New England Patriots Could Trade Up For A Pass Rusher In The 2012 NFL Draft

By Chris Ransom

The New England Patriots could trade up for a pass rusher.  Besides Andre Branch, the top 2 pass rushers in this draft class are Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram.

The Patriots could realistically make a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs as early as #11 overall if they wanted Coples.  Coples could go as early as 9th overall to the Carolina Panthers and could fall to the Seattle Seahawks with the 12th selection.

Seattle loves Coples and I highly doubt Coples drops past #12.  Coples has the skill set to be a dynamic 4-3 right end.  Coples also displays the versatility to play left end, 4-3 defensive tackle, 3-4 defensive end, or 3-4 outside linebacker.  In order to get Quinton Coples the New England Patriots would have to give up both of their 2012 first round picks.

The other pass rusher that is emerging as the top pass rusher to challenge Coples is Melvin Ingram.  Ingram can play anywhere on a 4-3 defensive line.  Ingram also has the versatility to play anywhere at linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.  Ingram can be utilized as a 3-4 defensive end as well.   New England brought in Melvin Ingram for an individual workout after Ingram dominated his pro day in convincing fashion.

Back in the preseason there was one player besides Andrew Luck that I was sold on as a player that would potentially make it into Canton besides Luck.  I thought that player was Coples.  Coples sluggish senior season along with the fact that he’s dropping on many big boards makes you wonder if New England should even flirt with the concept of trading 2 first round picks for Coples.  If Coples plays like Julius Peppers and it results in another Lombardi for the Patriots I am all for this.  At the same time this draft class is stacked at defensive end so I am okay with waiting too considering the New England Patriots overall team needs.  I was impressed with Coples senior tape watching Coples command double teams while stuffing the run.  Its evident that Coples production as a junior when pass rushing was better though.

Melvin Ingram could fall to the Philadelphia Eagles at 15 if Seattle takes Quinton Coples at 12.  New England would likely have to give up their 27th overall pick from the Saints and their 2012 2nd round pick 48th overall from the Oakland Raiders to Philadelphia to move up for Coples.

Moving up for Melvin Ingram seems far more likely to me than New England moving up for Quinton Coples.

If the Patriots decide not to make a power play move by trading up for Quinton Coples or Melvin Ingram then I expect them to go with Andre Branch on draft day.

Personally, I would stay at 27 and try to get a first round pass rusher like Andre Branch, Shea McClellin, or Nick Perry.  Whitney Mercilus and Vinny Curry are solid 2nd round talents that could be there at 48 overall as well.

Unless Quinton Coples slides to the Eagles at 15 by some miracle then I’d play the waiting game.  The reason I’d move up for Coples at 15 is because of the value.  Coples is a player looked like a lock to be a top 5 pick in the regular season.  Then the official 2012 NFL Draft order is released and Coples stock starts slipping.  I feel like New England Coples is a steal at 15 and would be well worth the 27th pick and a 2nd round pick from Oakland.

New England could get one of the 4-3 defensive tackles in this draft like Michael Brockers, Devon Still, or Fletcher Cox at 31 overall if any of these defensive tackles fall to 31 overall.  In round 2 the Patriots could target Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin as a safety for depth on the roster.

New England could also end up trading their 31st overall pick for a 2013 first rounder. New England may continue the Patriot way of stockpiling up on extra draft picks.

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