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NFL Draft 2012: Patriots To Address Defensive Needs In First Round?

The New England Patriots missed out on the bliss of a Super Bowl victory on Sunday, and the city of Boston has been mired in a defeating hangover since. One tried and true remedy for the pain of defeat is a renewed focus on the forthcoming 2012 NFL draft.

The Patriots hold two picks in the first round (27th and 31st) and two in the second, which should equate to the opportunity to address multiple needs on either side of the football. On Sunday, it was the Patriots defense that stepped up against the Giants, but it's a flawed unit with limitations rushing the passer and defending in the secondary. has recently released it's post-Super Bowl mock draft, and believes the Patriots will address those needs head on by taking Whitney Mercilus of Illinois and Alfonzo Dennard of Nebraska with their top two picks.

Mercilus projects as a defensive end or outside linebacker depending on the scheme, and led the nation in sacks in 2011 with 16. Dennard, meanwhile, is a highly-regarded cornerback who would add talent and depth to a thin secondary.

For all your Patriots news and notes, head to Pats Pulpit, and for all the latest 2012 NFL Draft coverage, check out Mocking the Draft.