The Patriots enter the start of the 2014 NFL draft tonight in a predictably comfortable position. Unlike many of the main movers and shakers on draft day one, they are not scrambling to find a quarterback. At least for a few more seasons, the Patriots have one in a future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady. Still, there is plenty of uncertainty in what the Patriots will do on the highly anticipated first day (which determines only the first round). And generally speaking, that’s exactly how Bill Belichick likes it.
There are three scenarios, but in reality, many possible directions that the Patriot can go in (in terms of who they pick). As he’s proven before though, Belichick is capable of fooling all of the experts in either trading up or down, while sometimes merely drafting an unexpected player in the pick that the Patriots already occupy. Here’s a very basic glimpse at the options:
1. Patriots trade up: This one appears the least likely, given that it not only goes against the normal New England line of thinking, but it doesn’t seem overly necessary. As much of the analysis of the 2014 draft class seems to conclude that this is a group deep in talent, the idea of trading up to get a caliber player that might likely be around at the end of round one would be perplexing, with a few exceptions. Tight end, one of the rare positions in the draft without much depth, could entice Belichick to make a few phone calls and see if he could make a move into the middle of the first round. Possibly wide receiver, but again, that seems unlikely.
2. Patriots trade down: Talk to any Patriots fan, and they will roll their eyes, before admitting, “Yeah, I could see that happening.” Given Belichick’s stated propensity for gathering picks, this could be a likely scenario. As said before, the depth of the 2014 rookie group ensures that the Patriots likely won’t be hurrying to nab any one particular player. Other teams, meanwhile, could be rushing to take whichever quarterback falls through the early part of the first round. Inevitably, one of the so-called “top quarterbacks” will still be on the board at the end of the first round. New England probably has an idea of who’s talented, given that they worked out most of the quarterbacks available. If the Browns/Jaguars/Raiders/Vikings or anyone else come calling for the 29th pick, we’re guessing Belichick will be listening.
3. Well, if they aren’t trading down or up, clearly this means they’re staying at 29: And, with that, we’ll defer to the “experts” to see who they have “mocked” out for New England to take:
Mel Kiper Jr: Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota), defensive line.
Todd McShay: Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame), defensive line.
Mike Mayock: Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), tight end.
Pat Kirwan: Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota, defensive line.
Andy Hart: Louis Nix III (Notre Dame), defensive tackle.
Pete Prisco: Calvin Pryor (Louisville), free safety.
NEPatriotsDraft.com: Dominique Easley (Florida), defensive line.
Screenshot via YouTube