BOSTON (CBS) — The 2020 NFL Draft is extremely different than any other draft, as it’s being done completely virtually with teams working from home. Or in Bill Belichick’s case, his fancy digs on Nantucket.
But that didn’t stop the Patriots machine from working like everything was business as usual Thursday night. In typical Belichickian fashion, the team traded out of the first round to land two picks on Friday night. The Patriots swapped the No. 23 overall pick with the Los Angeles Chargers, receiving a second- and third-round pick in return.
While there were concerns about possible hiccups in the process leading up to the draft, the Patriots provided an inside glimpse of Thursday night’s trade coming to fruition. As you can see, there were no such hiccups as Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio hashed out the deal with Los Angeles and then informed the league:
Last night’s trade?
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 24, 2020
Looked fairly standard. And with all that table space, imagine what else Belichick can get done with 13 picks over the next two days.
Caserio spoke with reporters on a conference call after the first round concluded, and said process didn’t feel too much different than previous drafts.
“I’d say it actually went very similar to how it goes in the draft room. We were able to connect to the league. Essentially what you have to do is just make sure both sides of the trade are coordinated,” he explained. “You go through the league office, which you normally do anyways in the draft room. ‘We’re trading with the Chargers; here are the terms.’ They confirm it on the other side. From that perspective, it went pretty smoothly.”
Caserio said there are safety nets in place — just in case.
“Look, the power could go out tomorrow and we could be doing faxes,” he said. “I would say today was pretty smooth.”
No teams made any trades until the 13th selection, and Caserio said that swap between the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — which saw Tampa trading up to draft a new tackle for Tom Brady — eased any concerns about making deals.
“I think once people probably saw the trades, there wasn’t any issues, they were more inclined to do it. For the most part I’d say it was pretty smooth,” he said. “The league has done a great job in terms of handling that. Our IT department has done a great job here over the last few weeks just making sure it’s as seamless as possible given the circumstances.”
And though Bill Belichick may be doing his draft work virtually on an island, Caserio said he’s the same ole Bill.
“I’d say a virtual Bill is similar to draft-room Bill,” he joked. “Our group has worked together for a number of years. Everybody has an understanding of their responsibilities. We all have worked together well with each other for a number of years now. A lot of credit goes to the preparation and the people and work that’s put in.”
The Patriots currently have five selections on Friday night — one second-round pick and four third-round picks — but Caserio hinted that more moves could be coming.