It's pretty much agreed upon at this point: When the NFL draft begins this Thursday, the New England Patriots should focus on defense. Then, with their next pick, they should think about defense. And then, when the third pick rolls around, just to change things up, they should consider their defense.
After all, when your offense was third in the league last year and might be the best in football at this moment, and your defense was second-to-last, it becomes pretty clear where the upgrades should occur.
With that in mind, the focus shifts to the players who can step right in and help this football team. Who are the difference-makers? Who are the players who can give this team the lift it needs at important positions?
Here are some players who the Patriots should have an eye on when the draft begins to unfold and the board starts to fill.
(Note: All references to draft stock or mentions of draft position, unless otherwise noted, are according to Matt Miller's latest mock draft.)