Belichick’s 9-Best (and 2-Worst) Draft Day Deals
On the eve of the NFL Draft and with the ever-present possibility the New England Patriots trade out of their 23rd overall slot, let's take a look back to some of Bill Belichick's finest draft day moves from years past.
- 2018: Acquired OT Trent Brown from the 49ers and a 5th round pick (LB, Ja’Whaun Bentley) in exchange for a 3rd round pick (S, Tarvarius Moore).
- Dante Scarnecchia turned Trent Brown into a monster that eventually became the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Brown protected Brady as the Pats won their 6th Super Bowl and Bentley served as a special team’s/role player last year, playing in all 16 games and recording 44 tackles. Moore is nothing more than a depth piece in San Francisco’s secondary.
- 2013: Acquired a 2nd round pick (LB, Jamie Collins), a 3rd round pick (CB, Logan Ryan), a 4th round pick (WR, Josh Boyce) and a 7th round pick (DT, Everett Dawkins, by Tampa Bay) from Minnesota in exchange for a 1st round pick (WR, Cordarrelle Patterson).
- Boyce wasn’t exactly a hit, but Collins and Ryan were more than enough to make this trade a win. Collins was excellent in his first stint with the Pats before going rogue, and upon returning last year was a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year much of the first half of the season. Ryan appeared in 64 games with the Pats from 2013-’16 and was one of the most valuable nickel corners in the league, making 243 tackles and picking off 13 passes while covering the opposition’s slot receivers. Even Patterson, the first rounder Bill traded away who was taken 29th overall, made his share of contributions in the receiving, return and rush game for the Pats after being acquired prior to the 2018 season.
- 2012: Acquired Cincinnati’s 1st round pick (DE, Chandler Jones) in exchange for a 1st round pick (G, Kevin Zeitler) and a 3rd round pick (DT, Brandon Thompson).
- Belichick moved up from 27th-to-21st in 2012 to take Chandler Jones, who would play in 55 games during four years in New England. Jones tallied 36 sacks as a Patriot and was a budding star, though he was going to command top-dollar. Then the whole synthetic weed thing happened and Bill had an excuse to ship him out of town. Thompson appeared in 39 career games, while Zeitler is still going strong for the Bengals, but neither were anywhere near the player Jones was with the Pats, or has become with the Cardinals.
- 2012: Acquired Denver’s 1st round pick (LB, Dont’a Hightower) in exchange for a 1st round pick (RB, Doug Martin, by Tampa Bay) and a 4th round pick (DE, Jared Crick, by Houston).
- Doug Martin was briefly a stud RB, rushing for 1454yds/11td his rookie season and 1402yds in 2015, though he never played for the initial team Bill dealt the pick to. Crick played in 79 career games and would eventually spend a season in Denver, though not until his final year in 2016. Meanwhile, Hightower has been a fixture in the middle of the Pats’ D and turned in countless big plays in the 2014, ’16 and ’18 Super Bowl victories.
- 2007: Acquired San Francisco’s 2008 1st round pick (DT, Sedrick Ellis, by New Orleans) and a 4th round pick (CB, Josh Bowie, by Oakland) in exchange for a 1st round pick (OT, Joe Staley).
- On the surface you’re probably thinking, ‘huh?’ Staley has been one of the best lineman in the game. Well, the Pats used the ’08 1st-rounder from the 49ers and traded back to #10 (via New Orleans) where they selected linebacker Jerod Mayo. Not a bad piece of business. And that 4th rounder? We’ll hear from him in a second when Bill flipped him to the Raiders for a certain troubled wide receiver.
- 2003: Acquired Baltimore’s 2nd round pick (TE, Bennie Joppru, by Houston) and a 2004 1st round pick in exchange for a 1st round pick (QB, Kyle Boller).
- By 2003, Brady had established himself and the Pats weren’t in need of a mid-1st round QB, especially one of Boller’s poor standards. He played eight years in the league, mainly as a backup, and threw for 8931yds/48td/54int. Instead, Bill played the long game and in ’04 selected Vince Wilfork 21st overall with the pick from the Ravens. Wilfork played a decade in Foxboro and will no doubt be in the Patriots Hall of Fame one day.
- 2007: Acquired WR Randy Moss from Oakland in exchange for a 4th round pick (CB, John Bowie).
- Hey, there’s that Bowie guy again! He was that 4th rounder Bill acquired from San Francisco, and turned out to be the price to acquire Moss, who only set the NFL receiving TD record in his first season in New England as the Pats went 16-0.
- 2009: Acquired Jacksonville’s 7th round pick (WR, Julian Edelman) and a 2010 2nd round pick (DT, Lamarr Houston, by Oakland) for a 3rd round pick (CB, Derek Cox).
- This trade was another example of a gift that kept on giving. Directly, however, Edelman was more than enough. The 2nd-leading receiver in NFL postseason history, a Super Bowl MVP and a borderline Hall of Famer. Bill probably didn’t envision that resume coming out of the 232nd player drafted in ’09, but hindsight is 20/20, and Belichick looks good yet again.
- 2010: Acquired Oakland’s 2nd round pick (TE, Rob Gronkowski) in exchange for a 2nd round pick (DT, Lamarr Houston) and a 6th round pick (LB, Travis Goethel).
- Bill flipped that future 2nd rounder from the trade that resulted in Edelman, and a 6th for the greatest tight end of all-time. Not a bad piece of business.
*WORST, I* 2006: Acquired Green Bay’s 2nd round pick (WR, Chad Jackson) in exchange for a 2nd round pick (WR, Greg Jennings) and a 3rd round pick (C, Jason Spitz).
- Belichick jumped up 16 spots in the draft to take Jackson, who was out of the league by 23yrs old. Jennings would put up 571rec/8291yds/64td over his 10yr career. That’s more like the WR Bill was in search of.
*WORST, II* 2017: Acquired Detroit’s 3rd round pick (OT, Tony Garcia) in exchange for a 3rd round pick (WR, Kenny Golladay) and a 4th round pick (LB, Jalen Reeves-Maybin).
- Matt Patricia fleeced the master on this one. Bill moved up 11 spots this time around to take lineman Tony Garcia, who the Pats cut after a year and has never played a single game in the NFL. Kenny Golladay, well, he’s only hauled in 2253 yards over the last two seasons and led the league with 11 TD in 2019. That would’ve been another nice toy for Brady to play with.