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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Robert Woods could make Patriots even better for good

It's just a matter of "should" and "would" if Woods could make New England brighter under Belichick's hood.

Robert Laberge

The New England Patriots already had the best offense in the NFL, scoring 34.8 points per game in 2012. That was without tight end Aaron Hernandez for six games and Rob Gronkowski for five. Now that Tom Brady's contract is settled, the Patriots will definitely be looking for reinforcements at the wide receiver position, with 32-year-old Wes Welker set for free agency and Brandon Lloyd being right around the same age.

Is that how the Pats will use their first-round pick, or will they focus on the defensive side of the ball where they still struggle to consistently stop the pass?

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A bevy of cornerbacks and safeties have been mocked to the Patriots in recent weeks, including SBNation's Matthew Fairburn mocking cornerback Logan Ryan as the 29th overall pick, but it wouldn't be outlandish to see them take a receiver. Especially if Welker is allowed to leave through free agency.

One such possibility is USC wide receiver Robert Woods, and Rob Rang of CBS Sports projected Woods to the Patriots in his latest mock draft:

The tight ends are the obvious focus in New England's offense but with Wes Welker scheduled for free agency and little size at the position other than Brandon Lloyd, the Patriots might be looking for reinforcements at wideout. Woods has flown a bit under the radar since leaving USC after his junior season but is a heady, tough player whose pro-ready game will be appreciated by Bill Belichick and his staff.

While Woods took a backseat to young phenom Marqise Lee for the Trojans, he is a great prospect in his own right. He'd also fill a potentially huge hole for New England, and in this offense he could be a star. However, the Patriots are known to trade back and they probably wouldn't be scared to see what they could get in the second round instead, all while picking up a few extra picks.