The New England Patriots only made four picks over the course of the three-day 2017 NFL Draft, but their draft haul is arguably one of the best in the NFL when you consider what they got for the picks they traded away.
Here's a look at the Patriots' draft haul when you add in the players they traded for before the draft even began:
— Patriots Extra (@PatriotsExtra) April 30, 2017
The Patriots traded away their first-rounder — No. 32 overall — to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandon Cooks. Cooks is a young (23), talented wide receiver (78 catches, 1,173 yards, 8 TDs last year) who can't complain too much about his NFL career so far, getting to catch passes from Drew Brees and now Tom Brady.
The Patriots picked up Cooks' 5th-year option, so they have him on contract for the next two seasons.
In the second round, the Patriots traded their No. 64 pick to the Carolina Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy and the No. 72 pick, the 8th pick in the third round. They used that selection on FCS stud Derek Rivers from Youngstown State.
In effect, they used their single second-round selection to grab a pair of potential impact defensive ends to shore up their defensive front seven.
Other draft pick moves included trading a fourth-round pick for tight end Dwayne Allen and a fifth round pick for tight end James O'Shaughnessy. The Patriots saw Martellus Bennett head to Green Bay in free agency, so they are looking for the next in a long line of tight ends to pair with Rob Gronkowski.
Finally, the Patriots parted with a fifth-round draft pick when they signed restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislee off of the Buffalo Bills roster.
The chances of late-round picks becoming starters or even rotation players in the NFL is often low, and New England found options in the late rounds with players who actually have experience.
New England will only have Tom Brady at a high level for a few more years, if that long (probably…I mean, who knows at this point?). Clearly the organization prioritized adding pieces who can contribute immediately.
Time will tell if the move paid off, but for now, it looks like the Patriots have reloaded and will look to defend their Super Bowl title with some new talent on the roster.