FOXBORO – Late Friday night, after the third round of the draft ended, Nick Caserio was at a loss to explain how the Patriots would use all their last-day picks.
Too many selections. Not enough spots on the 90-man roster available. No vacancy.
“We’re scheduled to pick in the fourth round right now and we have the end of the draft covered with the five sixth-round picks, three of which we have to pick,” Caserio lamented. “We couldn’t trade those even if we wanted to. And then the two seventh-round picks...I think that puts us at 80 players on the roster, just if you include the players we drafted. Somewhere along the line, something’s going to have to give. We’re going to have to give some picks up or, you know, you have 90 players you can actually have on your roster at one time, so we’re going to have to see how it all fits together.”
Here’s how it fit together on Saturday. The Patriots selected Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell with a fourth-rounder (112 overall), then angled to get the hell out of their remaining seven selections with trades.
First, they sent Miami the 196th, 204th and 250th picks in exchange for the 147th pick.
Then, when their turn approached at 147, they sent that pick and the 243rd pick to Seattle in exchange for the 225th pick this year and a fourth-rounder next year.
Distilling those moves: they first turned three picks into one. Then they combined that pick with another and turned those two into one this year and one next year. And in doing so they got back into the fourth round for 2017. They NFL confiscated the Patriots fourth-rounder last year.
Selections left to be made on Saturday are these untradeable compensatory picks: 208, 214 and 221. And also 225 which can be traded.
Finally, an interesting bit of bookkeeping from the deal the Patriots made with the Cardinals earlier in the offseason.
The Patriots got guard Jonathan Cooper and the 61st overall pick back from Arizona. The Patriots traded the 61st pick to New Orleans Friday night in exchange for a third and a fourth. The Patriots got offensive lineman Joe Thuney and Mitchell from those picks.
So the deal was Chandler Jones for Cooper, Thuney and Mitchell.