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NFL New England Patriots

2013 NFL Draft: New England Patriots’ Top 5 Needs

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New England Patriots Top 5 Needs in the 2013 NFL Draft

Patriots
Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports

In 2011, the New England Patriots were close to winning their fourth Super Bowl title in the past 11 years, but failed to beat the New York Giants. The same Giants the Patriots fell to in Super Bowl XLII, back in 2007.

The Patriots had another shot to win a Super Bowl in 2012, but were unable to get past the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

Following two disappointing endings over the past couple of seasons, the Patriots need to make some smart decisions in 2013. Bill Belichick will need to do some serious research, both in the free agent market and the upcoming NFL Draft.

This past week, the Patriots decided to let Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead sign with other teams, leaving a couple of big wholes in the lineup. Welker signed with the Denver Broncos, while Woodhead took his talents to the San Diego Chargers.

Hours after Welker signed with the Broncos, the Patriots inked former St. Louis Ram Danny Amendola to a five-year deal. The addition of a wide receiver fills the gap, but the team still needs depth.

The Patriots had a rough season in 2012 on the defensive side of the ball. The cornerbacks and safeties weren’t not up to par in the NFL. The trip to the AFC Championship game came on the shoulders of Tom Brady and the offense. There is a good chance they could’ve gone all the way if they had a great defense to add to their great offense.

In just over a month, on April 25, the Patriots will get to make their first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Patriots fans never really know who Belichick will pick, but all hope he stays in the first round and doesn’t trade out.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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Cornerback

Cornerback
Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

Free agency opened on March 12, and the New England Patriots only have Alfonzo Dennard and Ras-I Dowling on their roster. With that said, it is obvious the Patriots are in need of a cornerback. Bill Bellichick should take the best player on the board, but if there is a cornerback available, take him!

The Patriots are fans of corners who can play zone and man defense with great tackling ability. Luckily, this year's draft has a bunch of them available.

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Defensive Tackle

Defensive Tackle
Mitch Stringer - USA TODAY Sports

A nice addition to the New England Patriots would be to upgrade the defensive tackle position. However, Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick would be just fine. If the Patriots don’t want an upgrade at DT, they can always look for interior pass rushers.

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Linebacker

Linebacker
Matthew Emmons - USA TODAY Sports

Currently, the New England Patriots have three good linebackers that have very similar skill sets, in Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Dont'a Hightower. However, the Patriots lack a top cover man.

The team need to focus on defense during this year’s draft, and a nice rookie linebacker could be a great addition to the lineup.

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Wide Receiver

Wide Receiver
Mark L. Baer - USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots recently lost Wes Welker to free agency to the Denver Broncos. In his place, they signed Danny Amendola to similar money.

It would be out of character for Bill Bellichick to draft a wide receiver in the first round, but it would be a welcome sight in the northeast. The Patriots have had multiple star receivers over the past few years, but its time to build one from within. Drafting a receiver could really benefit the team.

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Quarterback

Quarterback
Robert Deutsch - USA TODAY

Yes, thats right, the New England Patriots could use a quarterback. Rumor has it that the Cleveland Browns are still interested in a Ryan Mallett trade. However, if the Patriots trade their backup quarterback, it will leave a rather large whole on the roster.

The Patriots have been good at developing quarterbacks behind Tom Brady and by drafting one this year, they potentially develop a great backup to Brady.