In part 7 I'll make my actual draft predictions, but I'm waiting a few more days for that. Today I'm going to look at an option that not many people are considering for the Patriots -- trading down in the first round.
I think that just like last year where there was only one good DT available at #7 which prompted the Saints to trade up in the round, I think this year there's a similar situation developing at a different position -- Wide Receiver. And I think that this situation is going to cause the Giants to want to trade up in the round, and that the Patriots are a very likely trade partner.
I'm assuming at this point that Crabtree and Maclin will go off the board in the top 15. I think this is a pretty commonly held assumption. But I think those will be the only two receivers drafted in the top 20. That brings us to Minnesota at 22. Minny is likely to take a receiver -- whomever they consider the top prospect among Hakeem Nicks, Darius Heyward-Bey and Jeremy Maclin. If Minnesota drafts one of those three, then you have two receivers left with first round grades. If I'm the Giants, then I'm a little worried since I have the Dolphins and the Ravens drafting before me, both teams with a significant need at WR. I think the Giants have to consider trading up to get in front of the Dolphins, and that puts the Patriots -- a team known for being willing to deal -- in ideal position.
Fair value for the Giants to get the Pats' 23rd pick is the #29 pick plus the Giants' third rounder. Or the #29 plus a second rounder in 2010, which would definitely interest the Pats, who love second round picks almost as much as they love banking picks for future drafts.
Now at first look, one would think the Pats wouldn't be looking to pick up more draft picks in this draft, already holding 6 picks in the first 100. But picking up a 3rd rounder would give the Patriots more ammunition to move up in the second round, allowing them to get a 4th pick in the top 45 to 50. That's 4 impact guys they could bring in.
Of course there are some things that could quickly derail this scenario. The Giants could trade their first rounder for Braylon Edwards before the draft, negating their need. Or a top pick could slide down the board (Ray Maualuga comes to mind) which could change the Pats' willingness to trade down. But if there's not a 'must have' kind of guy at 23, the Pats could move down to 29 and still get a guy like Connor Barwin, if he's their man.
Just something else to think about going into next Sunday.