Moving men again as 28th pick is shipped
FOXBOROUGH — Plenty of teams expressed interest last night in one of the two first-round picks the Patriots owned, but only one team had the right combination to make a trade.
The Patriots dealt the 28th overall pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a second-round pick (56th overall) this year and a first-round pick in 2012. The Patriots now have five picks (33d, 56th, 60th, 74th, and 92d) in the second and third rounds tonight.
“We thought it was good value for the pick and we feel like there are good players on the board that will give us good value with the picks that we have [tonight],’’ coach Bill Belichick said. “We certainly gave up something in moving back, but we felt like what we got in return for that was beneficial to the organization and the team.’’
The Patriots were involved in several trade rumors on the first night of the draft, but they stayed put at No. 17 and selected offensive tackle Nate Solder from Colorado.
When it came time for the 28th pick, the Patriots made a draft-day trade for the eighth consecutive season.
The Saints selected running back Mark Ingram at No. 28.
The Patriots had great success in the second round of the last two drafts, taking Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, and Brandon Spikes last year, and Patrick Chung, Ron Brace, Darius Butler, and Sebastian Vollmer in 2009.
“I still think there are plenty of quality players out there,’’ Belichick said.
Open for business With the NFL announcing yesterday that it will comply with US District Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s order to lift the lockout, the league will open for business — somewhat — at 8 a.m. today.
According to a league e-mail, clubs will allow players to use team facilities for physical exams, rehabilitation, and medical treatment; hand out playbooks, game film, and other materials; permit meetings with coaches for the sake of discussing playbooks and other materials, as well as organized team activities; and begin offseason workout programs.
According to a league source, as of last night the Patriots had yet to contact players about a schedule to begin workouts. The Lions made plans on Wednesday to start offseason workouts, and other teams reportedly had notified players as well.
While teams are letting players back into facilities, there are no rules in place for free agency, signing players who go undrafted this weekend, or when players can be released by clubs. It is assumed that when those rules are put in place, the NFL will operate under the same rules it did in 2010, but that also is unknown.
Snap judgment Four of the top 12 picks were quarterbacks. In addition to Tom Brady, the Patriots have Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton on the roster. Hoyer, who was signed as a rookie free agent out of Michigan State, will be entering his third season with the Patriots. Crompton spent part of his rookie season on the practice squad.
“We have a lot of confidence in our quarterbacks on roster with Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton,’’ Belichick said. “Neither one of them have gotten a lot of chance to play the last couple of years. We feel like they’re both developing well. So maybe it’s them, but there’s always a possibility of competition at that position. Whoever we go to training camp with, we’ll do our best to coach them and give them an opportunity to play and let them develop into that role and if the opportunity presents itself like it did for Tom in 2001 or Matt [Cassel] in 2008, hopefully those players will be prepared to lead our team to victory like those players did.’’
Leverage with Light? Left tackle Matt Light said last night at Vince Wilfork’s charity event in Milford that he has never paid much attention to the draft.
Maybe he would have been interested in doing so had he known the Patriots were going to take a potential successor at his position with the 17th pick.
In picking Solder, the Patriots have possible leverage in negotiations with Light, an unrestricted free agent.
“You’d like to think everything will work out,’’ Light said before the Patriots selected Solder. “But nobody has a crystal ball.’’
“I’m not a draft expert, I didn’t see that pick coming,’’ said Vollmer, who started at right tackle last season. “But I’ve seen a little bit of him, he looks good.’’
Herzlich on hand Before the draft, the 25 draft prospects at Radio City Music Hall were introduced to the crowd and among them was Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Typically, only players expected to be taken in the first round are invited, but Herzlich’s inspirational story as a cancer survivor likely led to his invitation.
However, based on scouts’ opinions at the Senior Bowl, Herzlich may have a long wait before hearing his name called in the draft.