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2012 NFL Free Agency: Could Patriots Acquire Cliff Avril?

The 2011 New England Patriots made it all the way to Super Bowl XLVI, but like in Super Bowl XLII, they lost to the Giants. The team as a whole played very well, especially on offense, but there are major holes on the roster that the Patriots need to fill if they want to have another shot at the big game in 2012.

The Pats managed to sack the opposing quarterback 40 times throughout the 2011 regular season which put them in the middle of the pack in the league but they could have used more considering their secondary was one of the worst in the NFL. A lot of pressure on the quarterback helps limit any weaknesses in a secondary and's Pete Prisco feels that the Patriots should look to boost their pass rushing ability in free agency.

In an article in which he listed a free agent that would fit well on each team, he said that the Patriots and defensive end Cliff Avril would be a good fit.

This is a team that needs to get better at rushing the passer and Avril is a young player who is coming off an 11-sack season. They have to work on fixing that defense.

In SB Nation's latest mock draft, the Patriots select a defensive end, Fletcher Cox, at No. 27, and a cornerback, Alfonzo Dennard at no. 31. It's unlikely that the team could acquire Avril because Detroit will likely use the franchise tag on him if they feel that they may not be able to work out a long-term deal.

For more on the Patriots, heat to Pats Pulpit.