NEW YORK – The New England Patriots are trying to move up from the No. 23 spot in the first round of this weekend's NFL draft to the top 10 in hopes of taking LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, according to three league sources.
The trade is unlikely to happen until after the draft begins. The move is contingent on Jackson sliding past the No. 3 spot as the sources also believe the defender could be taken there by the Kansas City Chiefs.
"They [Kansas City and New England] see the same thing in Jackson," an NFC source said. "They see another Richard Seymour."
New England would offer at least one of its second-round picks in the deal, with the expectation of moving up to the Jacksonville Jaguars' spot at No. 8 or the Green Bay Packers' at No. 9. The belief is that the teams between Kansas City and Jacksonville won't take Jackson.
Aside from Jackson's talent, the Patriots may literally use him to replace Seymour after next season. Seymour and Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork are both set to be free agents after the 2009 season. Seymour will turn 30 this season, his ninth in the NFL. By contrast, Wilfork is just 27 and is entering his sixth season.
If it becomes a question of money, the Patriots would likely choose to re-sign Wilfork instead of Seymour.
"Wilfork is the man with that team now," an AFC source said. "You ask people who have been around that team and they say he grades out as the best defender on the team every week."