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2012 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots Projected To Select Jerel Worthy, Bruce Irvin

New England is expected to use the 2012 NFL Draft to upgrade its defense.

Despite a 13-3 record that granted them the top playoff seed in the AFC, the New England Patriots are commonly viewed as a team in need of a defensive upgrade. The Patriots are expected to use the 2012 NFL Draft to address some of those needs, according to SB Nation's 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

New England has two picks near the end of the first round, acquiring one from the New Orleans Saints. If the Patriots choose not to trade one or both of those picks -- Bill Belichick is the master of trading present draft picks for future draft picks -- SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber sees them using both to select defenders, Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and West Virginia outside linebacker Bruce Irvin.

Related: Bruce Irvin NFL Draft Prospect Notes

30. New England Patriots (from New Orleans Saints), Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

Scoring a gazillion points per game helped camouflage a defense that just wasn't very good this year. They need some youth and some power along their defensive line. Worthy is a good five technique who solidifies their defensive front.

31. New England Patriots, Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia

The Patriots also need pass rushers, regardless of what defensive scheme they opt for in 2012. Irvin has impressive raw rushing skills and blazing speed. Obviously, Bill Belichick will be trading one or both of these picks.

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