Mock thoughts: Branch & Barron

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
10:15
AM ET
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com produces the latest version of his mock draft, and he looks to the defensive side of the ball for the Patriots.

At No. 27, he envisions a scenario where Bill Belichick drafts the first Clemson player in his 13 years picking players in New England. The choice would be defensive end/outside linebacker Andre Branch.
"The Patriots need to add pass rushers to their defensive arsenal to take some pressure off the secondary," Brugler writes. "Some consider him a defensive end, others a linebacker, but regardless, Branch knows how to get to the quarterback and could be an ideal fit for New England's hybrid 3-4 defense."

At the 31st spot, Alabama safety Mark Barron gets the nod.
"It's hard to believe the Patriots reached the Super Bowl after ranking just 31st in the league in pass yards allowed. The Patriots need to target a defensive back in the draft and Mark Barron would be able to fill a need immediately at safety," Brugler writes. "Although he hasn't been able to work out for teams because of hernia surgery, teams know what Barron brings to the table as he is by far the top player at his position in this class."

To read the mock draft, CLICK HERE.

ANALYSIS: For those wondering if the Patriots have done enough to address the defense, this type of scenario would be well-received. Both players fill need areas, and both made an impression from this perspective at the combine.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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