New England Patriots' Day 1 2014 NFL Draft Primer

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New England Patriots' Day 1 2014 NFL Draft Primer
USA TODAY Sports
What can fans expect from the Pats front office in the draft?

Thursday night of the NFL draft often elicits the most excitement and attention from fans.  After all, the best prospects come off the board then and provide the best hope for immediate impact in the fall.

However, the New England Patriots are in a different position than most teams.  The Patriots' most important work will not come on Day 1.  While the Pats are certainly far from invincible, their roster is among the deepest in the league, meaning that they are in a position to select for value and long-term fit.

If the Patriots do make the 29th overall selection, there are a few areas fans can expect the team to target.  Depth along the defensive line is the most obvious need.  Whether it's a one-gapping defensive tackle to succeed Vince Wilfork or an edge-rusher to supplement Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, the Pats must find a contributor at some point.

In addition, Rob Gronkowski's checkered injury history makes tight end a first-round possibility.  Gronk's absence submarined New England's coveted offensive versatility in 2013, so the Pats should not be pigeonholed into selecting either a movable "F" or in-line "Y" tight end.

The Patriots are among the most enigmatic teams on draft day, which should create plenty of drama and debate over their selections.  Before the show begins, here's your comprehensive one-stop shop for all the predraft rumors, mock drafts and need-to-know analysis surrounding the Patriots.

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