NFL Draft 2011: The Patriots' Most Intriguing Pick Isn't in the First Round

Graeme FrisqueContributor IIApril 14, 2011

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24:  Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots during warm up against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 24, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With six picks in the first three rounds of the 2011 draft, the New England Patriots once again find themselves with an embarrassment of riches entering the annual event, including two first-rounders.

But, the pick that intrigues me the most, and might generate the most interest on the trade front, might just be the No. 33 pick.

Bill Belichick acquired the first pick in the second round of this year's draft in 2010, from the Carolina Panthers, in exchange for a third round pick in last year's draft.

After finishing with an 8-8 record, and third in the league with almost 2,500 total rushing yards, it's clear that when Carolina made that deal, they didn't expect to finish dead last in the league in 2010.

But, therein lies the genius of Bill Belichick. Few are better at manipulating the draft board than the Patriots' head coach and GM.

Already stocked with a cupboard full of young assets, and more picks than roster spots available, it's a virtual certainty that Belichick will once again be a busy man during the draft.

As usual, expect him to convert a few of those picks into assets in next year's draft.

Last season, the NFL changed the format of the draft, spreading the event over a three-day period.

As most of you already know, the first round takes place the first night of the draft, the second and third rounds take place day two, and rounds four through seven cover day three.

What this basically means is that Bill Belichick has all night after the first round to consider what he wants to do with that pick.

Rest assured that he he will be fielding many phone calls from teams who saw players they may have targeted in the first round, slip to round two.

Giving Bill Belichick an extra day to work his draft magic is like giving the famed race horse Secretariat a five-length head start in the Kentucky Derby. It's almost not fair to the other GM's, some of whom will surely be clamouring to acquire the No. 33 pick.

It is entirely possible that Belichick will use that pick to select a player he was targeting who slipped, but given his propensity for draft day trades, all the offers he will surely get, might just be too big a temptation.

One can never really tell what  "The Hoodie" is really planning, but the new draft format will most certainly present him with a lot of unique opportunities at the top of the second round.

Given that he was able to turn the No. 76 pick from last year's draft into the No. 33 pick in this year's, does anyone really doubt, under these circumstances, that he has a better-than-average chance turning this pick into a high first-rounder next season?

I will be watching intently come draft weekend to see what the Patriots are going to do with their two first-rounders. However, I'm almost more excited to see what Bill Belichick is gonna do at the start of day two.