The Patriots had a pretty hefty draft haul last week, selecting a running back, an offensive lineman, two cornerbacks, two linebackers, and a quarterback. However, they also used picks in the 2018 draft to select a number of veterans that will be joining the team this summer. Some argue that veteran acquisitions shouldn’t be included, but that makes little sense considering they have just as much or as little chance to contribute or make the roster come September as a rookie selected in this year’s draft. Here’s a quick recap of the players that the Patriots received via trade:
Marquis Flowers – from the Bengals for 2018 7th Round pick
Flowers had a career season in New England last year, finishing with 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks as a productive member of the AFC Champions. He filled in well in Dont’a Hightower’s absence, and had decent versatility against both the run and pass games. His return may not be the flashy outcome that everyone was looking for in the draft, but for a seventh-round draft pick, his value is immense.
Corradelle Patterson – from the Raiders (swapped 5th and 6th round picks)
Patterson has been one of the most dynamic return men in the league during his short career. He has returned five kick returns for touchdowns and has a career return average of over 30 yards per return. While Patterson’s offensive experience has been much more limited, Josh McDaniels will likely be able to find ways to incorporate him in both the run and pass games. Swapping late round picks seems like a completely acceptable cost for a prolific kick returner and potential offensive weapon.
Jason McCourty – from Browns (swapped 6th and 7th round picks)
The twin brother of Patriots safety Devin McCourty has been a starting cornerback for both the Titans and the Browns during his nine-year career. While he is not an elite corner, he is a good player with significant experience in the league. In addition, his relationship with his brother and the other members of the Patriots secondary will make his transition into the Patriots system much easier. While he doesn’t have the level of youth that one would prefer, the Patriots dropped two spots in the tail end of the draft for an experienced cornerback that has the ability to help them immediately over the next few seasons.
Trent Brown – from San Francisco for a 2018 3rd round pick (also received a 2018 fifth round pick)
The Patriots swapped 3rd and 5th round picks with the 49ers for Brown, a fourth-year player who has started 18 games over the course of his career. Brown is a massive player at 6’8 355 lbs but has surprising quickness. Broncos superstar Von Miller labeled Brown as one of the best right tackles that he has ever faced. Brown enters a very full offensive line room and could potentially have a major impact for New England next season.
In addition, the Patriots traded a 2019 3rd round pick to the Browns for former 1st round pick Danny Shelton. Obviously, that isn’t counted towards this year’s draft haul but will be factored in next season.
Trading draft picks for valuable veteran players is a smart strategy used by many teams that combines an understanding of the draft class, your own team, and a keen analysis of the way other team’s value their players. For example, if the Patriots can receive criticism for trading away Jimmy Garoppolo for just a second round pick (which they certainly do deserve criticism for), then the 49ers should include Jimmy G in their draft haul for this season. These are all players who could have an immediate impact on the team, and should not be discounted from any analysis of the Patriots draft success or failure.
Until next time – B$