Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft admitted it. The team's director of player personnel Nick Caserio highlighted it. And on Thursday night, coach Bill Belichick reiterated it. 

The reality is that Patriots are in a position to wheel and deal, especially on Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft. 

New England's roster was at 75 players entering Thursday night, and after the team selected University of Texas defensive lineman Malcom Brown with the No. 32 pick, that number was bumped up to 76. The team will carry 90 players through most of training camp, but there will be only 53 on the roster for Week 1. 

Simply put, there's a limited number of spots available for rookies.

Because the Patriots have nine selections overall -- eight between Rounds 2-7 on Friday and Saturday -- and because of the finite amount of space on the roster, there is the very real possibility that Belichick and Caserio package multiple picks in a trade to acquire a higher pick for this year or for the future. 

 

After selecting Brown on Thursday, Belichick explained the process that his team would navigate before the start of the second round.

"I think we’ll have to kind of recalibrate tomorrow and reset our board as if it’s the start of the draft," he said. "Thirty-two names have been eliminated, some needs have been filled with other teams that have selected and kind of go through the same process.

"We’re in a little bit of a unique situation. We have those three picks around 100, whatever it is, 96, 97 and 101, whatever it is. We have those three picks there together, whether we want to, what that will look like or maybe those picks are movable, maybe they’re not, I don’t know. It’s kind of unusual to have three picks like that clustered together. We’ll have to talk about that situation. It’s still 60-some picks until we even get to that point, so there are a lot of ‘what ifs’ but we’ll just talk about that situation and look to where we’d be here in the second round here at 64."

The Patriots have the liberty to trade picks 64 (at the end of the second round), 96 (at the end of the third) and 101 (at the beginning of the fourth). But since pick No. 97 is a compensatory selection, it can't be dealt.

Belichick said that, like the first round on Thursday, the Patriots may have to spend most of the second round waiting for teams to make their selections. And if New England does have an opportunity to trade up, there's no real way of telling how much it will cost to get the desired slot until calls are placed.

One thing is for certain, though: If the Patriots barter their way to a higher picks in the second or third rounds, it will be because they are enamored with one particular player and don't want to see him fall into another team's proverbial lap. 

"I think at this point in the draft, the trades are really player driven," Belichick said, echoing what Caserio said last week. "If somebody wants a player, it depends on how much they want him. We’ve studied the trade values through the years at different points, how many spots to different points in the draft and so forth and compared that to what our drafting charts would indicate.

"In the end it comes down to any other transaction: How motivated is the buyer, how motivated is the seller? When we’re trading for a particular player at this point, when you trade up, you’re not just -- there’s a guy you’re coming to get, so what’s the motivation? How much do you want to move out? If you feel like you can get the same player or a comparable player later and get something extra for it, then it makes sense to move back. If you don’t want to give up that value, then [you] probably stay unless there’s some price that makes you move . . . If you’re motivated to sell, then you’ll sell cheap. If you’re not motivated to sell, then it’s going to take more and vice versa."

 

No matter what the Patriots decide to do on Day 2, they have the draft capital to be either buyers or sellers. It just depends on what they're motivated to do.