In a move that surprised very few people, the New England Patriots moved out of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night. They got in touch with the Los Angeles Chargers, who sent them two Day 2 picks, a second-rounder (No. 37) and a third-rounder (No. 71) in exchange for the 23rd overall selection.
The Chargers went on to pick linebacker Kenneth Murray, a productive linebacker who our own Phil Perry mocked to the Patriots at No. 23 in his final full first-round mock draft.
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But Bill Belichick and the Patriots may have come out on top in this deal. And why might that be? It has to do with the strength of the draft's second round.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the second round of this year's draft is expected to be the "deepest second round in the last 25 years."
One personnel director calls this “the deepest second round in the last 25 years.” He believes there are 20 players available tonight that could have been first-round picks; there usually are 7-10. “There will be as many starters in this round that there are in the first round.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2020
Of course, that's just the opinion of one personnel director. But it's still a great sign for the Patriots.
The Patriots are well-positioned to land a falling first-round talent with the 37th pick in Round 2. Perhaps Alabama safety Xavier McKinney will be their target, as Perry predicts in his ideal Day 2 scenario for the Patriots. And if not McKinney, they should still have a chance to select a top-25 player from our Big Board.
But the value doesn't stop at 37. As ESPN Stats & Info detailed on Twitter, the Patriots have the most Day 2 picks of any NFL team after their trade with the Chargers. They're set to pick five times before the third round comes to a close.
The Patriots enter tonight with the most picks of any team (5) on Day 2 of the 2020 Draft.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 24, 2020
New England has made 50 picks in the 2nd and 3rd round under Bill Belichick, the most in the NFL since 2000. pic.twitter.com/Q6ofWH37hr
And it's not just those two rounds. The Patriots have an additional eight picks in Rounds 4-7 of the draft on Saturday. That type of buying power will give the Patriots the opportunity to trade up for another second-round if a prospect they like is still available. That's what Perry's Day 2 mock has the Patriots doing to land a player to fill one of their biggest positional needs.
Having buying power doesn't mean the Patriots will move up. Nor does having a second-round pick mean that the Patriots will definitely land a star. We've seen them whiff on second-round picks before. But New England should be one of the draft's biggest influencers on Day 2.
We'll see what the Patriots do soon enough. Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft kicks off at 7 p.m. ET. The Patriots will be the sixth team to pick in the round... if they keep their second-round pick.