Are We Sure the Patriots Aren't Going to Rule the NFL Draft By Proxy?

Kyle Koster
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
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As of now, it appears Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are projected to battle it out for the starting quarterback role in New England, which is a less desirable situation than the franchise has found itself in entering the previous 20-odd seasons. It's definitely against the organizational ethos to trade up for splashy picks on the front-end of the draft, but then again, it's also against it to not have Tom Brady under center.

And here we are.

So while most experts and miles of track record suggest the first Patriots' selection will come at No. 23 or afterwards, there's this little nagging coincidence that's tough to shake. It likely doesn't mean much, yet could mean a heck of a lot.

Picks three through five belong to coaches from Belichick's coaching tree. And recent ones at that. Matt Patricia and the Lions, Joe Judge and the Giants, Brian Flores and the Dolphins. If New England wants to work out a deal, they already have the other party on speed dial. Human nature says that it's easier to deal when there's a shared history.

Now, obviously, Dave Gettleman has shown a propensity to keep his lottery spots to take big swings (Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones). Miami is deeply infatuated with Tua Tagovailoa -- and if not him, then Joe Burrow at No. 1. The Fins are also loaded up with picks this year so stockpiling a few more doesn't make the most sense.

Which leaves Patricia as the path of least resistance. His mantra has been to assemble as many former Pats as humanely possible, so he'd thirst for those with experience. Though there is a win-now mandate, the Lions' plan approaching draft night appears to be to target a lockdown defender -- either in the secondary (Jeff Okudah), line (Chase Young) or in between (Isaiah Simmons).

Is it at all possible that Patricia and his mentor would swing a swap that allowed Belichick to swoop in and snag Tua? Remember, Tagovailoa's value will be highest before his next injury, so having a pristine and unproven prospect correlates to a huge bargaining chip immediately and perhaps through an entire redshirt season.

It all sounds like the crazy rantings of a person with a big board connected by string. But weird things happen in the draft. Who knows if Burrow ends up going No. 1 and the Justin Herbert-Jordan Love run begins earlier than expected?

Anyway, I am certainly not counting on it. At the same time I won't be fully convinced it's not happening until we get to pick six.

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