The Pats have a ton of options with their top pick.
It is tough to get into the minds of Bill Belichick and his staff when it comes to the NFL draft. The New England Patriots could go in so many directions in Round 1 of this year's draft, which leaves the door open for a number of possibilities.
There are so many players who could fall into the Pats' hands with that selection. Of course, when dealing with New England there is always the chance of making a trade either up the draft board or out of the first round altogether.
The team has some major needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball and at the wide receiver position. So they could pull the trigger on a player that would fill a need or even simply take the best available player on the board.
Here are seven potential players that the Patriots could take at No. 29 overall as well as the odds on how likely it is that the Patriots will select them.
The smartest choice for the Patriots is to take cornerback Desmond Trufant with their first-round draft pick. The Pats need to strengthen their pass defense, and Trufant would do just that.
Trufant has the skills to become one of the next great cornerbacks in the NFL, and he can match the speed and quickness of even the fastest wide receivers in the game.
At the Combine, Trufant posted an impressive time of 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash. With such speed, he could certainly help with limiting opponents' deep passes.
Dee Milliner has established himself as the top cornerback in this year's draft class and could potentially be taken with one of the first few selections. Some may consider Xavier Rhodes as the next best at the position, but Trufant is certainly in the discussion.
Trufant has the athleticism to go along with blazing speed, making him a great option for any team. It is possible, however, that another team snatches the speedy corner before New England has a chance to. If he is available at No. 29, though, it would seem like an easy decision for the Pats to make.
Hunter has incredible size that makes him a deadly red zone target.
Justin Hunter has the tools to be a very dangerous receiver in the NFL. He has size and speed that simply cannot be ignored by the Patriots and the rest of the league.
Hunter stands at 6'4" and is one of the biggest receivers in the entire 2013 draft class. The former Tennessee Volunteer also has a tremendous vertical leaping ability after jumping 39.5" at the Combine.
He is exactly what the Patriots could use since they are still thin at the position. His length, long strides and ability to jump over defenders will make him an excellent deep-threat option for Tom Brady.
The wideout is considered to be a second-round selection by CBS Sports, but he would definitely be a great pickup at No. 29 for the Pats. An ACL injury in 2011 could possibly cause him to fall right into their hands late in Round 1.
The Patriots could seriously use a big deep threat and Hunter is the best option. He will likely still be available for the Pats to claim with their late first-round pick.
There is a ton of talent along the defensive line in this year's draft, and the Patriots could take full advantage of that. Cornellius "Tank" Carradine would give the Pats a fantastic defensive front with Chandler Jones and Vince Wilfork.
Carradine likely would have been selected early in Round 1 if not for an ACL tear that occurred in late November. He played very well when he was on the field this past season, gathering 11 sacks and 13 tackles for loss before the injury.
According to Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald, the Patriots have scheduled a visit with Carradine. The injury limited his pre-draft workouts, which would partially explain why they want to take a further look.
The ACL injury will likely cause Carradine to slip in the draft as he continues to recover. This means that he will most likely be available when the Patriots are on the clock in Round 1.
The Patriots could use a playmaker on defense and somebody who can force timely turnovers. Jamar Taylor would make those game-changing plays for the Pats in the secondary if they drafted him.
Taylor is one of the best cover corners in the draft. He is a terrific defender with the toughness and athleticism to become a true factor on defense.
He was excellent with the Boise State Broncos in 2012, forcing three fumbles and hauling in four interceptions. Taylor is also not afraid to get physical in coverage and throw a receiver off his route.
If Trufant is off the board then Taylor will likely be the next best option at cornerback. Chances are that he will be taken right around where the Pats' top pick is.
The most talent in this year's draft comes along the defensive line, and Kawann Short is a first-round talent with the size needed to compete at the professional level.
He has good upper body strength and does not have too much trouble breaking through an offensive line. Short is very good at stopping the run and attacking the ball carrier in the backfield.
Since Short is a versatile player who could be utilized in many different ways, he would fit in nicely with the Patriots defense. He can be used at any position along the defensive line and can even drop into coverage when needed.
It would be surprising if Short is not taken in Round 1, as he could very easily be chosen midway through the round. He might be off the board already at No. 29, but if he is available, New England should take a long, hard look at Short.
Choosing a top-tier SEC defender is often a smart move in the draft, and taking Eric Reid of the LSU Tigers would be a wise choice. Reid could very well be an impact player in the NFL.
He is a very aggressive player who can lay devastating hits on opponents. Reid is a very athletic, all-around defender who draws comparisons to Mark Barron, according to NFL.com.
As a member of one of the nation's top defenses, Reid was a big contributor, recording 91 total tackles as a senior. His physical presence and athletic ability would help the Patriots defense.
It is unclear whether the Pats will want to address the safety position in the draft now that they have Adrian Wilson. Reid will likely be available late in Round 1, but New England might not need to take a safety so high with Wilson and Devin McCourty already on hand.
The Patriots need to add a wide receiver in the draft, whether it is in Round 1 or not. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the top wideout options available in this draft class.
He doesn't have outstanding speed or strength, but he does run good routes and has a reliable set of hands. What stands out about Hopkins is his ability to get separation from defenders and consistently catch whatever is thrown in his direction.
He was fantastic in 2012 with the Clemson Tigers, leading the ACC in receiving yards with 1,405. Hopkins also scored a school-record 18 receiving touchdowns this past season.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, he will probably be taken before the No. 29 overall selection. If Hopkins does somehow slide, though, then the Pats would come away with a pretty big steal if they selected him.