Did Patriots Want To Draft Justin Jefferson In First Round Before Trade?

The New England Patriots made the completely unsurprising decision to trade out of the first round to pick up additional Day 2 picks Thursday night.

But what precipitated such a decision, and did it have anything to do with the Minnesota Vikings selecting LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson one pick before the Patriots were set to draft?

The Vikings took Jefferson 22nd overall just before the Patriots traded the 23rd overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for the 37th and 71st overall picks.

“We were having discussions with the Chargers, and they went ahead,” Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said early Friday morning in a video conference call. “We kind of saw how the pick went. We were kind of on the clock at the time and we made the pick. In the end, it worked itself out. The Chargers put themselves in position to do what they wanted to do, and we thought it made sense. We could have very easily gone the other way and picked a player, which we would have done.

“I don’t think what happened in front of us necessarily dictated what we ultimately did. I think we just looked at the information that we had in front of us, went through it, made a decision to check out of it. So that’s what we did.”

The Patriots made the trade with the Chargers before the Vikings’ pick was officially processed, but the selection had been leaked prior to the deal. Jefferson caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards with 18 touchdowns last season. He had been connected to the Patriots as a potential fit based on his ability out of the slot.

From what Caserio said, however, the Jefferson pick didn’t “necessarily” dictate the Patriots’ decision to trade down. Expect more movement from the Patriots on Friday with five Day 2 selections and eight picks on Day 3.

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