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The New England Patriots employed a different strategy than usual this year. Known for trading down and stockpiling future selections, the Patriots traded up twice in the first round, leaving them without any picks after the second round. The strategy did not work well.
First, the Patriots traded their third-round pick to move up from No. 27 to No. 21 to select Syracuse hybrid pass-rusher Chandler Jones.
While Jones is a long, athletic pass-rusher with big upside, he was not particularly productive in college and was not worth trading up for. If the Patriots were going to trade up, they should have selected Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw or USC’s Nick Perry.
Four picks later, the Patriots sent a fourth-round pick to the Broncos to move up from No. 31 to No. 25 and select Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Hightower is a better choice, as he will add another playmaker at linebacker.
In the second round, the Patriots made one of the worst picks of the entire draft when they selected Illinois defensive back Tavon Wilson, my No. 381 overall prospect, at No. 48 overall. The Patriots really should have been looking to trade down for more picks, but instead drafted a player who should have been selected much later.
The Patriots did end up trading down from their second-round pick, but got terrible value in return. They only received the No. 90 overall pick and a fifth-round pick in return, and then reached for another hybrid pass-rusher, Arkansas’s Jake Bequette, with that third-round pick.
The Patriots are usually the masters of draft value, but this year was an exception. The Patriots came far from maximizing their value and made some very questionable selections, especially following the first round.