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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Will the Patriots take safety Phillip Thomas?

In SB Nation's latest mock draft, the New England Patriots are projected to select Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

With an AFC Championship Game showdown against the Baltimore Ravens set for Sunday, the New England Patriots are not yet ready to begin thinking about the 2013 NFL Draft. However, that doesn't mean analysts dedicated to projecting picks with mock drafts aren't thinking about it.

In his latest mock draft, SB Nation's Don Kadar predicts the Patriots will try to improve their secondary with Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas. Although, Kadar says West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin could be an option:

The run on safeties continues. New England needs a coverage safety and Thomas is the best in the draft this year. A wide receiver like Tavon Austin of West Virginia could get a look if Wes Welker isn't brought back next season.

Thomas, listed at 6'1, 215 pounds, compiled five pass breakups and three interceptions in 2012. He also had a knack for getting into opponents' backfield, totaling 12 tackles for loss, four sacks and a quarterback hurry.

If New England decides to go with Austin, the Patriots would be getting an undersized player who puts up impressive numbers. Austin is 5'9 and 171 pounds, but he caught 111 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season.