1. Would you rather flip the No. 33 pick for a first rounder next year or trade up for a top prospect (Robert Quinn, Von Miller etc.)?
Stephen: Even though Tom Brady is still playing at an extremely high level, his window of opportunity is closing. We’ve seen in the past that the Patriots haven’t always surrounded him with the best supporting cast (2005-2006), and I think that they left some wins on the table. They are already so close that adding two elite players with pick 17 and packaging 28 and 30 to move up would put this team at a championship level.
Rick: In an era where the labor uncertainty is larger than ever, I flip the pick for a first rounder next year. This is a bad time for the rookies to come out because they could get in fewer work with their respective teams. That means that Bill Belichick will have to cram the playbook into these kids’ heads and some of these rookies are expected to be impact players on this Patriots’ team. Robert Quinn and Von Miller I personally do not think that they should trade up for. Plus, you would have to probably deal the #28 pick along with the #33 pick. So, stockpile on 2012 picks because by then, the labor deal will hopefully be better.
Jason: I think teams are going to be very cautious about trading away future draft picks due to the labor uncertainty this year, so I’m not sure many teams would be willing to give up a first rounder next year for the #33 pick. You can probably throw your future draft pick value chart out the window this year. With that said, I’d love to see the Pats flip that pick for a future first next year when they will have the luxury of getting that player acclimated to the system during a normal offseason. There is a lot of risk in trading away two high picks for one player, so I’d rather see the Pats keep the powder dry and continue stockpiling picks for the future.
Derek: The 2011 draft seems pretty well stocked in the Patriots’ top positions of need. I think if they stand pat at #17 and #28, they will be able to acquire the talent they need to compete for a championship. Jason made a good point about this year’s picks having less future value due to the labor issues and lockout. However, the #33 pick is as close as you can get to a first-rounder without being in the first round, so there very well could be a team that will bite. Having two 1st round picks in back-to-back seasons would really set the Patriots up well for the future and is a pretty difficult option to pass up.