Beyond the projected top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft — Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III — and the exploding draft stock of Ryan Tannehill resides the next projected quarterback off the board, Brandon Weeden.
Despite concerns over his age that seem to have marginalized Weeden’s impressive college production, the Oklahoma State quarterback could be a hot commodity for passer-hungry teams late in the first round.
One team that could be very open to offers is the New England Patriots, who have executed 19 draft-day trades over the last five drafts. Shalize Manza Young covers the Patriots for the Boston Globe, and could see a scenario where the Patriots — who own two first-round selections — opt not to use one of those selections on a position of need.
“If Brandon Weeden is still on the board in the late (first) round, and there’s a team that wants to move up to get that quarterback, the Patriots would be more than willing to deal,” Young said on NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft.”
While the Patriots have two first-round picks (at No. 27 and 31), they don’t have a pick beyond the fourth round. Collecting picks has been something coach Bill Belichick and Co. have been known to do during the draft. Last year, the Patriots had two first-round selections, but moved the second one when the New Orleans Saints made a run at running back Mark Ingram.
This year, the Patriots could fill an area of need with one of those first-round selections, then accumulate more picks by trading the other selection. Pass rush is one clear area of need for New England, which could be looking at Marshall’s Vinny Curry, Boise State’s Shea McClellin or Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus late in the first round.