The Patriots had a long break between their first and second picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and New England bridged that gap by trading out of the first round.
The Patriots picked up early second- and third-round picks by trading the 23rd overall selection to the Los Angeles Chargers for the 37th and 71st overall picks. This was one of the trades NESN.com predicted the Patriots could make to move down in the draft and grab a tight end.
The talent level in the 2020 NFL Draft dropped off midway through the first round of the draft. A player the Patriots could have drafted at No. 23 overall is probably around the same talent level as one available early in the second round. So, it makes sense to pick up an additional early third to move down. This also is a deep draft, and the strength of it is in the second and third rounds.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reiterated this point on the draft broadcast.
“They can take the same player at 37 that they would have taken at 23,” Schefter said.
NESN.com was told to watch out for the Patriots to take Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet, Alabama safety Xavier McKinney, Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun or Michigan linebacker Josh Uche in the first or second round. All of those players are still available.
The Los Angeles Chargers selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray with the pick New England traded away.
The Patriots now have a second-round pick, four third-rounders, two fourth-rounders, a fifth-round selection, four sixth-round picks and a seventh in the 2020 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t be surprising if they made more trades as the draft goes along to get rid of some of those 13 picks.
The Patriots need help at linebacker, tight end, defensive end and quarterback, among other positions. They passed on players like Murray, Utah State quarterback Jordan Love and Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos by trading their first-round pick. It’s possible that Love and Gross-Matos could still be there at No. 37 overall, however.
Patriots fans will have to wait to see who the Patriots take first in this year’s draft. The Patriots will be busy Friday night, however, with four Day 2 picks.
Ultimately, if the Patriots were going to pick the player they grab at No. 37 overall 14 picks earlier, it makes sense to trade down for additional draft capital. Our guess is that’s exactly how this all shakes out.