Patriots Mailbag: Potential Selections If New England Trades Up In NFL Draft

New England Patriots fans are understandably unenthused about the first round of the NFL Draft for the second consecutive year.

The Patriots didn’t have a first-round pick in 2016 because it was taken away as part of their Deflategate punishment. They don’t have one this year for a much more exciting reason: They traded it to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

Thursday likely marks a last chance for the Cleveland Browns to trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. We’ll know by the end of Friday night whether cornerback Malcolm Butler is sticking around too.

Here’s an early mailbag, since the draft begins Thursday night.

I’m tired of the “all-in” narrative. Yes he spent $, but BB got younger at WR, TE, DE, and CB. What do you think?
— @WWJackDo
I actually agree with the notion that the Patriots went all in, but I am in no way saying that’s a bad thing.

The Patriots did get younger at wide receiver, tight end and defensive end (Logan Ryan is younger than Stephon Gilmore, so they didn’t get younger there), but the other option would have been drafting players at those positions. That’s why the Patriots are perceived to be going “all-in.” Brandin Cooks is under contract for two years, Dwayne Allen for three years and Kony Ealy for just one. The Patriots did obviously sign Gilmore to a five-year deal, and they elected to add Mike Gillislee on a two-year deal rather than signing veterans like Adrian Peterson or LeGarrette Blount who only might have stuck around for one.

I don’t think “all-in” should be viewed negatively. Every team should be all-in every year. Most teams just don’t have the resources, head coach or quarterback to attempt it. The Patriots do, which is why they somehow still have over $20 million in cap space after an insanely active offseason.

Chances Edelman and or Solder see extensions offered before the season starts? Where do you see the remaining $20mil salary cap being used?
— @Gronkey_Kong_87
I don’t love answering “chances” questions, but I guess I’d say decent? Is that helpful? Probably not?

I guess I’d say I would be surprised if Julian Edelman and Nate Solder weren’t on the Patriots in 2018. I’ve been surprised before, though. Plenty of times. I was surprised today when I found out the Celtics game was on at 8:30.

I think the Patriots carry over most of that cap room into 2018 to ease franchising backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

To @DougKyed does the patriots holding on to Jimmy G make u think that NE feels hell be a star QB in this league #MailDoug
— @MdaAjg
I think that’s 100 percent what it means, and as long as he stays healthy, he will be a star.

On that note, it is a little frightening that Garoppolo got hurt a quarter and a half into his starting career. And it’s something that must be tough to assess even if you’re trying to acquire Garoppolo. Sure, he doesn’t have wear and tear after sitting behind Tom Brady. But how do you know how durable he’ll be in the NFL if he hasn’t actually played?

That being said, Garoppolo is going to be a franchise quarterback no matter where he plays.

@DougKyed Who do you think the Patriots will pick in the first round after they trade Jimmy G?
— @MrQuindazzi
First things first, I don’t expect Garoppolo to be traded. If the Patriots do wind up in the first round, I could see them taking USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. Temple’s Haason Reddick would be another logical option, given the Patriots’ need for linebackers and edge rushers. Reddick could do both.

Jackson has ideal speed and agility. He’s also an explosive returner and played wide receiver in college.

Do the Pats draft a kicker or FA? Will we see competition with Gostkowski this offseason?
— @BadaBing52
I believe they’ll sign a kicker as an undrafted free agent. They haven’t given Stephen Gostkowski competition for a few years now, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing after some of his struggles last season. The Patriots have the roster spots to use one of their UDFA slots on a kicker.

#MailDoug Considering the latest RB moves, has DJ Foster not improved the way NE expected? Will the Parriots carry him on the roster again?
— @r_lopes12
Foster was an undrafted free agent, so I don’t think they necessarily were counting on him to be a regular player at any point. I think they still believe he has potential, but sometimes you have to give up on potential when you find better, affordable players, which they did in Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead.

I think Foster will compete for a roster spot at either running back or wide receiver in training camp. If he warrants taking up a roster spot, then he will. But he has really tough competition this year at both positions.

@DougKyed Any chance they extend Butler? Seems we have the $$ so why not pay the man? #MailDoug
— @jack_roos86
I think that’s more up to Malcolm Butler than it is the Patriots. I don’t believe the Patriots want to give Stephon Gilmore money (five years, $65 million) to Butler, and I don’t think Butler wants to accept less from New England.

If he decides to play for less, then he could comeback longterm.

Let’s go rapid fire.

Pats somehow acquire the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ovr picks in the draft. Browns just drafted Garrett at 1. Who do you take with those 3 picks? ?
— @_davidm25
Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, LSU safety Jamal Adams and Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen, though.

Over Under 600 points scored by the Patriots in the up coming season ?
— @njjosselyn
This question made me realize I have absolutely no idea how many points a team scores in a given season. That’s a ton of points, though — 37.5 per game. The Broncos did it in 2013, however, so sure. I think the 2017 Patriots could do that.

@DougKyed #maildoug What would surprise you more, Jimmy G still on the Pats Friday or a trade before the first round starts tomorrow?
— @derek5280
A trade before the first round begins, definitely.

why are you doing the mailbag a day early this week?

#MailDoug #DougIsMale
— @EmersonLotzia
It was a selfish move, to be honest. I didn’t want to write a mailbag at like 2 a.m. after the first round of the draft.

— @DWCoates
I’m watching the Celtics and doing some last-minute prep for the draft.

Don’t spoil the Celtics game by telling me who wins.

Bill going all out in FA this year has many speculating he knows something (regarding Brady) we don’t. In your personal opinion, is 17 it?
— @TheDTSB
Brady’s best season? Maybe

Brady’s last season? Not a chance.

@DougKyed Scale of 1-10 how surprised would you be if the Patriots do not trade into the 1st or 2nd round this weekend? #MailDoug
— @cuzvechkin
Maybe a 3.6? I wouldn’t be very surprised.

Early thoughts on the Patriot’s record this upcoming year? Also how is your hair so nice? #MailDoug
— @RichieT_FTW
Let’s go 14-2 again.

Here’s the trick: Don’t wash it very often.

#MailDoug If you weren’t the coolest sports writer ever,what would you be?
— @MrQuindazzi
You guys know how to hop into my mailbag. I would probably be working a semi-boring 9-5 either still trying to become the coolest sportswriter ever or trying to write books on the side.

#MailDoug u think Conley is there at 72??..if so do the Pats take him??
— @MarcR33
I do think he’ll be there at No. 72, but I don’t think the Patriots would draft him. The Patriots make a relatively big deal about their top pick every year, even if he’s not a first-rounder. I don’t think they’d want to parade around a guy being accused of sexual assault.

Do you even work tomorrow night?
— @PFF_Steve
I do, Cousin Steve. I’ll be doing a Facebook Live draft preview at 5 p.m. Then I’ll be watching from the NESN studios.

Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images