By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bill Belichick made a whopping eight trades at the 2018 NFL Draft. But apparently, he almost made a ninth.
The Patriots attempted to trade up in the third round of the draft with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin the Bengals Beat podcast. Tobin revealed that Bill Belichick gave him a call about potentially making a move, but talks couldn't advance.
Cincinnati drafted linebacker Malik Jefferson out of Texas with their third-round pick, 78th overall. It's unknown whether Jefferson was also Belichick's guy, but his NFL.com Draft Profile does describe him as a versatile middle linebacker who has the ability to swing out to the "Will" linebacker spot in a 4-3 defense. Jefferson also popped up in multiple mock drafts as the Patriots' pick.
Ultimately trading their own third-rounder (95th overall) to the San Francisco 49ers for tackle Trent Brown and the 143rd pick, which they used to draft linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley, the Patriots ended up making no selections in the third or fourth rounds.
If the Pats were determined to take an offensive lineman in the third, perhaps they had their sights set on Mississippi State tackle Martinas Rankin (80th overall to the Texans) or Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (83rd overall to the Ravens. Three other tackles went between the 83rd and 95th picks: TCU's Joseph Noteboom (89th to the Rams), Western Michigan's Chukwuma Okorafor (92nd to the Steelers), and Humboldt State's Alex Cappa (94th to the Buccaneers).
Regardless of whomever the Patriots wanted to take with that 78th pick, clearly they didn't like any other particular players between then and the 143rd pick. And if they wanted a tackle, they certainly wanted potential starting LT Brown over those prospects. It'll be a few years before we really know how the flurry of draft trades they did make actually worked out.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].
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