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2013 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation has Patriots going with Fresno St. safety

The SB Nation mock draft has the New England Patriots selecting safety Phillip Thomas in the first round or possibly going with a wide receiver. Thomas was a Thorpe Award finalist at Fresno St. in his senior season.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Even though the New England Patriots still have the postseason ahead of them it is never to early to look at the 2013 Draft, especially now that the draft order has been locked in with the end of the regular season.

By virtue of their 12-4 regular season record and playoff berth in 2012, the Patriots will pick between 20th and 32nd in the upcoming draft, depending on when they are eliminated from the playoffs. For the purpose of his first mock draft, SB Nation's Dan Kadar had the Patriots picking 30th overall.

In the SB Nation mock draft, Kadar projects the Patriots to select safety Phillip Thomas from Fresno St. University in the first round. As he wrote:

The Patriots need a coverage safety and Thomas may be the best one in the draft. New England has shown in the past that its not averse to taking a player slightly early, and that would be case here.

Thomas recorded 84 total tackles in 2012, including four sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. The 6'1 senior had eight interceptions and forced four fumbles while being named an All-American and Jim Thorpe Award finalist.

Kadar also said that New England could look for a receiver with its first round pick. Wideout was a position where the Patriots had injury and depth issues this season.

To see the rest of Kadar's first-round projections and what he believes teams will do with their picks, check out the SB Nation mock draft.