Let’s play “make a deal”! Trying to figure out what the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick will do in the NFL draft (begins May 8) is always difficult, but here’s what they should do. Trade down.
Since Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots (acquired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Jan. 27, 2000), he has made at least one draft-related trade each year. The Patriots traded up in 2002, 2003 twice in 2012, and traded down in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. All of this means that while not a certainty, it seems likely the Patriots will make some kind of a trade. But which direction, up or down?
One more time, the Patriots should trade down. The Patriots currently have eight picks: first round (29th), second round (62nd), third round (93rd), fourth round (130th), fourth round (140th, compensatory), sixth round (198th, from Philadelphia Eagles), sixth round (206th) and seventh round (244th).
As just about everyone knows (including Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio), this year’s draft is deep. The Patriots have multiple needs they should address — TE, OG, LT, DT, DE and a big physical WR — but they don’t have an incredibly glaring need at any one position that must be addressed in the first round.
If the Patriots keep their first-round pick, selecting WR Kelvin Benjamin would make sense, but they should trade their first-round pick to a team that has a specific need (maybe at QB). This would allow the Patriots to address more areas , hopefully with draft picks this year.
On Wednesday, the Patriots are visiting with TE Dustin Keller, which is a wise move. If a deal can be made with Keller, the need to draft a tight end becomes less of a priority. The Patriots should be able to address their other areas of need outside of the first round.
Belichick has traded up before, but this year he should do what he does more often — trade down.