The 2011 conditional draft choice that the Patriots received in the September trade of TE David Thomas to New Orleans has been upgraded from a seventh-round pick to a sixth-rounder, ESPN.com reports.
The deal contains provisions that the draft choice would be upgraded if Thomas met certain performance incentives. He had his most productive NFL season in 2009, catching 35 passes for 356 yards in 15 games, including eight starts as the Saints had a Super Bowl-winning season.
"David came to our team last season and proved invaluable, both as a receiver from the tight end spot and also with his versatility and ability to fill in at fullback when we needed him to do that," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said April 13 when Thomas signed his restricted free-agent tender.
The Patriots, who have a history of accumulating picks so that they can wheel and deal during the draft, now have 11 selections in next April's draft. They have two picks each in the first and second rounds, the extra first-rounder coming from Oakland in the Richard Seymour trade and an additional second-rounder from Carolina in the April 23 deal in which the Patriots gave up a third-round pick that the Panthers used to select WR Armanti Edwards.
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