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Patriots Mull Moving Brady Backup

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Although Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett's trade value has dropped since the beginning of the offseason, the team would still be wise to move him for additional draft picks in the coming days. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.
Although Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett's trade value has dropped since the beginning of the offseason, the team would still be wise to move him for additional draft picks in the coming days. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

The Patriots enter Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft with one pick – No. 29. Last year they had two on the first day. By the end of day two, the Patriots had made four selections, and three of them made significant impact in their rookie seasons in 2012.

A total of seven selections were made this time last year by New England, which was the fewest number of picks since the 2008 draft. But this year, on paper, it’s looking a little bit too thin for Bill Belichick’s liking.

The Patriots have five draft picks – one each in the first, second and third rounds, and two in the seventh. As of now, no picks will be made by the Patriots in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds in one of the deepest mid-round talent pools in years.

At No. 29, suppose there isn’t much interest from the team in some of the available first-round players. The Patriots could always trade the pick and move down. But in reality, not many teams with mid to high second-round picks would be willing to move up a few spots and risk losing later-round selections.

That’s why the Patriots need Ryan Mallett. Well, that’s why they need Mallett right now.

A few weeks ago, reports surfaced circling around the notion of trading Mallett to a team desperate for some form of quarterback action. Mallett, a 2011 third-round draft selection by New England, was talked about as possibly being the Tom Brady after Tom Brady; the next quarterback of the Patriots when easily the franchise’s greatest player has hung up the cleats for good.

But, for whatever reason, Mallett is looking less and less like that future quarterback of the Patriots. He hasn’t played much, even when his team is up by multiple scores. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be of service to some team.

Let’s look at some of the teams in the NFL that entered this offseason with a quarterback controversy: the Raiders, Cardinals, Browns, Bills, Chiefs, Jaguars, and Jets all entered the 2013 offseason with some talk swirling of an  overhaul at the playcalling position.

The market then for Mallett was at an all-time high, despite the former Arkansas signal caller’s lack of NFL experience. But backing up, learning from Brady for two seasons has to count for something.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, Mallett’s trade value is dependent on these other teams’ needs. And in the span of about a month and 10 days, most of those teams listed either solved or patched their quarterback conundrum.

Oakland now has Matt Flynn, Arizona has Carson Palmer. Alex Smith was traded to the Chiefs from San Francisco. While the Patriots were content to sit back and let teams come to them for Mallett, these teams approached other options.

Potential Mallett suitors are low. It looks as though Cleveland, Tampa Bay and, least likely, Buffalo would have the highest odds as landing spots for Mallett now via trade. But since his value has slipped with limited teams’ interest and not much playing time, the Patriots likely wouldn’t get anything higher than a third-round pick and a late-round selection.

At the start of free agency, Mallett could have produced a second-round and maybe a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

But if the offer comes about for the Patriots to pull the trigger on a trade, they should do it. Brady will be under center for at least a few more years, and some middle-round draft picks could be just what the team needs to accrue player depth, either in the defensive backfield, offensive line or defensive line.

Although the draft is days away, the Patriots can certainly move Mallett for picks if they shop hard enough.