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NFL draft questions: New England Patriots want picks

With the 2013 NFL Draft only weeks away, Around the League will examine one big question facing all 32 teams. We've already examined the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets. Next up: The New England Patriots.

Are the Patriots going to trade down like crazy?


The Patriots usually come into the NFL draft with extra picks. This year, the opposite is true. New England owns picks in the first three rounds, but nothing in rounds four through six. The Patriots cashed in their surplus during last year's draft to move up for defenders Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower, and used picks on veteran acquisitions like cornerback Aqib Talib.

Three picks in the first six rounds won't be enough for a Bill Belichick-coached team. Belichick is the ultimate horse trader on draft day and it would be a surprise if he didn't find a way to acquire extra selections in this draft. The Patriots are in a good spot for it. A team such as the Buffalo Bills or Jacksonville Jaguars might look to trade with the Patriots at the end of the first round in order to draft a quarterback.

The Patriots notoriously are difficult to predict, but the strength of this draft class matches up very well with their biggest needs: Wide receiver, pass-rush help, guard depth and safety.

This is not the easiest 53-man roster to make in the NFL, but the Patriots still have some big roster holes. Belichick usually prefers to have more swings at the plate, create a lot of competition and see who sticks. That strategy makes more sense than ever in this deep draft, which doesn't feature much top-tier talent.

The Patriots might be short on picks going into the draft, but I expect that will change when we get to Radio City Music Hall.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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