Of all the fallout from Deflategate, perhaps the most stinging penalty is the Patriots loss of their first round pick for this month’s draft, which would have been 29th overall. For a team that has used the draft to build the foundation of multiple Super Bowl Champion teams , not being able to select a player in the first round hurts.
The Patriots do have two selections in the second round and eleven selections overall, giving them ample draft capital. However, the Patriots should not use this capital to move up into the late first or even early second round. Moving up to the middle of the second round is definitely plausible, but that will probably be the limit of the team’s thinking unless a superstar prospect unexpectedly goes into free-fall.
Bill Belichick has never been one to make enormous draft day deals, but he has moved up more often than his reputation would suggest. With that being said, New England fans should forget about being part of the first round before April 28.
Due to the language of the penalties, the best the Patriots could move up to would be No. 29 overall. Picking at that spot wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, as Nick Mangold, Hakeem Nicks, Harrison Smith and the Patriots own Dominique Easley have been picked at that spot in the last decade. However, getting from pick No. 60 — the team’s current top selection — to No. 29 would take several picks, including potentially a 2017 first rounder and at least one of the Patriots current second round assets. The Patriots would also have to hope the player they want isn’t taken in the first 28 picks. These factors — along with the fact that 2016 presents a deep draft along the offensive line — and that running backs typically go later (another need), moving into the first round doesn’t make much sense.
Another option is moving up to within the first ten picks of the second round. This is more plausible than a first round move, but would still be a move up of 20 selections or more and the cost would be high. They would most likely have to get rid of both current second round picks and a later pick or two. The Patriots have done a good job drafting in the second round since Belichick took over with selections of Matt Light, Deion Branch, Eugene Wilson, Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski and Jamie Collins, to name a few. They have their share of misses in round No. 2 (see: Jackson, Chad), but it is a spot in the draft that has been rewarding for New England over the years. Limiting their selections in this round significantly would not be ideal.
Although this writer is against moving into the first or early second round, moving up into the middle of the second round (45-50 range) certainly makes sense. It would give the Patriots a chance to space out their early picks while also potentially getting a better player than they would at No. 60 or 61. It also would not cost the team as much as a higher move.
Now let’s see what the Hoodie decides.