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New England Patriots might pick WR in 2013 NFL Draft

The New England Patriots have a void on their roster at wide receiver. They admitted as much when they made their play for Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders.

The Pittsburgh Steelers matched the Patriots' offer for Sanders on Sunday. So what's next for the Patriots?

Remember, Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker both are gone (and no, Lloyd's not coming back.) Welker's replacement, Danny Amendola, is a player with upside, but he has significant durability concerns.

The Patriots need to hit on a receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft who will make an instant impact. But as ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss pointed out Sunday, history tells us not to assume the Patriots will pull it off.

The Patriots have drafted 10 receivers in the Bill Belichick era. The list is less than inspiring:

» 2002: Deion Branch (second), David Givens (second)
» 2003: Bethel Johnson (second)
» 2004: P.K. Sam (fifth)
» 2006: Chad Jackson (second)
» 2008: Matt Slater (fifth)
» 2009: Brandon Tate (third), Julian Edelman (seventh)
» 2010: Taylor Price (third)
» 2012: Jeremy Ebert (seventh)

2013 NFL Draft: Team needs

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Our analysts examine each team's game plan entering the NFL draft, identifying biggest needs, potential fits and more. More ...

As things stand, the Patriots will have just five picks when they enter Radio City Music Hall in New York. The events of Sunday make it highly probably the Patriots will use one of their first two picks on a wide receiver -- perhaps both.

As you can see, Belichick never has taken a wideout with his first-round pick. Will that change in the 2013 NFL Draft?

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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