If you’ve followed the Patriots in recent years, you’re no stranger to a little excitement on draft night.

You’ve seen New England trade up, trade down, trade out, and just trade picks away for future drafts.¬†¬† Trying to keep up with it is generally pretty tough.¬† There’s usually quite a bit of research and digging that has to happen just to make sense of what they did or didn’t get, and just when you think you’ve figured out, they’ll make another one.¬†


Will the Patriots go after Robert Quinn to line-up next to Vince Wilfork this season? (FILE:Icon/SMI)

It’s mind-boggling to say the least, but it’s hard to argue the logic in their draft strategy when they end up grabbing guys like Devin McCourty, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, along with¬†Zoltan Mesko like they did last year.¬† Those are just a few¬†of the guys they took during¬†last year’s draft, and to end up with that many starters is about all you can ask for.

Now here we are heading into tonight’s draft where the Patriots have plenty of currency to maneuver wherever they wish, and that’s currently one of the biggest questions many of us are wondering about.¬† Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reported that the Patriots may be eyeing Robert Quinn, and cited a league source who suggested they’ve discussed with Cleveland¬†the possibility of trading up to the #6 spot in order to select him.

Obviously at this point it’s tough to predict what they’re going to do.¬† Ask Bill Belichick about it, and he’ll probably dismiss it with, “there’s a lot of talk about different situations on draft day.”¬† The Patriots are always ones who spend the day doing a lot of talking, and the odds of them making some sort of draft day deal seems to be about the only guarantee you can count on.¬† However, good luck figuring out what they’re doing to do beforehand.¬†

We’ve seen first round maneuvers before where they’ve moved up to grab a guy if they feel he’s worth it.¬†¬†¬†In 2003, they traded up for Ty Warren. In 2002, they traded up for Daniel Graham.¬† But moving up into the top 10 is something we haven’t seen, and it would certainly be a surprise.

Granted them moving up is far more rare than them moving in the other direction and stockpiling picks for the future.  Last year fans watched them move back twice to grab Devin McCourty,  with most questioning the move and not exactly being thrilled with the selection.  McCourty went on to become a starter and even made the Pro Bowl, so it just goes to show you how hard it is to make any judgements on draft day.

Whether or not they decide to move up and take Quinn remains to be seen.¬† They built a solid defense around Richard Seymour and later added Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren.¬† So for them to consider Quinn -¬†who Mel Kiper has as the 7th¬† ranked player in the draft¬†-¬†to be a guy to compliment Wilfork up front and a guy to build their defense around, it’s hard to say.¬† But as everyone knows, it’s all about value and the return on the selection that Belichck bases his decision around.

We’ll find out in a few hours whether or not we’ll see them make a move to grab him.¬†¬†Other reports say that¬†should Quinn fall out of the top 10, that could be the time the Patriots make a move for him. ¬†So it probably won’t be the last we hear on this topic.

But¬†one thing is certain, we’ll see a trade or two in the coming days when they hopefully come away with a group as talented as last year.¬† They’ll also probably make sure they’re well stocked to do it all over again next year.¬† That’s just the way it works, and tonight is certainly one we’ve been waiting on for a while since free agency has been placed on hold thanks to the lockout.

Needless to say it should be an interesting night, and we’ll have coverage throughout the¬†evening, so be sure and check back for updates.