Price: Bill Belichick’s decision to punt on much of this draft is a serious gamble

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Adam Richins/Boston Sports Journal

FOXBOROUGH — In the end, the Patriots’ 2018 draft wasn’t about need. It was about 2019. And beyond.

Bill Belichick went into this week with an unprecedented amount of draft capital. He’d never had two firsts and two seconds in his coaching career. But after three days of team building, the biggest takeaway for New England? If you don’t like the look of the groceries, there’s no sense in even thinking about cooking the dinner.

Nine picks, eight trades. No team made more moves over the three days than the Patriots. It set a record for most draft weekend trades in franchise history, which is a landmark, even for a Belichick-coached team. By the end of the draft, their value trade chart was shredded.

“Had to bring a sheet this time to keep (the trades) straight,” said Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio with a smile as he approached the podium at the end of the day on Saturday.

“No sense in going through the trade recap — hopefully everybody wrote it down in pencil as you were going through the day.”

To be fair, it was more than just trades for the Patriots this weekend. They did find some players. Looking at the depth chart, it’s reasonable to see Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel and Duke Dawson getting significant snaps at some point in 2018. There could be a really interesting positional battle at left tackle and slot corner. And there were some really intriguing developmental prospects who were scooped up on Day 3, including wide receiver Braxton Berrios, who looks a lot like an economy-sized version of Julian Edelman.

But when it came to the 2018 draft for the Patriots, there was no elite-level, off-the-ball linebacker. There was no franchise left tackle. And maybe most importantly (with apologies to seventh-round pick Danny Etling), they didn’t settle on an heir to Tom Brady at quarterback. (Feel free to take the next few moments to Google “2019 QB draft class.”)