; especially with the possibility of a franchise quarterback sliding into the teens.
Using Rich Hill’s NFL Trade Value Chart, here are five possible draft day one trades New England could pull the trigger on:
Trade Up: New England trades No. 23, 87, 100 and 172 (336 points) to San Francisco for No. 13 (336 points)
New England gave the San Francisco 49ers its own franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2017, and the Niners trade back in this scenario to potentially give the Patriots a chance to draft theirs. With talented, but injury prone, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa appearing to be sliding down draft boards, Belichick could move up to get him if he falls into the teens. San Francisco is reportedly open to trading down from No. 13, and New England could certainly be on the phone.
Trade Up: New England trades No. 23 and 87 (293 points) to Miami for No. 18 and 173 (295 points)
This deal sees the Patriots move up five spots in the first-round, at the cost of swapping one of their three third-round picks for a late fifth-rounder. This trade comes to mind if New England is eyeing offensive skill positions in the first round, specifically wide receiver. With Las Vegas (No. 19), Philadelphia (No. 21), and Minnesota (No. 22) all with needs at that position, New England could be forced to jump them if they have a certain player in mind.
Trade Down: New England trades No. 23 and 172 (253 points) to Chicago for No. 43 and 50 (253 points)
The Patriots and the Chicago Bears have made draft-day trades in consecutive years, and this deal would allow New England to close the large gap between its first and second selection. With a deep and talented draft class, the difference in prospect quality between No. 23 to No. 43 isn’t too drastic. The Patriots could also get an early jump at the tight end position with one of these two second-round picks.
Trade Down: New England trades No. 23 and 100 (280 points) to Green Bay for No. 30 and 62 (280 points)
This could be one of the best trades New England could make. In this deal, the team would remain in the first round while also picking up a second-round selection at the cost of just one of their three third rounder’s. The player they want at No. 23 could certainly be there at No. 30, with defensive players like A.J. Epenesa or Kenneth Murray coming to mind.
Trade Down: New England trades No. 23, 204 and 213 (252 points) to Miami for No. 39 and 56 (251 points)
Another trade with good pal Brian Flores, yet this time it’s a move down. Similar to the Chicago deal, New England uses its first-round pick to pick up two-second round selections, with No. 39 being the seventh pick on Day Two. If completed, Miami would add a fourth first-round pick to its current draft slate.
What move do you want to see the Patriots make when they are on the clock at No. 23? Leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter @iambrianhines