Patriots & trades on draft day

Michael Lombardi of NFL.com writes on two guarantees in this year's draft, one of which involves the Patriots. Lombardi envisions a lot of Bill Belichick trades.

Lombardi goes on to explain, in his view, why the Patriots are big dealers on draft day.

"The Patriots, like most teams, enter their draft room intent on selecting talented players at any position. And they always have a cluster of five or six players who have been similarly graded, which allows them to be flexible to move down.

"Unlike most teams, the Patriots never fall in love with just one player, therefore they can move down. However, they never just move to move. Because of this cluster of picks, Belichick knows he can trade the 28th overall pick because he has the 33rd as his next. He would only lose five players off his board and gain a better contract and more value for that selection.

"Before they would agree to a trade, the Patriots calculated how far they can move down and still get a player of equal talent with their new pick. They will never make a move that takes them away from acquiring talent, therefore finding the right trade partner is equally important as what value they receive back in the trade. I can actually visualize a scenario in which the Patriots move from No. 28 to the mid 30s, and then move pick No. 33 to the low the 40s and end up with the same players they would have selected at Nos. 28 and 33."

This happened last year when the Patriots traded down twice -- from 22 to 24, and then from 24 to 27 -- and still landed cornerback Devin McCourty. That looks brilliant.

Yet some other trades have produced more scrutiny, such as in 2009 when the Patriots traded out of the 26th spot, opening the door for the Green Bay Packers to select Clay Matthews Jr., who has emerged as one of the NFL's best defensive players.