You can't say Bill Belichick, Floyd Reese and company haven't hit the ground running in 2009. Those who believe that Scott Pioli was the dealmaker in New England need to re-think their understanding of the war room in Foxboro. The Patriots traded down twice in the first round of Saturday's NFL Draft to stockpile picks for the future.
It's not the first time the Patriots have moved back, and according to Belichick, may not be last. New England traded their first round pick (23rd overall) to the Baltimore Ravens, and picked up an extra pick for doing so - a fifth rounder. Then they decided staying at 26 wasn't worth the price, so they traded down again, this time they sent their pick to the Green Bay Packers for a second round pick (41st overall), and two third round picks (73rd and 83rd overall).
The team ended up with four picks in the second round and four picks in the third round before moving again.
In their final trade on Day One, the Patriots acquired Oakland's second round pick (40th overall) for three picks; a second round (47th overall), a fourth round (124th overall) and a sixth round (199th overall).
"We started off the day with six picks in the first three rounds and we ended up with eight picks in the first three rounds,' Belichick explained in his opening comments Saturday night. "It felt like that was a good area to be in this draft from a depth standpoint and the quality of the players we were getting with those picks."
Indeed. New England was loaded with eight picks in what many scouts described as the real meat of this year's Draft class.
By the end of the Day Saturday New England had addressed two chief concerns of theirs, defensive secondary and depth on both lines.
With their four picks in the second round the Patriots selected; S Patrick Chung (Oregon), DL Ron Brace (Boston College), CB Darius Butler (Connecticut) and OL Sebastian Vollmer (Houston).
The team headed into Sunday loaded with seven selections: two picks (73 and 83) from their trade with Green Bay Saturday; their own picks (89 and 234), and three compensatory picks (97, 170 and 207).
Though the Patriots aren't allowed to trade the compensatory picks, the others can be packaged to move up, down or out of this year's Draft completely. And according to Belichick that was likely to happen.
"We'll see how the day goes [Sunday]," Belichick noted. "I wouldn't rule out any movement tomorrow either. We'll just have to see how that goes."
The coach believed there was still plenty of opportunity to pick up players on the final day.
"As I said, I think there was good depth in this draft [and] I think there still is heading into tomorrow," Belichick said. "It's not going to last for seven rounds, but it should be there for awhile."
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