(SportsNetwork.com) - The world champs have some work to do especially after losing veteran cornerbacks Darelle Revis and Brandon Browner in the offseason. An obvious need, however, is not necessarily the way Bill Belichick is going to go.
The veteran coach is usually thinking about bolstering his offensive and defensive fronts above all else before taking care of any other needs and the Patriots could certainly add a run stuffer or a pass rusher. Meanwhile, offensive guard is in play, as is a deep threat outside the numbers on offense.
At No. 32 overall, keep an eye on two superior talents who are falling for various reasons. Missouri edge defender Shane Ray has a toe injury that has spooked off some suitors, while ultra-talented receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is only in the conversation this late because of his off-the-field travails.
"Really what we're concerned about is role and how they fit on the team, not necessarily round or grade," Pats director of player personnel Nick Caserio said when describing his organization's thought process. "Let's figure out the player, let's define his role. What's this player going to be for our team, and then where that player eventually ends up falling in the draft. Just talking to that 20-45 (player) range, I think you're going to find quality football players within that range."
2014 Record: 12-4
Top Needs: WR, OL, CB, DL
First Three Picks: No. 32, No. 64, No. 96
Number of Selections: 9 (1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 7)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2014 - Dominique Easley (DT, Florida); 2013 - none; 2012 - Chandler Jones (DE, Syracuse), Don't'a Hightower (LB, Alabama); 2011 - Nate Solder (OT, Colorado); 2010 - Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers); 2009 - none; 2008 - Jerod Mayo (LB, Tennessee); 2007 - Brandon Meriweather (S, Miami- Florida); 2006 - Laurence Maroney (RB, Minnesota); 2005 - Logan Mankins (G, Fresno State)