FOXBORO -- In trading a 2010 third-round draft choice (89th overall) to the Carolina Panthers for a 2011 second-round draft choice, the Patriots push one chip into next season.
This is something the Patriots generally like to do if they can find a trade partner -- improving their position the following year by one round. They now have two selections in the 2011 first round and two selections in the 2011 second round, putting them in a powerful position.
To start analyzing this trade, it helps to trace the origin of the draft choice that the Patriots traded.
The Patriots were on the clock with a second-round draft pick tonight (47th overall) when they struck a deal with the Arizona Cardinals. That deal sent the 47th pick to Arizona in exchange for a second-round pick (58th overall) and a third-round pick (89th overall).
Later, the Patriots traded that third-round pick to Carolina for the second-rounder next year.
So in summary, the Patriots moved down 11 spots in this year's draft and picked up a third-round pick for doing so. They then turned that third-rounder into a 2011 second-rounder.
In my opinion, that is good business.
In making the initial trade with Arizona, these are the players that were drafted in the picks that the Patriots slid down the board: OLB Darryl Washington (Arizona), QB Jimmy Clausen (Carolina), S Taylor Mays (San Francisco), CB Javier Arenas (Kansas City), RB Toby Gerhart (Minnesota), DE/OLB Jason Worilds (Pittsburgh), DE/OLB Carlos Dunlap (Cincinnati), ILB Sean Lee (Dallas), DT Michael Neal (Green Bay), DT Terrence Cody (Baltimore), RB Ben Tate (Houston), RB Montario Hardesty (Cleveland), WR Golden Tate (Seattle), OL Vladimir Ducasse (N.Y. Jets).
Of that group, the players that I think might have been of interest to the Patriots are Worilds, Hardesty and Tate. It's important to note that the Patriots had one of their other draft picks within that run of players -- Jermaine Cunningham, at No. 53 overall.
Ultimately, the analysis on this trade will be dictated by how those players fare, and what the Patriots do with the 2011 second-rounder.
At this time, however, my feeling is that it is a good deal for New England.