Possessing two first-round draft picks (No. 27 and No. 31 overall), the New England Patriots could leave Radio City Music Hall Center with some stellar additions this April.
After the recent acquisitions of Brandon Lloyd, Anthony Gonzales, Donte Stallworth and Daniel Fells in the free-agent frenzy, the Patriots have taken care of most of their offensive needs.
So expect New England to spend the draft beefing up its D.
Here is a ranking of New England's four best defensive first-round options.
Janoris Jenkins would certainly be a risk for New England.
The corner has been known to throw punches and was ultimately kicked out of Florida after racking up several drug-related charges.
He also has four kids, which some may see as a potential distraction, and at 5'10", 193 pounds, he is not the ideal size at corner.
But his athleticism cannot be overlooked.
He's speedy and shifty and can turn in time to defend the pass.
In his three years at Florida, he proved to be a durable player, starting 38 games and racking up eight picks.
At the end of the day, Jenkins would be a worthwhile risk for Bill Belichick.
Devon Still is one of the top defensive tackle prospects in this year's draft.
The Big Ten defensive player of the year wrapped up his senior season at Penn State with 17 tackles for a loss, the most on the team.
He also tied for the second-most sacks among the Nittany Lions, with 4.5.
The 6'5", 300-pound tackle surprisingly brings some speed to the table. He clocked 4.95 seconds in his most recent 40-yard dash, impressive for a guy of his stature.
The Patriots would benefit having a large and somewhat quick DT like Still. His strength at Penn State was stopping the run, but he is also able to bring pressure.
Still's key quality contribution is his determination and resilience.
No. 71 had to redshirt his freshman year after tearing his ACL and MCL in preseason practice.
Worse, he received another thrashing blow the following year, breaking his left ankle in preseason camp.
Still refused to miss out on another whole season and ground his way through rehab, earning the right to play 10 snaps in Penn State's final game of that year.
Still showcases his fierce attitude, discussing his injuries:
When I got injured my first two years at Penn State, a lot of people said I wouldn't be the same player as I was when I showed up on campus. I think that drove me just to prove everybody wrong. To this day, I don't think I'm where I need to be right now. I want to make my mark in the NFL, just as I did at Penn State, and become one of the best.
Sounds like a Patriot to me.
Whitney Mercilus is a top prospect for the Pats at defensive end.
The Illinois graduate can bring the heat on opposing quarterbacks, a trait desperately needed in New England.
Further, the BostonHerald.com believes Mercilus would fit beautifully at OLB in Bill Belichick's 3-4—should the Pats continue to keep that defensive scheme in 2012.
The defensive end had an unreal season last year, racking up 16 sacks and nine forced fumbles.
But the concern with Mercilus is that this was his only full college season with starting experience. And those impressive numbers are glaringly different from his production in prior seasons.
Still, he looks like a solid bet for New England in this year's draft.
After the Patriots' secondary was hacked apart in 2011, it's a surprise that Belichick has done little to address this Achilles' heel through free agency.
Stephon Gilmore would be a solid choice for New England at cornerback.
The South Carolina corner improved his hands throughout his college career, snagging three picks last season.
Gilmore is quick, running the 40 in 4.40 seconds.
He is also a suitable size and can fend off blocks in run schemes.
Gilmore would be a good choice for the Pats if they're looking to shore up their leaky secondary in the draft.
Kendall Reyes is looking like New England's best bet in the 2012 draft.
The 6'4", 299-pound Connecticut defensive tackle has proven himself, playing in 37 games, which includes 29 career starts.
He's quick off the snap and would bring good pass-rushing ability to New England.
Reyes is also primed to play in Belichick's amoeba-like defense. He is athletic enough for the 3-4 and he's versatile, with solid college experience.
Speaking on his flexibility, Reyes explained:
We played the 4-3 and the 3-4, so I played a lot of positions in college. We would do a lot of run things out of the 4-3 and then on third down, we’d blitz out of the 3-4 package. I was kinda all over the field. I’ve played a lot of positions on the defensive line. You gotta be able to be versatile at the next level.
The cherry on top? Reyes grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire, and likely cheers for New England—even though he's mum on the subject. Which, after all, is the Patriot way.