Might the Upcoming Draft Signify Fierce Trade Winds in New England?

Joe AlbertContributor IApril 21, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 20: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches the action against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on October 20, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Paytiots won 41-7. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

With Day One of the NFL Draft coming up on April 25, it's getting drafty in New England, but the forecast hasn't called for the trade winds to kick in.

Not yet anyway.

As of a week before the draft, the Patriots have eleven draft picks. While they will most likely keep the first round pick, 23rd overall, to address the linebacker problem, any of the remaining ten picks could be disposable.

With three second-round picks and seven picks on day two, rounds three through seven, there are a few scenarios that would seem to make sense for the Patriots.Β 

For starters, Eagles' cornerback Sheldon Brown just asked the team for a trade due to contract issues and a "lack of respect". A trade would make sense for the Eagles because they do not want to have another troubled player on the team.

Also, after just trading one of their two first round picks to the Bills for offensive-lineman Jason Peters, they are still in talks to acquire Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. For that trade to come together, it will probably take their remaining first round pick along with a few others.Β 

If the Boldin trade happens, the Eagles would be left with no more first round picks. They could use the Patriots' second round pick, 34th overall, because it is still a high pick but will not come with the salary of a first rounder. With their needs taken care of via trade, the Eagles would love to save money in the draft.

While the Patriots need a safety more than a cornerback with Rodney Harrison's future up in the air, many feel that an upgrade to the cornerback position would still be a plus. On top of this, if you look at Brown's numbers, he would easily be the number one cornerback on the Patriots roster.

Another plus for the Patriots is that Brown has experience covering Terrell Owens while T.O. was playing in Dallas. Brown would be a huge upgrade for the Pats with the troubled receiver now cashing his checks in Buffalo.

Another scenario that seems to make sense is that the Patriots could use a number of their picks to trade up in the later rounds or even try to get another first round pick.Β 

Many of the teams in the 10-20th pick range feel the draft is weak. Instead of picking a player that would normally last until later in the round and overpaying him, the teams could trade back a little and use the Patriots' 23rd pick.

The Patriots could then get a better linebacker, and while they would end up spending a little more money, it would be worth it. Look at what the coaches have done with last year's selection Jerod Mayo.

Also, with a number of second round picks and a weak draft as far as the safety position, the Patriots could still easily fill that need later in the second round.

Look for teams like the Texans and Chargers, who both need defensive help in a shallow draft, to be a team looking to move draft picks. It would make sense because their needs will be able to be filled in later rounds at a more reasonable price. Unless they both want Malcolm Jenkins, a cornerback from Ohio State, they could each move back to 23rd.

The Patriots could then end up drafting Brian Cushing, or even Malcolm Jenkins with an earlier pick if the Brown trade does not materialize. If they did not have to get rid of their first round pick to move up, they could get Jenkins early and a linebacker like Clay Matthews or James Laurinaitis with the 23rd pick.

With all of that said, how can anybody know what Bill Belichick is thinking? With a good drafting team like the Patriots, eleven draft picks could end up being a God-send for the Pats and their fans, and a nightmare for the rest of the NFL.Β 

The fact that the Patriots have kept quiet this week comes as no surprise to anybody. Whether they make no trades or four trades this week, if Belichick signs off on something, you can bet it will be the best thing for the organization. At this point, only time will tell.

UPDATE: 4/22/09 1:30 PM

From what I read on other websites, Bill Belichick has told the Providence Journal that he will be fielding/making calls to other teams to see which team "might be interested in moving players and moving picks".

Also, some say that the Pats may have their eyes on Brian Orakpo out of Texas, who is projected to be used as a hybrid DE/OLB, the type of player that the Patriots love.


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