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2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers the New England Patriots Should Target

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2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers the New England Patriots Should Target

New England Patriots - NFL Draft
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What is the New England Patriots' biggest concern moving forward after a disappointing last season that saw them finish 12 – 4, losing to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game? They have to protect Tom Brady. Brady can tear apart opposing defenses, even with all the injuries that the Patriots suffered last season, but no quarterback can play at their best when they’re trying not to get sacked every other play.

Just look at the Patriots' four losses. New England didn’t lose games in QB vs. QB shootouts that Brady fell short, they lost in defensive struggles that Brady was forced to make decisions early. Last year's mistakes are why what the Patriots do in the 2014 NFL Draft will be crucial to their future as early as next season.

New England has to get better and deeper all along the offensive line in the 2014 NFL Draft. They desperately need guards that can play game-in and game-out without getting tired. Or at least they need multiple guards that they can swap in and out throughout a game. On top of that, the Patriots could use some depth at the CB position as well as across the defensive line, and they must address these issues if they are to go back to the AFC Championship and potentially the Super Bowl.

Here are five late-round sleepers in the 2014 NFL Draft that New England would benefit from drafting. Feel free to comment in the section below if you have any other suggestions of late-round players that the Patriots should consider drafting.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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No. 5 OG Zach Fulton – Tennessee

Zach Fulton - NFL
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Fulton isn’t as highly touted as the other members of the Tennessee offensive line, but he shouldn’t be overlooked.

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No. 4 OG Andrew Norwell – Ohio State

Andrew Norwell - NFL
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

He's a tall, athletic guard who could be another big body the Patriots desperately need to block for Tom Brady.

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No. 3 DE Taylor Hart – Oregon

Taylor Hart - NFL
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Hart is a player that doesn’t look like a defensive end, but he’s much more athletic than he looks. He’s a player that could definitely end up successful in the NFL.

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No. 2 DT DeAndre Coleman – California

DeAndre Coleman - NFL
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

He looks the part of an NFL player, but lacks some agility. Coleman could make an impact off the bench, however.

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No. 1 CB Walt Aikens – Liberty

Walt Aikens - NFL
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

In the picture, it's him getting beat, but Aikens has all the physical tools needed to succeed in the NFL. He’s a little rough around the edges, but Bill Belichick will get him in line.