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Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots’ late-round pick swap with the Texans

Related: Patriots trade fifth-round pick to Texans ahead of NFL draft

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are involved in the first trade of NFL Draft week: they traded a fifth-round selection (No. 170) to the Houston Texans in exchange for picks in the sixth (No. 183) and seventh (No. 245) rounds. Not necessarily a blockbuster, but an interesting move nonetheless.

What exactly does that late-round pick swap mean from a Patriots perspective, though? Let’s find out.

More late-round picks means more opportunities

Whereas players selected in the first four rounds of the draft are generally locks to make a team’s roster as rookies, the final three rounds are reserved primarily for specialists and players regarded as priority free agents. At one point, quantity therefore become more attractive than the quality or trade value of those picks.

The more you have, the more shots you get at finding a diamond in the rough. Trading back with the Texans has allowed the Patriots to take another of those shots in hopes of finding the next late-round gem.

The Patriots now own nine total selections

New England’s fifth-round pick that was originally obtained as part of the Shaq Mason trade, is now headed to Houston. In turn, two selections have come north to increase New England’s total draft capital from eight to nine choices:

  • Round 1: 21st overall
  • Round 2: 54th overall
  • Round 3: 85th overall
  • Round 4: 127th overall
  • Round 5: 158th overall (from Miami alongside WR DeVante Parker)
  • Round 6: 183rd overall (from Houston)
  • Round 6: 200th overall
  • Round 6: 210th overall (from Los Angeles for RB Sony Michel)
  • Round 7: 245th overall (from Houston)

Now the proud owners of five selections on Day 3, the Patriots have additional resources to either make more moves or to throw darts at late-round prospects. They also now own a pick in each of the draft’s seven rounds again; their original seventh-rounder was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2020 to acquire wide receiver Isaiah Ford.

The trade is a fair one

According to the Rich Hill draft value chart, the Patriots’ trade with the Texans was a fair one for both parties involved:

  • Patriots receive 5.68 points (6-183) + 1.43 points (7-245)
  • Texans receive 7.59 points (5-170)

The 0.48-point difference in Houston’s favor is negligible. For comparison, even the final pick in this year’s draft has significantly more value than that. Both teams can therefore feel good about the trade, precisely because it did not move the needle all too much from a value perspective.

The New England-Houston connection strikes again

The Patriots’ front office led by head coach/general manager Bill Belichick is quite familiar with Houston’s decision makers: Texans GM Nick Caserio spent two decades in New England, most prominently as the team’s director of player personnel between 2008 and 2020. Even after leaving, Caserio has kept close ties with his old team.

In fact, he has now made three trades with the Patriots over the last two years. Houston acquired both offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and tight end Ryan Izzo during the 2021 offseason, and has now participated in a late-round pick swap as well.

The Cannon trade resulted in two selections; one was reinvested to trade up for defensive tackle Christian Barmore in the 2021 draft, while the second was used to pick defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe a day later. The Izzo trade brought New England a seventh-round pick that was later part of a trade to bring cornerback Shaun Wade aboard.

Now, two more draft choices have transferred from the Texans to the Patriots; we will soon find out what will happen with them.