Steven Senne/Associated Press
After an AFC Championship Game in which the Patriots didn't record a hit on Peyton Manning, it is increasingly evident that they need to bolster their pass rush.
2012 first-rounder Chandler Jones was a surefire hit, but he's the only player along the line that can be counted on to win one-on-one battles. Rob Ninkovich is a strong, versatile three-down player but he is inconsistent as a pass-rusher, and he turns 30 on Feb. 1.
The Patriots may look to move Jones inside and unleash him as an interior rusher at times next season, but that would only exacerbate the need for another DE. Even if they keep him on the outside, Jones needs a partner in crime who can get after the quarterback.
If the Pats want to invest highly at the position, they could look at a player like Stanford's Trent Murphy in the first round. Otherwise, expect at least a mid-to-late-round pick on a pass-rushing specialist like Dee Ford of Auburn.