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Patriots eyeing spot in top 10 and Five (more) Things I Think I Think

I think the financial parameters of a deal will be done in principle by late this afternoon, though it may not be signed for a while because of its complexity. But you can take it to the bank: Stafford's going to be a Detroit Lion.


Busy morning. The Patriots are trying to move up into the top 10 of the draft -- but low in the top 10. Executives from two teams tell me New England offered its first-round pick and middle of three second-round picks (the 23rd and 47th picks overall) to Jacksonville for the eighth pick in the draft. Jacksonville GM Gene Smith, I'm told, said no ... but I also hear the Patriots might be looking to Green Bay at nine to move as well.

Who might be the object of their affection? I'm told it may be a surprise, because smart money would say the target is LSU's Tyson Jackson, the best 3-4 defensive end in the draft and the only end versatile enough to play every spot on the defensive line. But I'm not sure it's Jackson. I think it might be an offensive player. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I truly don't know.

The Patriots are Fort Knox on draft weekend -- and, for that matter, on every weekend. Remember last year? New England traded down from seven to 10 in the first round and got the object of its affection, Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo, and no one ever knew Mayo was their man (well, except that draft oracle Donnie Brasco).

It makes infinite sense that New England would want the eighth or ninth pick, because the line of demarcation between sanity and insanity in the top 10 is right there. Check out the money that each of the players between six and 10 in last year's draft would earn with minimum play-time incentives in their five-year contracts:

6. Vernon Gholston, Jets $32.5 million7. Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans $32 million8. Derrick Harvey, Jacksonville $23 million9. Keith Rivers, Cincinnati $19 million10. Jerod Mayo, New England $16 million

Now for my Five Things I Think I Think on Draft Eve:

1. I think the one misleading thing about the draft, as we sit here 30 hours from its start, is that there's not a lot of trade action near the top. Near the very top, no. I had one GM in the top half of the draft tell me there's a flurry of activity between eight and 13, and it will get a lot busier if Mark Sanchez, the USC quarterback, is sitting there at No. 8, when the Jaguars pick. If that happens, I expect Jags GM Gene Smith to be the power broker of the draft, turning the eighth pick into three picks in the first three rounds of the next two drafts.

2. I think the Chiefs pick is coming down to Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry or LSU's Tyson Jackson.

3. I think the Raiders are seriously considering Darrius Heyward-Bey or Jeremy Maclin at seven, which makes sense because they're the fastest high-profile players in the draft. I hear Raider coach Tom Cable was on the phone with Maclin last night.

4. I think, traveling across the state of Missouri by car Thursday afternoon and listening to Sirius XM NFL Radio, I was stunned to hear the negative fan reaction to the Tony Gonzalez trade for a 2010 second-round pick.

The Chiefs, last year, couldn't get anything better than a third-rounder (and a late-third-rounder, obviously, if it would have been coming from the Eagles) in an offer for Gonzalez. And now they get a two, albeit in 2010. Sounds likes a good deal to me for a player in his 13th year, at age 33.

Yet the reaction to Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan on their afternoon show was fairly venomous. Fans will be fans, but come on. This team won six games the past two years. Time to think of 2010.

5. I think if you read nothing else from me until after the draft (and I'll be back here Saturday morning with a few short thoughts), please, please, please remember not to get too fired up and think you've won anything in April. I remind you of the following top-15 picks in the last six years: Charles Rogers, Dewayne Robertson, Johnathan Sullivan, Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Haynes, Jerome McDougle, Robert Gallery, Reggie Williams, Alex Smith, Cedric Benson, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Michael Huff, Jamaal Anderson. In other words, simmer down.