The New England Patriots finished 29th against the pass in 2012, familiar territory for them. Defending against quarterbacks has been an ongoing issue for years now, but it also has not stopped New England from reaching the Super Bowl in two of the last six seasons. So will they address that need early in the draft on April 25th by taking a corner or safety, or will Bill Belichick and company go another direction in the first round?
Despite getting a significant boost from Tom Brady, the Patriots were really more well-known for their defense than their offense when they won three Super Bowls in the early part of the century. That has significantly drifted the other direction as they are nearly impossible to stop from scoring, but rather easy to pass on.
Many mock drafts have projected a cornerback or safety to the Patriots so far, but Todd McShay of ESPN went a slightly different direction in his latest: He had the Pats taking defensive end Datone Jones out of UCLA:
Jones could offer help along the defensive front, giving the Patriots another versatile player who can line up at end opposite Chandler Jones and reduce inside to rush the passer in sub packages.
It is not as though the Patriots have not continuously tried to address their issues on defense either. Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower, and Chandler Jones are just a few of the recent high picks spent on that side of the ball. Will Jones be the next?
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