All offseason, I've heard that the draft is pretty even in the 25-50 range with a substantial drop-off after that. With that in mind, the Patriots could be looking to obtain more value out of the draft. So how would they be able to do that? The Patriots own the 32nd, 64th, 96th, 97th, 101st, 131st, 178th, 219th, and 253rd selections of the 2015 NFL Draft. 97 and 253 are not tradable since they were compensatory picks for losing Aqib Talib and Dane Fletcher last offseason. That leaves the Patriots free to package their other picks in a trade.
Based off historical precedence, a move from 32 into the 40s would likely net the Patriots a 3rd round pick. I'm basing this off the trades for Dont'a Hightower (31 and 126 for 25) and Cordarrelle Patterson (52, 83, 102, and 216 for 29). Teams in that range that could be trade up partners are the Browns, Falcons, 49ers, and Vikings. After dropping into the 40s and presumably getting a 3rd rd pick in the 70s range, the Patriots now have two 2nd rd picks and three 3rd rd picks. The Patriots still have 3 picks in the 96-101 range, so it's possible they package at least one of those picks to move up in the 2nd round from the 64th pick. If the Patriots can package picks 96 and 101 with 64 to a team dissatisfied with their draft board in the 40s, the Patriots could end up with another pick in that range. The Vikings trade from 2013 is another good reference for figuring out the value those three picks would net. Since the Vikings traded up from 52 to 29, the sense is the Patriots could move up from 64 to 41 in a similar trade package. The Patriots would still hold a pick in the 70s and the 97th selection, so that move doesn't kill their draft.
So which players would I expect to be on the board in the 40s? These are the players I'd consider drafting in that range.
- Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State
- Preston Smith, DL, Mississippi State
- Mario Edwards, DL, Florida State
- Cedric Ogbuehi, T/G, Texas A&M
- Stephone Anthony, LB, Clemson
- Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
- Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
- Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska