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NFL New England Patriots

2014 NFL Draft: Ranking The New England Patriots’ Top 5 Needs

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Ranking The New England Patriots' Top 5 Needs

2014 NFL Draft: Ranking the New England Patriots' Top 5 Needs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots' loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship revealed many areas that the Patriots need to improve on in the offseason. With the 2014 NFL draft just a couple of months away, the Patriots will have an opportunity to fill these needs.

When a team can fulfill needs through the draft, it is an efficient way to save money, and we all know Bill Belichick loves saving money. This draft happens to have some quality players in positions of need for the Patriots, and this will be an awesome opportunity for the Patriots to find the impactful rookies they will need on their roster next season.

The Patriots currently have the 29th pick in the draft and it is vital that they hit a home run with their first few picks. Of course, there is a great chance that the Pats trade out of the first round in order to obtain more draft picks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It worked last year, as Belichick found serviceable players in Logan Ryan, Jamie Collins, Dumon Harmon and at times, Aaron Dobson.

It'll be interesting to see what Belichick does in this year's draft, considering Tom Brady's closing window. That in itself makes it more important than ever to draft the right players. This team has championship aspirations and there is no time to fool around.

So, here is a look at what needs the New England Patriots might be able to fill in the upcoming draft.

Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.

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5. Interior Offensive Linemen

Patriots
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line suffered throughout the season because of various injuries and the fact that the interior line just isn't up to par against the pass rush. They are all animals with run blocking, but protecting Tom Brady should be the No. 1 priority. The Pats may have enough to fill this need in house, but it wouldn't be a waste to selected O-lineman in the later rounds for added depth.

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4. Cornerback

CB
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This need may have to be addressed earlier in the draft if New England cannot retain Aqib Talib. Even if Talib is re-signed, the Pats need more depth in the secondary, especially, since the NFL has become a passing league and New England will be playing quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Patriots need DB's with height.

Options: Marcus Roberson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Kieth McGill

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3. Safety

SS
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots need a safety that can make plays and impose his will on receivers in the open field. Steve Gregory was not that guy and his release from the team opens the door to add a hard-hitting safety. Devin McCourty and Harmon do their jobs, but New England needs a playmaker.

The Pats should target safety Deone Buccanon.

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2. Tight End

TE
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski is unreliable and Tom Brady needs a pass-catching tight end in order for the offense to run on all cylinders. A big, pass-catching TE makes the offense so much more dynamic. Also, the two-TE offense would be nice to have in New England once again.

Options: Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, C.J. Fiedororwicz, Xavier Grimble

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1. Pass Rusher

DL
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Pats desperately need someone to get after the QB on a consistent basis. With an extra pass rusher, this defense could be at the top of the league. Beefing up D-line is critical for their Super Bowl hopes. There are many solid options in the interior and on the edge.

Options: DT RaShede Hageman, DT Stephon Tuitt, DT DaQuan Jones, DE Trent Murphy, DE Kareem Martin, DE Marcus Smith, DE Demarcus Lawrence, DE Michael Sam, LB Jeremiah Attaochu