2020 NFL draft: Resetting the Patriots’ draft capital after the Rob Gronkowski trade

The New England Patriots entered Tuesday with Rob Gronkowski on their reserve/retired list, and only one selection in the fourth round of the draft. A few hours later, the situation had changed drastically: after telling the Patriots that he wanted to return to pro football but be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be reunited with his former quarterback, Tom Brady, Gronkowski and a seventh-round pick were sent to Florida in return for a fourth-rounder.

The move happened rather quickly, at least from a public perspective: between the first report of the tight end having talked to the Patriots about ending his retirement and the trade being agreed upon by the two teams involved, a mere 32 minutes passed. In this time, New England was able to add another mid-round selection to a draft portfolio that still includes 12 total selections and now looks as follows:

  • Round 1: 23rd overall
  • Round 3: 87th overall
  • Round 3: 98th overall (compensatory)
  • Round 3: 100th overall (compensatory)
  • Round 4: 125th overall (via Chicago)
  • Round 4: 139th overall (via Tampa Bay)
  • Round 5: 172nd overall (via Detroit)
  • Round 6: 195th overall (via Denver)
  • Round 6: 204th overall (via Houston)
  • Round 6: 212th overall (compensatory)
  • Round 6: 213th overall (compensatory)
  • Round 7: 230th overall (via Atlanta)

As can be seen, the Patriots received the lower of the Buccaneers’ two fourth-round selections — the 139th overall pick — for the rights to Gronkowski’s contract. In turn, they sent the future Hall of Famer plus pick No. 241 to Tampa. In its essence, therefore, the trade was a 102-pick move up the board by giving away a player that would not have suited up for New England this season under the current circumstances (i.e. Tom Brady having left).

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The Patriots’ draft value, of course, also was impacted by the trade. While New England entered Tuesday with a combined 411.9 points, according to Rich Hill’s value chart, the Gronkowski trade added 13.57 — 15.13 for Tampa’s fourth-rounder minus 1.56 for the seventh-round pick given up — for a total of 425.47 points. The full pick-by-pick breakdown of the selections’ value looks as follows:

  • Round 1: 23rd overall — 244.86 points
  • Round 3: 87th overall — 48.01 points
  • Round 3: 98th overall — 37.68 points
  • Round 3: 100th overall — 36.06 points
  • Round 4: 125th overall — 20.67 points
  • Round 4: 139th overall — 15.13 points
  • Round 5: 172nd overall — 7.26 points
  • Round 6: 195th overall — 4.35 points
  • Round 6: 204th overall — 3.56 points
  • Round 6: 212th overall — 2.98 points
  • Round 6: 213th overall — 2.91 points
  • Round 7: 230th overall — 2.00 points

As a result of the Gronkowski trade and the incoming value points, the Patriots have now leap-frogged the Indianapolis Colts for the 21st position heading into the draft when it comes to value. Even though this may not look like much, adding a fourth-round pick to the equation two days before the draft certainly is a good outcome from New England’s perspective considering the situation they found themselves in.

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