This year feels like 2003 to me, for two major reasons: first, the draft class will be deep at most positions and solid at the top and second, because the Pats have 9 well spaced selections (plus Compensatory for Andruzzi and Patten) to play with. 2003 was a special year for Pat fan draftniks because BB/SP moved up and down the board with incredible precision. With that in mind, I decided to spend a little time thinking about who our most likely trading partners would be in the first. Picks 1 thru 12 - Out of Range To get to #12, we would need to trade #21, #52 and #75. Three players for one is just not something BB would ever do. The alternative would be to trade #21 and our 2007 first round pick, but again I just cant see that being worth it. Picks higher than #12 become exponentially more expensive. Conclusion: Impossible. #13 - Baltimore, #14 - Philly What would it take? For the Pats, trading into this range would cost the 2nd rounder, which means that it needs to be an exceptional opportunity. Why would we do it? Who would make it worthwhile to trade that high? If Haloti Ngata drops past the Browns (which is completely impossible), then shifting Wilfork to DE would be a solution to the Seymour contract situation. And if he's really all that then mybe AJ Hawk might be worth it. But other than that, I dont see any credible scenarios where trading up this high makes a lot of sense for the Pats. We'd have trading partners, but what's the bait? Why would they do it? At #21 Baltimore has a number of needs and they traded their 3rd to the Pats last year. They might want to trade back a bit and recover that pick. At #13, they may have a shot at RB Lendale White or RB Deangelo Williams, but at #21, they would be looking at QB Omar Jacobs, RB Lawrence Maroney or OT Winston Justice... plus an extra Day One pick. For the Eagles, looking for WR, OT, DL, #14 gives them a shot at Tamba Hali.. but it's too early for Santonio Holmes, Chad Jackson, Broderick Bunkley. Any of those players would be better selections at #21. Conclusion: Highly unlikely #15 - Atlanta, #16 - Miami What would it take? Trades into this range would cost the Pats their early 3rd rounder, and maybe a Day Two pick to sweeten the deal. Reasonable if it's a player that we really like. Why would we do it? Well, if BB thinks Huff is a player, that could be an attraction. If Greenway or Deangelo Williams drop that far, it might be worthwhile moving up. Also, if the impossible happens, #15 is as far Vernon Davis would have to fall before I'd be willing to add a 3rd first rounder onto the roster at TE. It's absolutely not a need, but Davis is ridiculously good and Graham will be a UFA soon enough. (It seems silly to even mention Davis at #15 because it just seems absurd that he'd drop... but here's the thinking: there are so many good TEs this year, if multiple teams decide to wait until the 2nd round to fill their TE needs, then maybe Davis suffers for it. It's positional deflation. Where there's lots of supply, prices drop.) Why would they do it? Needs are mostly defensive for both Atlanta and Miami, plus QB for Miami if there's one available. If they stay put, they should have a shot at DB Michael Huff. But #21 would be a better place to draft either Ko Simpson or Darnell Bing. They could try for DE Tamba Hali at #15/16, or trade back to #21 for Kiwanuka or Kamerion Wimbly. For their parts, I think Atlanta and Miami would be happy to trade back and get the additional pick(s). Conclusion: Long shot. It would take someone very special to fall. #17-20 Vikings, Cowboys, Chargers, Chiefs What would it take? We could trade #21 and our late 3rd rounder, and expect a Day Two pick in exchange. Very reasonable. Why would we do it? Chad Greenway, Deangelo Williams, Jimmy Williams (if SP likes him), Lendale White... really anyone who we think has the makings of a rookie starter, where we cant afford to risk that player not lasting until #21. Even Bobby Carpenter or Manny Lawson (two of my favorites) may be worth trading up for if they grade out well in our system and the dropoff after they're gone is too high. Why would they do it? #21 is the first reasonable place for Santonio Holmes or Chad Jackson. The compensation package seems kinda thin, to me. The only situation where I could see a deal is if one of these teams (the Vikes, maybe) have set their minds on spending their first rounder at WR. Conclusion: Possible, but not compelling. #22-25 Broncos, Bucs, Bengals, Giants What would it take? The Pats would get a Day Two pick and/or a Day Two swap, like our 5th for their mid-4th. Why would we do it? Let's say we have three of four