2012 NFL Mock Draft: Mark Barron, Whitney Mercilus Projected To Patriots In Latest SB Nation Mock

The Patriots always seem to have an abundance of draft picks, and this year is no different.

In the latest SB Nation NFL mock draft, the Patriots have been slated to select strong safety Mark Barron out of Alabama and Whitney Mercilus, an outside linebacker from Illinois.

Both of these picks would make a ton of sense. No team in the NFL needs more help in it's secondary than New England. It was one bad day after the next for the Patriots defense, and it was ultimately their undoing in the Super Bowl.

Barron can come right in and make an impact. He learned under Nick Saban and his complex schemes in the toughest conference around. Barron was a star among many on the Alabama defense and could very well be a force at the next level.

Mercilus would help bolster a pass-rush that was lacking at times. Andre Carter and Mark Anderson showed they could get to the quarterback, but neither has done it consistently over their careers. Mercilus would bring a youthful presence alongside Jerod Mayo as well.

The one thing that worries NFL men about Mercilus is his lack of production throughout his college career. However, when you amass 16 sacks in one year like Mercilus did in 2011, it's hard not to take notice.

The Pats will almost certainly address the defensive side of the ball early and often in the draft unless a stud receiver is available. Both Barron and Mercilus would be fine additions.

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