Trades a plenty! Pats acquire LB Kyle Van Noy, send TE AJ Derby to Denver
After chasing him as a rookie, Van Noy will now be teammates with Julian Edelman
It was a busy afternoon at One Patriot Place today, as the Pats completed two separate trades exactly one day from the league's trade deadline.
The first trade came earlier in the afternoon, with the Patriots acquiring linebacker Kyle Van Noy from the Lions. New England will reportedly send a sixth round pick to Detroit as part of the deal, with a seventh rounder coming back to the Patriots.
Van Noy was the 40th overall pick of the 2014 draft, but the BYU product has failed to carve out a niche in two-plus seasons with the Lions. At 6'3" and 243 pounds, he projects as an off-the-ball linebacker with the versatility to work into the edge rotation if need be in New England. His versatility was one of his top selling points as a draft prospect, and likely appealed to the Patriots coaching staff. He's also under his rookie contract for this season and next, giving the Pats some additional depth and insurance in case either Dont'a Hightower or Jamie Collins leave via free agency this offseason.
Van Noy's acquisition wasn't particularly surprising. The Patriots have made midseason trades for several highly drafted linebackers over the past few years, with Akeem Ayers, Jon Bostic and Barkevious Mingo all filling that bill. Each player was available for a low cost after falling out of favor with the team that drafted them. With former Patriots executive Bob Quinn running the Lions front office, a trade between the two teams could have been forseen.
However, the late breaking trade of Derby caught most by surprise, as you rarely see a midseason trade between conference rivals. A seventh round pick in 2015, Derby spent his rookie season on IR and was buried on the depth chart this year behind Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. While raw as a tight end (he converted to the position as a college senior after playing quarterback), he flashed considerable pass catching upside in the preseason. Denver has a void at the position, with neither Virgil Green nor 2015 third rounder Jeff Heurmann making an impact in the passing game.
Initial reports had the Broncos sending a 2017 fifth rounder back to New England in exchange for Derby, which would be a considerable price for such an unproven player. However, current reports have indicated that there's still some confusion regarding whether the compensation will be a fifth or seventh round pick, with playing time and other conditions likely to factor into the final outcome. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Compensation in the AJ Derby trade has been confirmed as Denver's 2017 fifth round pick.