players that grade out basically the same, good but flawed in some way: need to learn a new position in our system, or a little raw. Suppose our draft board is Manny Lawson, Richard Marshall, Chad Jackson and Bobby Carpenter... all would probably be successful for us, but we have late 1st/early 2nd round grades for each. If someone makes an offer, trading back a few spots seems pretty low risk. Why would they do it? They love someone. This is a small price to land a specific first rounder that you really like. BB would do it, I think. I dont really see anything that might tempt the Broncs would trade up one spot. They have two first rounders, and a fairly different set of needs from the Pats. If they wanted to make sure of Chad Jackson, wouldn't they move ahead of San Diego to do it? Supposing that the Bucs are looking at CB and OT, they're probably happy where they are. They're in a good spot for OL. The only trade scenario I could imagine is if the Bucs want CB Tye Hill or CB Cromartie and they're worried that Pats might take him themselves (Denver certainly wont). The scenario that might make the Bengals trade up is if they think the Pats are going to take Darnell Bing or Ko Simpson off the board. They need a SS, and if they fall in love with either one, a small trade up is not out of the question. For the Giants, the most probably trade up scenario (just like the Bucs) is if they want to take Tye Hill or Cromartie to replace Will Allen. Trading to #21 gets them in front of Tampa, and takes New England, who might be thinking CB too, out of the equation. Not too impossible, if they think either of those CBs are truly special. Of course, they could always sit still and take Ashton Youboty or Richard Marshall at #25. Conclusion: Broncos, no. The rest?... maybe. #26-28 Chicago, Carolina, Jacksonville What would it take? The Pats would earn a late 3rd rounder, and might give a Day Two pick back in loose change. Or, the Pats could trade their early 3rd for a mid-late 2nd rounder. Why would we do it? The late 20s seem like a fair place to take Bobby Carpenter (assuming he gets past the Giants), or Richard Marshall. Kiwanuka is great value this deep in the first. Why would they do it? For Carolina and Chicago: wide receiver. #21 is probably a good place to make sure of the top receiver in the draft, whether that's Holmes or Jackson or (less likely) Moss. Holmes could be the Mushin Muhammad replacement that the Panthers need opposite Smith. And Chicago needs depth urgently. For Jacksonville, I think the best story is to land a top TE like Pope. Conclusion: Plausible. Seems reasonable for all parties involved. #29-32 Indianapolis, Seattle, Pittsburgh What would it take? The Pats earn a late 2nd rounder, and (by the book) would probably owe a late Day Two pick to make up the difference. Why would we do it? We just dont think there are players with first round grades at #21. Either that, or the teams over-compensate us to a degree where it's simply impossible to say no. Why would they do it? Indy probably needs to replace James, and if they think they need to move up to land White or Moroney, that could be the solution. Seattle needs to upgrade Stevens with a real TE, and someone like Leonard Pope may not be a bad idea at #21. Also, a SS like Darnell Bing may deserve a trade up, if they really like him. Pittsburgh would be looking WR to replace Plaxico and Randall-El or RB to backfill for Jerome Bettis. If Lendale White is available at #21, I think the Steelers might offer BB a sweet package to land him. Conclusion: Plausible, but our trading partner needs to fall in love first. #33-40 Houston, New Orleans, Jets, Packers, Niners, Raiders, Titans Lions What would it take? The Pats trade #21 for the early 2nd and early 3rd rounders. Considering that we're talking about Houston, New Orleans, the Jets, etc... that option seems really absurd. Those teams cant afford to trade up. Far more likely, the Pats trade up using their 2nd and one of the 3rd rounders. Why would we do it? Trading up in the 2nd would be a matter of picking up a player we like, maybe someone that we were interested in at #21, but let pass. For example, if we chose Carpenter over Marshall at #21, and Marshall was still on the board in the 30s... well then, it's worth spending a 3rd rounder to get both of them. We have the picks to spare, and only a few key needs. Depending on who BB's targeting, waiting till #52 could be very risky. Why would they do it? All of these teams need extra picks. Conclusion: Very plausible. In all, if we trade in the first, I think Chicago and Carolina are the best bets. Let me know where I screwed up.