Caserio, at one point in his press conference, both joked and alluded to their current situation.
“We're always prepared to pick wherever that is – 22nd, 25th, 32nd, wherever that might be. We'll be prepared to pick,” he stated. “If it works out that way that we have a player to pick then we’ll pick. If we don’t pick then you guys will be all pissed off because you won't have anything to write a story about the next day.”
"There’s not as many spots as there has been in the past just from an overall roster standpoint,” Caserio explains. “I think we're around 73 or right around there — 73 or 74. I think in years past we've been a little bit lower, but the roster is more full relative to where we are in the whole process. Right now, we have nine picks. We'll see how that goes if we end up using those nine picks, and then there’s players we'll sign after the draft.”
Photo: Nick Caserio says at this point, there haven't been many draft-based trade talks. Figures to pick up next week pic.twitter.com/mXWwm9csu1
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) April 22, 2015
There are actually 75 players currently on the roster, but regardless, the Patriots do not have much room for rookies. The Patriots are always active in the undrafted free agent market, and with nine picks, there is little chance that they will keep all nine players when they get down to even the first roster cut down. This would suggest that the Patriots could be looking to move up in order to get better value with their picks. When asked about moving up or down in the draft, Caserio explained how they valued players:
“I would just say any time you move up or down, it’s really usually player-specific or player-driven,” Caserio elaborated. “So, if there’s players that you graded a certain way or that you valued a certain way relative to other needs, other teams, supply and demand at that position, that can dictate whether you feel it’s necessary to move up. Or if you feel like you can get a similar value, a similar player at a lower level and acquire picks, then you can move down.
A lot of that, too, is, ‘OK, where are you in terms of your overall roster?’ We're not talking about infinite numbers of spots, so if you move back, you're going to accumulate picks, maybe you end, if you move back, use those picks to move back up...If there’s a player in range, then you look at what’s around you and look at another team, and you think based on your research, ‘OK, they have a need. We've sort of identified this player with that team. OK, maybe this is an opportunity to do it,’ then that kind of is that impetus to make that move. If you don't feel that way, you might be able to say, ‘Look, if we sit here, we can get one of three or four players.”
That being said, it sounds as if the Patriots could be looking to add quality draft picks instead of quantity. So who could they be targeting? The top five names that could be reasonable to acquire include Todd Gurley, Marcus Peters, Byron Jones, Shaq Thompson, and Cameron Erving. Each of these players have received serious interest from the Patriots at one time or another.
Todd Gurley has a visit today and is considered, by some, as the next Adrian Peterson. Byron Jones was worked out at UConn's Pro Day by Patriots coaches. Shaq Thompson was talked to at the combine. Marcus Peters is considered the top CB in the draft. Cameron Erving was worked out by Dante Scarnecchia at his Pro Day. Each have valid reasons to be targeted by the Patriots. So what would it cost to get them?
Using a variety of draft pick trading formulas, I assessed the potential value that each pick would cost the Patriots to acquire. These picks where they could assumedly draft the targeted player is based off a compilation of nearly 15 mock drafts.
On the final day of pre-draft prospect visits, Georgia RB Todd Gurley is in New England to meet with the Patriots.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 22, 2015
Todd Gurley - RB
With his sudden rise due to his medical checks proving promising, Gurley could go anywhere from the Jets with the 6th pick to 32nd with the Patriots. One team that has been linked to Gurley, in the middle of that range, is the Dolphins at 14. Assuming the Dolphins would not trade their pick to their division rival, the Patriots would likely have to secure pick 13 in order to draft Gurley.
The New Orleans Saints are currently at 13. One promising aspect of this is that the Saints also have another pick at the end of the 1st round, which could lessen their desire to hold onto the pick. Using the formulas, it could take the Patriots 32nd, 64th, and 101st picks. That would be their 1st, 2nd, and early 4th round picks. To secure a player of Gurley's caliber, that trade may be enticing, but not a move the Patriots may feel comfortable making.
Marcus Peters - CB
Peters is an interesting case. His value ranges from as high as 4th to 32nd, and it would appear that most evaluators expect him to be taken in the somewhere between 13 and 19. Miami is another team that could be targeting Peters, so the same formula may apply from Gurley's case.
But another place to look would be is Cleveland at 19. With two teams, in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, needing a CB at 20 and 22 respectively, Peters likely won't make it past that point. Using the formula, trading the 32nd, 96th, and 131st would be a fair value for 19th. Those picks would be their 1st, early 3rd, and late 4th round picks. Again, another possible outcome that would be worth it if they view Peters as a potential #1 CB.
Byron Jones - CB
A similar case to Peters in terms of team needs and where he could go. Peters should be the 1st or 2nd CB taken, Byron Jones could very well be the 3rd or 4th if Kevin Johnson or Jalen Collins are taken before him. Jones has been coveted by Chip Kelly all offseason, and that would likely be the probable destination if he is to be taken.
Given his place, one possible trade locations could be with the Panthers at 25, before the Ravens and Cowboys who also could use an athletic CB in their secondary. To move up to 25, it may take the Patriots 32nd, 101st, and 177th picks. These are their 1st, early 4th, and 6th round picks.To me, that is worth it to secure the potential missing piece of the secondary.
Unless something drastic happens, gonna stick with my Shaq Thompson to NE prediction. If I'm wrong at least I have conviction.
— Ethan Hammerman (@Ethanhamm) April 19, 2015
Shaq Thompson - LB
Out of all of these players, none vary as much as Shaq Thompson when it comes to potential landing places. He very well could be available at 32. Though, the Panthers have been putting in a lot of effort into scouting him. Some view him as an early 2nd round pick. If the Patriots truly want him though they would likely have to secure a pick before the Panthers.
With trading with the Panthers in the Byron Jones example, we can use that formula to estimate what the value would be for the pick before at 24 with the Cardinals or even before that with the Lions. So the 32nd, 101st, and 177th picks could be applicable. Again, that is their 1st, early 4th, and 6th round picks.
Cameron Erving - OL
Cameron Erving could be the best interior OL in the draft, and on top of that he can play both guard and center. At 6'5" 313 lbs, he would be a force in the interior, and could step in as the day one starter at LG. With many teams needing linemen, and with a plethora of great guards in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, he could last until pick 18. Questions about whether he would be a guard or center intrigue teams, but the Chiefs need to add a center, making a trade with the Chargers the pick before possible.
In order to acquire pick 17, the Patriots would likely need to trade the 32nd, 96th, and 101st picks to move up to 17. That would be the 1st, 2nd, and early 4th round picks. A fairly large ransom for a position that's positional value indicates the Pats would be better off waiting to draft one.
Where trading up in the 1st round requires a king's ransom, as we can see, Caserio's comments could very well be referring to the 2nd round, where the value is just as great in some situations for potential 1st rounders who fall into day two. Here, they could address several needs such as guard, defensive tackle, and wide receiver. Some top day two players they may target include Laken Tomlinson, Nelson Agholor, and Tevin Coleman.
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