New England Patriots 2012 Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions

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New England Patriots 2012 Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Despite a handful of plays preventing the New England Patriots from securing a fourth Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis earlier this month, the roster is entering a period of flux.

Last season, Bill Belichick made a host of personnel moves that leave the team looking for long-term solutions at various key positions.

The Patriots' draft approach will, as ever, be shaped by their activity in free agency, which begins March 13, but as things stand now, very few positions are off limits when analyzing the team's needs.

After conceding the second-most passing yards in regular season history in 2011, most observers would agree that the secondary should be a major focus this offseason. Beyond that, a consensus on other upgrades is hard to come by.

Should the team focus on drafting an impact pass-rusher?

Is a receiver that can stretch the field a top priority?

What about the defensive line?

What's more certain, is that Belichick will move around the draft board, manipulating picks and dealing up or down where value presents itself. With no selections beyond the fourth round, expect to see plenty of activity on draft weekend.

It's hard enough to select the correct player in the slots provided, so for this mock draft, I'll leave trade scenarios out of the picture, and give you a run-down of the players that should pop up on New England's radar over the coming weeks.


Follow Nick on Twitter @nickbutterworth

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