The Patriots achieve success in draft day trades by ensuring they get good value for each of their transactions.
Value for draft picks can be determined as follows,
When trading draft picks, NFL teams text">consult a chart that gives a numerical value for every pick in the draft. With these values, teams know how to package their picks to make a fair trade.
On this chart the first overall pick has a value of 3000, the 100th overall pick has a value of 100, and the 200th overall pick has a value of 12.4.
For example, at the end of the first round, the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings exchanged draft picks.
Margin: Minnesota +2.8.
Based this draft chart, the Patriots 'won' every deal they made on draft day. In the span of three days, New England made six trades and gained a total value of 122.6.
Individually, those trades seem irrelevant, but cumulatively, those trades amount to an additional 3rd round selection.
Not included above, the fact that the Patriots exchanged their third round selection for Carolina's second round selection on 2011, which will almost certainly be a pick in the first half of the round.
So to recap, the Patriots gained 122.6 in six draft day transactions. They then exchanged the 89th overall selection, value of 121, for a second round pick.
In other words, smart draft day decisions allowed the Patriots acquire a top-50 pick in 2011.