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2012 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Select Mark Barron, Jerel Worthy In Latest Projection

SB Nation's latest 2012 NFL mock draft predicts the New England Patriots will use their two first-round selections to improve a defense that occasionally sprouted leaks this season.

27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans), Mark Barron, S, Alabama

The Patriots are vying for the Super Bowl in spite of their secondary, and it could prove to be their undoing against a very good group of New York receivers. They could use help at cornerback, but the availability of Mark Barron here makes this pick easy for a team using Sterling Moore at safety in the playoffs. Barron's tackling ability alone is an upgrade for the Patriots' defense.

31. New England Patriots, Jerel Worthy, DE, Michigan State

Vince Wilfork's inspired play might be the least talked about ingredient in the Patriots' Super Bowl run but they still need to add some youth and strength along their defensive front. Worthy is the perfect combination of a stout run stopper and a big man, 320 pounds, who has the explosiveness to get to the passer.

Mocking The Draft ranks Barron No. 26 among its Top 100 NFL Draft Prospects, citing his ability to lay big hits despite his lack of elite athleticism for the position. Worthy is ranked No. 49 on the basis of his good size, quick first step and versatility.

For more New England Patriots coverage, visit our team page or our blog Pats Pulpit. For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, check out the SB Nation blog Mocking The Draft.