Mission accomplished. To this point.
The New England Patriots had a successful first round of the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday night, snagging a top talent at a top position of need while acquiring additional draft capital in the process. New England dealt its No. 14 overall pick to the Steelers for Pittsburgh's No. 17 pick and its fourth-rounder (No. 120), then took Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez -- projected by many as a top-10 pick -- at 17.
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The Gonzalez pick drew high praise from around the league, and it appears the Patriots are pleased with their selection as well. Our Phil Perry reports the Patriots are "fired up" behind the scenes after Day 1 and are particularly enthused about picking up an extra fourth-round pick -- an addition viewed as "huge."
New England now has four picks in the fourth round alone (Nos. 107, 117, 120 and 135), giving Bill Belichick and his staff the resources to potentially move up the draft board with another trade. While the Patriots have one pick each in Rounds 2 and 3 -- No. 46 and No. 76 -- they easily could package some of their 11 remaining selections to add a third Day 2 pick if there's a player they covet.
In fact, they're already exploring that possibility entering Friday night, according to NFL reporter Mike Giardi.
The best news for the Patirots? They picked up that extra resource while still adding an impact talent who some believed they'd have to trade up in Round 1 to acquire. Perry had Gonzalez going to the Houston Texans at No. 12 in his final mock draft, while several other mocks had the Oregon star off the board in the top 10.
It's much too early to declare this pick a success, as we have no idea how Gonzalez will pan out in New England. But at the very least, it sounds like everything went according to plan -- or even better than expected -- for the Patriots in Round 1.