Patriots spin off 2nd-round picks in trades with Lions, Bears
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a flurry of trade activity Friday night, the New England Patriots made two deals that turned the second-round draft choice they received for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into a 2019 second-round pick and two 2018 fourth-round selections, before using one of the fourth-round picks in a different swap that landed them Florida cornerback Duke Dawson.
Here's how it unfolded:
The original pick the Patriots received in their Oct. 31 trade of Garoppolo, No. 43, was sent to the Detroit Lions for a 2018 second-rounder (No. 51) and a 2018 fourth-rounder (117)
The Patriots then took the 2018 second-rounder acquired from the Lions (No. 51) and traded it to the Chicago Bears for the 2019 second-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick (105).
The Patriots then took their original second-round pick (No. 63) and packaged it with the 2018 fourth-rounder acquired from the Lions (117) and shipped it to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their pick at No. 56. They selected Dawson, whose versatility, competitiveness and sure tackling appealed to them.
So the return for the Garoppolo trade could be viewed this way: The team dealt Garoppolo and a 2018 second-round pick in return for the pick used on Dawson, a 2018 fourth-round pick (No. 105), and a 2019 second-round pick.
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio smiled on Friday night when asked, in a lighthearted touch, if the Patriots were intentionally making it difficult for reporters to easily analyze the return for Garoppolo.
"You guys will parse that tomorrow. That's not our job. We're just looking at the picks, looking at the numbers, and when the trades come into play, we'll take it as it comes," he said.
The Patriots have now made 64 draft-day trades in coach Bill Belichick's 19 drafts with the franchise. The only year the Patriots haven't made at least one draft-day trade in his tenure was 2004.
The Lions, meanwhile, moved up in the draft for the first time under general manager Bob Quinn, trading with his old franchise, New England. In doing so, though, he gave up some of his coveted draft capital, as the fourth-round pick the Lions surrendered in addition to the second-round swap leave the Lions with only three picks left in this draft.
Quinn also hired his head coach from New England this offseason in Matt Patricia.
This after Quinn said he wanted to acquire more picks before the draft. Of course, that can still happen with trades, but that could end up meaning moving a player, perhaps a running back.
But this move was one Detroit had to make. Quinn said in January he was going to add at least one running back to the room. He did that by signing LeGarrette Blount -- another former Patriots player -- and then added a running back Friday in Auburn's Kerryon Johnson, who was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Quinn said Johnson was a running back the franchise targeted at the start of the day, and while they hoped he might slide to their original pick in the second round, they had enough concerns to move up and nab him.
He also said it was easy trading with a team like the Patriots with whom he's familiar.
"There's not like, I'm just telling you, you call some teams and it would take like 30 minutes to do a trade because they can't make a decision," he said. "I'm just telling you how it is. Some teams you can call and get it done in like 30 seconds. So it really depends on the team."
Johnson, the sixth running back selected in this year's draft, had no issue going where he went. He said he could have gone much later in the draft or much earlier. He's just happy to be selected, saying, "That's just the way of the draft."
He called Barry Sanders his favorite running back to watch -- even though Johnson was a toddler when Sanders played his final NFL season in 1998.
"You watch Barry Sanders, what's not to like? He's a fantastic running back. He's a fantastic guy," Johnson said. "He's extremely exciting to watch, extremely hard to tackle. It was a pleasure. I wish I was alive during that time, really, to get to watch him in person. He's a fantastic, fantastic running back and just going to the same organization as him is just awesome. It's like a dream come true.
"I'm just looking forward to doing the best I can do and giving it my all and seeing where I end up."
Johnson had 285 rushes for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He also had eight 100-yard rushing games for the Tigers last year. Meanwhile, the Lions haven't had a 100-yard rusher in 68 games.