Sunday 7: Is it more likely Patriots trade up or down in first round of NFL draft?

Ryan Hannable
April 21, 2019 - 6:00 am
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1. The NFL draft is less than a week away and there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding the Patriots, even though they have pick No. 32 overall. But, with 12 overall selections and six in the top 101, there’s plenty of options and anything can happen. With some pretty obvious needs, most notably tight end, there’s been plenty of buzz surrounding the team looking into trading up to grab one, especially considering two of the best tight ends in the class (T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant) have no chance of being around when the Patriots select. But, the closer the draft gets, the more and more it feels like if the Patriots make a trade, they will trade back opposed to up. Hockenson and Fant likely will be gone before the 20s roll around and moving up more than say 10 spots isn’t what the Patriots typically do. There don’t appear to be any other players worth trading up for and when looking at the draft as a whole, it’s loaded in the second and third tiers. It can be argued players 20-45ish are all relatively the same, which is why we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots trade out of No. 32 and add multiple picks in the second and third rounds. They are all about value and the best value in this draft may be in the second and third rounds, so as of now, it seems it’s more likely the Patriots will trade down instead of up.

2. Even in the second round, impactful players at positions of need will still be had. At tight end, Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M is a solid option. Then at wide receiver there are a number of possibilities, including Deebo Samuel from South Carolina and Kelvin Harmon out of NC State. Finally, on the defensive line, Zach Allen from BC and Gerald Willis from Miami should still be there, too. So if the Patriots do indeed trade down, don’t get too frustrated as the drop off from No. 32 overall to really anywhere in Round 2 is not that much.

3. Another draft-related note to keep in mind is trades don't necessarily have to involve just draft picks. Last year, the team swung a trade with the 49ers before Day 2 of the draft to acquire Trent Brown. A veteran wide receiver still remains a top need, so who knows, maybe this is the week the Patriots get that big-name receiver they have been after most of the offseason.

4. When taking a closer look at the NFL schedule, it was worth noting the number of teams who will face the Patriots when coming off their bye week. The Browns, Eagles and Ravens all have weeks off and then the Texans will be coming off of a Thursday night game, so that is essentially a mini bye week. While the lack of travel is certainly a positive, having four games against teams coming off extended rest is not.

5. The Patriots will definitely have joint practices in Week 2 of the preseason against the Titans and then it seems a good bet they also will in Week 1 against the Lions (both on the road). This could impact the first two preseason games and how much action the starters see. In past joint practices, the starters for both teams have seen extensive work and then not played more than a series in the game. The thought is more can be achieved in joint practices with controlling the situations than in actual preseason games.

6. One of the bigger takeaways from Stephon Gilmore meeting with the media on Thursday was him acknowledging even the Patriots players do not know which coaches are coaching which positions. At cornerback, Josh Boyer departed for Miami and it isn’t known yet who will be his replacement. Then, Greg Schiano, who was supposedly going to take over as the defensive coordinator, left the organization before he was even officially announced. It’s only April, but this does seem to be noteworthy.

7. The next media availability for the Patriots won’t be until following the first round when typically Nick Caserio speaks to the assembled media at Gillette Stadium. Based on past years, pick No. 32 won’t come until around 11:20 p.m. Thursday night. Caserio usually addresses the media after Friday night as well, and then either Bill Belichick or Caserio will speak when everything wraps up early Saturday night.

Related: Potential Patriots: 5 linebackers to keep an eye on in NFL draft

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