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5 Best Options For New England Patriots In First-Round Of 2014 NFL Draft

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5 Best First-Round Options For New England Patriots

New England Patriots NFL Draft
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 New England Patriots season is fully in the books, so it only makes sense that the next thing we turn our attention to is the NFL Draft. With plenty of needs to fill this offseason the Patriots will need to hit on their first-round pick.

New England currently sits at the No. 29 slot, too far down to get one of the top players but still a spot where they should be able to find a starting-quality guy. The Patriots are used to drafting at the bottom end of the first-round and have had some success in the last few years with players like Dont’a Hightower at pick No. 25 and Devin McCourty at 27.

That kind of player is exactly what the Pats are looking for in this year’s draft. Impact guys can be found that late, but that’s generally unlikely. Instead, New England should be looking for a solid pick at a position of need. Mostly they should just be looking to make a pick. If they trade down again I think the fanbase might finally turn on Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots' player personnel team.

New England’s biggest needs are at wide receiver and defensive line. The team was thin at both spots coming into the season and got even thinner after injuries. By the end of the year it was the lack of playmakers on offense that held them back and the lack of a consistent pass rush that kept them from being a dominant defense.

The Patriots have plenty of needs in the draft, but the first-round pick will be especially important. These are the five players they should be targeting in the first-round.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Stephon Tuitt

Stephon Tuitt
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Big and strong, 6-foot-6, 312-pound defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt has spent the last three years dominating the line of scrimmage for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Tuitt can stop the run and rush the passer, and he would be a great addition to the defensive line for the Patriots.

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4. Ra' Shede Hageman

Ra' Shede Hageman
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Another physically imposing defensive lineman with a higher potential ceiling than Tuitt, Ra' Shede Hageman has the tools to be a force on the defensive line in the NFL. His quickness and motor are question marks, but with a coaching staff like the Patriots he could make the most of his impressive potential.

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3. Allen Robinson

Allen Robinson
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

If the Patriots don't address the defensive line with their first-round pick, they'll most likely look for a playmaker on offense. Allen Robinson from Penn State would fit that bill. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds, Allen has the athletic tools to be a first-rounder for sure. His route running and hands could use some work, but his upside is enticing late in the first-round.

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2. Jace Amaro

Jace Amaro
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots spent the last few years building their offense around receiving tight ends just to see one wind up in jail and the other spend more time in the training room than on the field. Jace Amaro, a great physical receiver with excellent hands from Texas Tech, could step right into the void.

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1. Kelvin Benjamin

Kelvin Benjamin
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin would be a great pick for the Patriots if he falls all the way to No. 29. Big, tall and fast with solid hands, Benjamin is everything New England has been missing on the outside the last few years. Tom Brady could use a red zone target like him next season.