||April 29. 2007 12:00AM
Moss trade talk rampant
FOXBORO The annual draft had the undivided attention of NFL fans everywhere yesterday, but it was talk of a trade that piqued the interest of fans locally.
The rumors began in the morning with NFL.com reporting the Oakland Raiders had dialed up the Patriots to gage their interest in acquiring perpetually misunderstood receiver Randy Moss. While Moss remained a Raider as of late last night, that doesnt mean he wont become a Patriot today.
Coach Bill Belichick didnt really say much when asked about the rumors no surprise there but the fact he said anything indicates theres something to the gossip.
First of all, I think there are a lot of things that get talked about at this time of year, a lot of things get thrown around, Belichick said to the media after emerging briefly from his draft bunker at Gillette Stadium.
I dont really have any comment on it, and I certainly wouldnt comment on a player on another team in this league. That I definitely wouldnt do.
The holdup appears to be the cost of doing business.
The Patriots are thought to be willing to part with one of their four sixth-round selections. The Raiders are eager to part with Moss, his bad attitude and the $9.75 million hes due this season, but arent ready to give him away. They are apparently looking for something in the fourth or fifth round or, perhaps, some sort of contingency pick based on Moss future production.
The Raiders also chatted with the Packers, but didnt make anyway headway with them, either.
Moss isnt the receiver he was a few years ago, that being the best in football. He played in 13 games last season, catching 42 passes for 553 yards and three touchdowns. Those were all career lows.
He averaged 13.2 yards a catch, which was a full 2.6 below his career average. Moss only had one reception that went for more than 40 yards, pulling in the deep ball having always been his forte.
Still, acquiring Moss would give the Patriots quite the receiving corps. He would join a group that includes newcomers Donte Stallworth, Kelley Washington and Wes Welker and holdovers Reche Caldwell and (oft-injured) Chad Jackson.
Talk of Moss coming to New England first surfaced around the start of last season. Belichick was asked at the time if Moss could play for him, to which he replied, Why not?
Dealing to Niners
The Patriots started the day as the only team with two first-round picks and a reputation for wheeling and dealing, particularly when it comes to moving down in search of better value.
So it was of little surprise they made a deal.
The Patriots sent the 28th overall selection to San Francisco in exchange for a fourth-round pick today (110th overall) and the 49ers first-round pick next year. San Francisco selected tackle Joe Staley of Central Michigan with the choice.
There were a number of good players on the board, but in the end we just felt there was more value in that trade, said Belichick, indicting he received numerous offers from teams looking to move into that spot.
It was the 24th draft-day deal since Belichick and player personnel guru Scott Pioli took over in 2000. They made No. 25 later, dealing their third round pick to the Raiders for Oaklands seventh-round pick this year and third-round pick next year.
While the 49ers showed marked improvement last season and some believe they can contend for the NFC West title this year, they have drafted in the top third of the first round each of the last four years. This has the makings of a high-to-middle pick in a draft that is expected to be especially strong.
Nine more picks
The draft resumes at 11 this morning with the Patriots slated to make nine selections in Rounds 4-7. You can watch it on ESPN and/or the NFL Network until its scheduled conclusion seven hours later.
Barring a trade, their first pick is the 11th (110th overall) in the fourth round that came via San Francisco.
With teams being allotted five minutes per pick on Day 2, the Patriots should find themselves on the clock for the first time at approximately 11:55 a.m.
They also have their own fourth-rounder, which should be made sometime around 1:20 p.m. one in the fifth round, four in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Hurricane streak continues
The Patriots had never held the 24th overall pick before yesterday. When they selected safety Brandon Meriweather, it became the 13th straight year a University of Miami player went in the first round.
No. 24 has been a pretty productive slot the last few years with safety Ed Reed going to Baltimore in 2002, tight end Dallas Clark to Indianapolis in 03 and running back Steven Jackson to St. Louis in 04.
The verdict is out on Green Bays selection of quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 05 and Cincinnatis taking cornerback Johnathan Joseph last April.
It took 6 hours, 8 minutes to complete the first round, shattering the previous record of 5:48 in 2002.
JaMarcus Russell of LSU became the sixth quarterback out of the vaunted Southeastern Conference to be selected No. 1 overall and the first since Eli Manning of Mississippi went to the Giants in 2004.
Quarterbacks have now been chosen first overall in eight of the last 10 drafts.
At 19, Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye is the youngest player drafted in the last 40 years.
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