Facing a 64-pick gap between their first and second selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots opted to trade out of the first round.
The Patriots dealt the 23rd overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for the fifth pick of the second round (No. 37) and a third-rounder (No. 71).
The move gives New England five total picks on Day 2 — one in the second round and four in the third round (Nos. 71, 87, 98 and 100) — plus eight more on Day 3 (two fourths, one fifth, four sixths and one seventh).
Players still on the board when the Patriots traded back included Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, Alabama safety Xavier McKinney, Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa, Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones, Michigan center Cesar Ruiz, Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun, LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet and Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.
The Chargers selected Murray — considered the top inside linebacker in this year’s class — with the pick they acquired from the Patriots. Ruiz (No. 24, New Orleans Saints), Love (No. 26, Green Bay Packers) and Queen (No. 28, Baltimore Ravens) all came off the board shortly thereafter.
This marks the third time in five years that the Patriots did not draft a player in the first round. They’ve executed at least one trade in 20 of Bill Belichick’s 21 drafts.
Tight end and linebacker top New England’s list of positional needs entering Friday, along with offensive line, wide receiver, safety, edge rusher, quarterback and kicker.