With top picks, a case for trading up

In this week's Patriots mailbag, Rob from Vermont e-mailed on the possibility of the Patriots trading up in the NFL Draft.

"How many rookies will actually make this team?" he asked. "I can't see as many as last year. Considering the good base they have built, isn't it time to add some elite talent? Can you see the Pats spending some of their draft capital to move up?"

The topic led me to review all of the draft-day trades in Bill Belichick's tenure as Patriots coach, as the perception is that the Patriots are a team that only trades down.

Here is the breakdown of draft-day trades (all rounds):

Trading up -- 15

Trading down/into future -- 25

Clearly, Belichick is more likely to trade down than up. Specific to the first round, he's traded down in each of the last four years.

At the same time, it's not as if he hasn't traded up in the first round in his tenure -- most notably for defensive end Ty Warren (1 spot) in 2003 and tight end Daniel Graham (11 spots) in 2002.

Maybe this is the year the streak of moving down ends.