Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The New England Patriots found a way to further maximize what was originally a staggering 12-pick draft, as the team punted the No. 23 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers for a second and third-round selection (No. 37 and No. 71 overall) just moments before they were set to go on the clock on Thursday night.
Trading out of the first round in the name of additional picks isn’t exactly foreign to the Patriots, and some even expected the Patriots to do this given this year’s relatively deep draft class. But this wasn’t always the Patriots’ plans for the first night of the 2020 NFL Draft, according to director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
“You always have to be prepared to pick, which we certainly were ready to pick,” Caserio offered. “We had a handful of players we were discussing and then the opportunity came up with the Chargers that we thought made sense.”
While New England’s trade took them out of the Day 1 fun, it did help close what was a sizable gap between their first and second pick, as the Patriots entered this draft without a second-round pick due to last year’s trade for Mohamed Sanu. (It’s also worth mentioning that ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s analysis of the trade included a rather interesting tidbit, saying that the Patriots believed they could get the get they wanted at either No. 23 or No. 37, making this trade a no-brainer for them.)
Caserio also noted that the team’s decision to move out of the first round did not have to do with how the board fell, particularly when it came to the pick right before New England’s, which saw LSU wideout Justin Jefferson land in Minnesota.
“The Chargers put themselves in position to do what they wanted to do, and we thought it made sense,” Caserio said. “We could have very easily gone the other way and picked a player, which we would have done. I don’t think what happened in front of us necessarily dictated what we ultimately did. I think we just looked at the information that we had in front of us, went through it, made a decision to check out of it. So that’s what we did.
“Each situation that comes up, we look at it on a case-by-case basis and we do what we feel is the best. I don’t think we go into it and say, ‘OK, if this happens we’re going to do this.’ We don’t look at it that way. We just look at what’s in front of us and make a decision, then we move forward with whatever decision that we make.”
The Chargers, meanwhile, used the first-round pick they got from the Pats to nab Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.
So it’s now onto what should be a busy Day 2 for the Patriots, beginning with the No. 37 overall pick and continuing with four third-round selections.
“We’ll see how it all works out here tomorrow,” Caserio offered. “I’m sure we’ll be active here tomorrow and, we’ll end up picking a player or two or three. Who knows how it goes. We have some flexibility going into tomorrow.
“We’ll recalibrate where we are, what’s left, kind of take a look at some of the different players.”