SB Nation's latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft has been posted, and Ryan Van Bibber has the Patriots going with front seven help with both of their first round selections.
At 27, Van Bibber has New England selecting a falling Michael Brockers:
Brockers is an enigma. Possessing elite natural talent, he still has questions about whether or not he can be more than a one-dimensional run stopper in the NFL. The Patriots will be hoping that they can extract his full value, adding some strength and the ability to penetrate to their defensive line.
We've talked about Brockers a fair deal thus far, as he would be a playmaker on the defensive line capable of playing all three spots. While his stock has taken a hit as of late due to his poor 40 time at the combine, that type of thing hasn't shied the Patriots away from defensive prospects in the past (see: Brandon Spikes). Brockers is also scheduled for a pre-draft visit with the Patriots.
At 31, Illinois defensive end / outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus is the choice:
The Patriots need younger pass rushers, even if they keep Mark Anderson. Mercilus carries the dreaded one-year-wonder label. New England will see the raw talent he possesses as well as the "scheme versatility" that has suddenly become a hallmark of the Patriots' defense.
Mercilus is another guy we've talked about extensively. I really like what he brings to the table as a pass rusher, even if it comes with the "one year wonder" label. At some point, you've got to take a risk on a pass rusher. And Mercilus possesses a lot of the tools that could make him a great pass rusher for the Patriots.
Overall, I would be pretty satisfied with this scenario. With the Patriots adding a lot of offensive help in free agency, the stage is set for them to add some defensive playmakers in the draft. This mock draft capitalizes on that opportunity for New England.