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2012 NFL Mock Draft, New England Patriots: Peter King Selects Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

In Sports Illustrated's latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft, Peter King projects the New England Patriots to trade one of their first-round picks (these are the Patriots, after all) and use the other to select Nick Perry, a defensive end/outside linebacker from USC.

King believes the Patriots will trade the No. 27 pick for value and use the No. 31 pick on Perry.

All those who know what the Patriots are going to do with this pick, raise your hands. O.K., anybody besides Mike Mayock? After losing Mark Anderson in free agency and without knowing whether soon-to-be 33-year-old Andre Carter will be back -- those two combined for 20 of the Pats' 40 sacks in 2011 -- New England needs an edge rusher. Perry's my best guess.

The National Football Post writes that Perry could stand to improve his pad level, but projects as someone who can impact a team immediately with his pass-rushing abilities off the edge.

Check out Mocking The Draft's overall prospect rankings, or for more on the Patriots, be sure to check out Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston for all the latest news and updates.