NFL Draft 2017: Patriots are biggest draft winners before even making a pick

The Patriots were the biggest winners of the first round of the NFL Draft, and they didn’t even have a pick.

That’s the kind of offseason they’ve had. Last month, they were offered up as the offseason Super Bowl champ. Not that teams can really claim that title in the first round of the draft, but nobody knocked the crown off the Patriots’ head Thursday night.
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The reason, of course, is because their first-round pick, essentially, was Brandin Cooks, the wide receiver they got from the Saints for the price of the 32nd overall choice, the final one on Day 1.

Even with the talent still on the board as Day 2 begins Friday — the likes of Dalvin Cook, Cam Robinson, Chidobie Awuzie and a wave of red-flag guys (including, of course, Cook) — the chances are pretty good that the Patriots came away with a better player in Cooks.
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For what it’s worth, the Saints took tackle Ryan Ramczyk, the kind of player Bill Belichick would take, except he’d manage to get him in a later round and make him feel grateful for it.

Meanwhile, the Patriots do not have a second-round pick. They traded it to the Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy, another relative theft and another example of what their offseason has been like. They do have an extra third-round pick because of that same trade. And they don’t have the compensatory third-round pick they got from the Browns in last year’s Jamie Collins trade because they sent it to the Saints as part of the Cooks package.