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NFL Mock Draft 2013: Patriots getting help on both sides of the ball in ESPN mocks

The experts are split on where the Patriots will go with their first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Here's a look at who Mel Kiper and Todd McShay think will end up in New England.


The New England Patriots came close to another Super Bowl in 2012, and it may only take a small tweak like a strong first-round draft pick to put them over the top. The team is far from perfect though, and they could use some help on both sides of the ball.

ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper released their updated mock drafts last week, and they have different takes on which way the Patriots will go in the first round of the NFL Draft. McShay has the team getting some offensive line help in the form of North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper:

This is a pure value pick. Cooper is a stud, the most mobile offensive line prospects in the class and a player with a chance to become an elite interior linemen in the NFL. Patriots fans surely want to see a WR with this pick and Allen or Tennessee's Justin Hunter would fit the bill, or perhaps a slot weapon like West Virginia's Tavon Austin. Cooper is an absolute steal if he lasts this long, though, especially given the durability issues current G Logan Mankins has dealt with in recent seasons.

Kiper, on the other hand, has the Patriots taking Florida safety Matt Elam:

What you get from Elam is versatility at safety. He's adept at sitting back and playing center field, using his speed and instincts to make plays in the passing game. But when it's called for, Elam can surface at the line of scrimmage and even attack the backfield. He's not a big safety, but gains in quickness and range what he lacks in size, and he simply isn't shy about taking on bigger ball-carriers, or lining up hits. New England might have found some solutions at corner, but the Patriots could use another safety, and Bill Belichick will find Elam's versatility useful.

SB Nation's Dan Kadar released his latest mock draft on Monday, and he thinks Bill Belichick and the Patriots will get some help for Tom Brady in explosive Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.