April 27, 2011
The usually boisterous crowd at Radio City Music Hall sat in stunned silence as commissioner Goodell announced 11 picks in a row. The 11 first rounders shook Goodell's hand and held up identical Patriots jerseys. The Patriots have become known for their strategy of trading away picks and players for future draft picks. This strategy has paid off as they hold every pick of this year's first round. “This year I figured we might start using some of these picks,” said coach Bill Belichick, “We thought we should improve on the defensive side of the ball, so with the first 11 picks we got a new defense.”
The fans perked up when it was announced that the New York Jets traded their first round picks from 2012 and 2013 to get this year's 12th overall pick. “We got the right guy,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said, “this tight-end has great feet.”
As the night wore on, the Patriots roster ballooned beyond the 80-man limit, making any further draft selections useless. “We couldn't even trade the picks for players since our roster was already full,” said coach Belichick. So the Patriots got a little creative. They sent the 26th pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 12% ownership stake in the franchise.
The Carolina Panthers, this year's worst team, held the first pick of the 2nd round. The Panthers have been linked with Heisman trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton who might have been the first overall pick if the Panthers had held onto that selection. “The Patriots already have five quarterbacks,” Panthers GM Jerry Richardson said, “so we hoped Newton would fall to us.” The Patriots selected Newton with the 32nd pick. Within hours, Newton was sent to Carolina in a trade that sent the Panthers first round pick from the next three years to the Patriots.
“All in all it was an okay night,” said coach Belichick, “we got pretty lucky that a lot of guys fell to us.”