Patriots Make Out Like Bandits Yet Again, Showing Value Always More Important than First-Round Splash

Bill BelichickFOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick is a sucker for value.

No, you probably won’t find the hoodie scouring the clearance rack at Filene’s Basement or rummaging through coupons in your local Stop & Shop, but when it comes to the NFL draft. value is the word.

In now 14 NFL drafts under Belichick, the Patriots have made 33 draft-day trades — 17 up and 16 down — and Thursday was no different.

Sitting at No. 29 overall, the Patriots had a slew of potential impact players to choose from, but in the end, a trade offer from the Minnesota Vikings was just too appealing to pass up.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was pretty firm that they were ready to take a player at 29 but, naturally, dealing the pick held more value.

“We were ready to pick,” Caserio said. “We had a few players that we actually had in mind that we were going to talk about to consider picking, and then we decided to make the move that we did. So no question, we had players, a player, we would have taken.”

There it is — the value.

The Patriots, who entered Thursday night with five picks — their fewest ever under Belichick — to their name, traded away their one for four from the Vikings, committing the closest thing to highway robbery seen in a draft-day trade. They stole one second-round pick (52nd overall), one third (83rd), one fourth (102nd) and another seventh (226th) from Minnesota in the trade. All of that adds up to 648 points on the draft value chart in contrast with the 640 points of their selection at No. 29, according to Ourlads.com.

That haul might make you wonder if the vikings weren’t actually in Foxboro and not Minneapolis on Thursday.

Now, instead of entering the final six rounds with only four picks in their pocket, the Patriots doubled their load, including four picks in the first 60 selections (52, 59, 83 and 91) on Day 2.

Yup. Value.

Caserio danced around their specific intentions going forward, careful not to give away any of the valuable secrets from the Patriots’ war room, but he did say that some of their key targets are still floating around. Then again, there is always they chance the move up to get even more value.

“A few of them remain,” Caserio said of their ideal targets. “I think, based on the number of players that are there, if there are multiple players, then that’s one thing. If some of those players start o come off then we want to make a move up, we have maybe a little more flexibility to do that. I think we’re open to anything at this point, so we’ll have to see how it unfolds tomorrow once we get started.”

Some guys on their short list are likely still floundering around. Defensive players like Florida State’s Tank Carradine, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o are still out there. As are wide receivers like USC’s Robert Woods, Tennessee’s Justin Hunter and California’s Keenan Allen.

So, for the Patriots, there is no shortage of talent left kicking around. But that doesn’t mean some or any of those guys end up in New England come Saturday morning, because, as always, it’s all about the value.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

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