NFL Mock Draft 2012: Todd McShay Projects Patriots Will Take Courtney Upshaw, Harrison Smith

This weekend is ESPN Todd McShay's Super Bowl. After all, he dedicates his professional life to the study of the NFL Draft, and works tirelessly to evaluate and project where players will land to start their NFL careers.

He's released his final first round mock draft, and not surprisingly, he has the Patriots targeting a pass rusher and some secondary help.

At pick 27, McShay likes the Patriots to take Courtney Upshaw, a defensive end/outside linebacker out of Alabama. Bill Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick Saban are long-time friends, and it would make sense for the Patriots to target a player Saban has previously praised.

As for pick 31, McShay could see New England turning to Harrison Smith from Notre Dame, a safety. He's considered by most to be the second highest-rated safety in this year's class.

For more on the Patriots, please be sure to check out our blog Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston for all the latest news and updates. For more mock draft information, check out Mocking The Draft. Prospect profiles can also be found at the National Football Post, an SB Nation partner.

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