Why the Patriots forfeited their third-round pick in 2021 NFL Draft

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The Patriots have 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, but they could have had 11.

New England clearly won’t be hurting for draft picks this year, but the franchise did have to forfeit its third-round draft pick. Oddly enough, the Patriots still own a pick in the third round as a compensatory selection. The franchise was rewarded that after the loss of free agents Tom Brady, Jamie Collins, Ted Karras, Danny Shelton and Kyle Van Noy.

But New England’s assigned third-round pick was forfeited as punishment by the league for the franchise’s role in taping the Bengals’ sideline during their Week 14 game against the Browns in 2019. In addition to the lost draft pick, New England was also fined $1.1 million.

We’ll go into more detail regarding the lost draft pick below.

MORE: Follow all the Patriots 2021 draft picks here

Why did the Patriots forfeit their pick?

The Patriots won’t get their assigned NFL Draft pick in the third round after their television crew was caught filming the field and the Bengals’ sideline during a 2019 game against the Browns. The incident took place during Week 14 of the 2019 season, and the Patriots faced the Bengals in Week 15, leading to speculation that they were trying to gain an advantage for their matchup.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick denied any involvement in the scandal.

“I have no involvement in this and no knowledge of it. I really don’t have any idea what exactly is going on,” he said in 2019. “I can tell you that we’ve never, as a coaching staff, and I’ve personally never used any video footage at all of anything that those production people have done, other than what’s shown on public television or something like that.”

The team also released a statement explaining the situation.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer obtained the footage from the Patriots.

What happens when an NFL Draft pick gets forfeited?

Nothing really happens when an NFL Draft pick gets forfeited, as is the case with the Patriots in the 3rd round. The pick simply just does not exist. The Patriots would have drafted 77th overall, or the 13th pick in the third round. But that pick is just taken out of the equation, and all of the other picks simply move up. There is no skipped selection, the draft just moves up.

It’s also worth noting the Vikings have a forfeited pick in the seventh round. The Vikings’ pick was forfeited as punishment for a salary cap violation involving a 2019 practice squad player.

The Raiders (sixth round) and Saints (seventh round) were initially punished and forced to forfeit their draft picks, but those punishments did not show up in the league’s official draft order.

How many forfeited picks have the Patriots had?

This year isn’t the first time the Patriots have had to forfeit a draft pick. The most notable situation, of course, was the Spygate scandal from 2007. The Patriots were forced to forfeit their 1st-round draft pick in 2008 after illegally filming coaching signals from an unauthorized location against the Jets.

The Patriots were also punished for their role in Deflategate. New England lost two draft picks — a first-round pick in 2016 and a 4th-round pick in 2017.

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