The New England Patriots just completed a trade of star wide receiver Randy Moss to the team that originally drafted him, the Minnesota Vikings.
The trade is hardly half a day old, and it already has produced rampant speculation about what the New England Patriots will do with their abundance of draft picks.
In the 2010 NFL Draft the Patriots made six selections in the first four rounds (Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Taylor Price, and Aaron Hernandez).
With the trade of Moss, the Patriots now have eight selections in the first four rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft—two in the first, second, third, and fourth rounds respectively!
Bill Belichick now has a lot of options. Does he use the picks to go bolster the Patriots this season? Does he save them for the draft and shore up the ranks heading into the 2011 season?
Regardless of what the Moss trade may mean for the Patriots' chances this season, it only gives the team more to work with moving forward.
The San Diego Chargers wide receiver and his agents decided to play hardball with Chargers GM A.J. Smith.
Smith did not flinch at Jackson's contract demands, and now the receiver is out until after Week 6. But other teams can still trade for him. Would the New England Patriots make a move for a disgruntled receiver after just ridding themselves of another one?
They certainly have the draft picks to pull off such a move.
Reportedly the Chargers' asking price of two second-round picks was dropped to a second-round pick in 2011 and a fourth-round pick in 2012. The Patriots could ship the Chargers a second and fourth in the 2011 draft and still have an overabundance of selections in the first four rounds.
The question is, does Tom Brady need a deep threat badly enough to make the move for Jackson?
The 6'5", 230-lb. Jackson would be an adequate replacement for Moss. Last season Jackson averaged 17.2 yards per reception on 68 catches and scored nine touchdowns.
This is still a long shot. The Patriots would also need to sign Jackson to a big money contract. They just got rid of Moss because they weren't willing to do that. Why would they hand Jackson a contract they didn't want to give Moss and surrender two draft picks to do so?
Bill Belichick is like one of the people featured on Hoarders, except he doesn't hoard newspapers or knick-knacks. Bill Belichick hoards draft picks.
Such was the case in the 2010 NFL Draft, when Belichick traded down in the first round not once, but twice.
Heading into the draft the Patriots had the 22nd overall selection. First, Belichick swapped the 22nd pick for the Broncos' first and fourth-round picks (Nos. 24 and 113 overall). After that he traded the 24th selection and one of their fourth-round picks (No. 119) to the Cowboys in return for their first and third-round picks (Nos. 27 and 90).
Will this year be any different?
If it isn't, then the Patriots stand to gain a lot of selections in the 2011 NFL Draft. They hold the Raiders' (1-3 record) first-round pick, as well as their own. Trading down from whatever spot the Raiders end up with could net the Patriots huge gains.
Depending on four decisions that are yet to be made, the 2011 NFL Draft may be chock-full of elite wide receiver prospects.
A.J. Green of Georgia, Julio Jones of Alabama, Jonathan Baldwin of Pittsburgh, and Michael Floyd of Notre Dame would all be first-round picks if the draft were to happen today.
Green, the most prized wide receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson, would be a top pick if he were to declare for the draft. In order to get him, the Patriots would most certainly have to trade up in the draft.
How far they would have to trade up depends on where the Raiders finish. But it's logical to think that the pick they receive from the Raiders would provide the Patriots a solid starting position from which to boldly strike and snag A.J. Green to replace Randy Moss.
Though that has never been Belichick's operating procedure, who's to say he does not make an exception if he believes Green can be a game-changer on the level of Moss?
Who wants to party?
This is what is most frightening about the number of draft picks the Patriots have collected: They could feasibly do all three of the things previously listed and probably still have selections left over.
If they trade for Jackson, they'll still have two firsts, a second, two thirds, and a fourth-round pick.
They can then trade down with their second first-round pick to acquire an extra third or fourth-round pick.
Then they could package the two first-round picks they have, as well as whatever extra picks are needed, to move up and select a player they covet, not necessarily A.J. Green.
Chances are they will still have a selection or two remaining in the first four rounds, not to mention all their later round picks, if they were to do all of this.
How intimidating would the Patriots' offense be if they lined up with Tom Brady under center, Vincent Jackson and A.J. Green lined up out wide, and Wes Welker set up in the slot?
The Patriots will definitely be an interesting team to watch moving forward.
How they do without Moss will be one thing to watch.
But how they continue to restructure their organization is by far the most interesting story, as they certainly have the firepower to be big movers in the not too distant future.