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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus Headed To Patriots In National Football Post Mock

The New England Patriots are busy preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl matchup with the New York Giants, but that doesn't mean we can't look ahead to their first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has recently released his second mock draft, in this version he has former Illinois Fighting Illini defensive end Whitney Mercilus headed to the Patriots at the end of the first round. Here is the analysis:

32. New England Patriots: Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus
Age is creeping up on the Patriots at the defensive end position and Mercilus has the type of measurables to really move up draft boards with a solid post-season.

If Mercilus does perform well in the combine events and works his way into the first round, there would be no better place to land than with the Patriots, where he could compete for a starting job from day one.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on Mercilus, be sure to check outIllinois blog Hail to the Orange. Head over to SB Nation's NFL news hub for more on the 2012 NFL draft.