Bill Belichick appeared to stick it one of the Patriots’ fiercest rivals in his final draft with New England.

The Patriots traded down from 14 to 17 in the 2023 NFL Draft. The move allowed the Steelers to leapfrog the Jets, who were believed to be in the offensive tackle market ahead of their first season with Aaron Rodgers. Pittsburgh grabbed Broderick Jones, one of the best tackles in the class, a spot ahead of New York, which pivoted to defensive end Will McDonald IV.

To the casual football observer, New England made the move in part to spoil Gang Green’s first-round draft plans. That wasn’t the Patriots’ foremost intent, but as Belichick admitted Wednesday, it was a result the team didn’t hate to see.

“We only traded back a couple of spots,” Belichick said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “We were pretty confident the Steelers were looking for a tackle and we were pretty confident the Jets weren’t gonna take a corner because they had taken (Sauce) Gardner the year before. So, we kind of thought both teams were looking for the same thing. In the end, the Jets ended up taking a pass-rusher.

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“We were really interested in the corner. We probably would have stayed there and taken (Christian) Gonzalez if there wasn’t a trade available. Well, we would have done that. That’s not probably. We would have done that. With the option to move back a couple spots and — of course, we didn’t know the Steelers were going to take the guy the Jets wanted. I mean, I’d say we weren’t heartbroken that that happened, but that’s the way it goes. In the end, we ended up getting the guy that we wanted with Gonzalez. So, that was good.”

Perhaps Patriots fans will gain more inside information — both related to the draft and other topics — from Belichick next week. The legendary coach will join McAfee next Thursday for a special draft show.

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