2010 Patriots Team Needs: Linebackers

2009 Unit Grade: C+
2010 Starter Need: High
2010 Depth Need: High

The linebacking corps, who was supposed to be led to reigning DROY Jerod Mayo, was led by San Francisco cast-off Tully Banta-Cain, at least on paper. Mayo was injured in the season opener vs. Buffalo and seemed to never fully recover. Shawn Crable (shocking!) and Tyrone McKenzie also succumbed to the injury bug before the season started.

The Patriots need to find a viable pass-rush option to pair with Tully Banta-Cain if he re-signs. This could come through the draft or free-agency. Adalius Thomas and Derrick Burgess were inconsistent at best, and ineffective at worst in 2009.

Tyrone McKenzie should provide some competition for Gary Guyton at the inside linebacker position.

Potential NFL Draft Prospects: Rolando McClain, AJ Edds, Pat Angerer, Austen Lane, Jerry Hughes, Sergio Kindle, Ricky Sapp, Micah Johnson

Tully Banta-Cain
2009 Grade: A-
Signed Through: 2013

Jerod Mayo
2009 Grade: B-
Signed Through: 2012

Rob Ninkovich
2009 Grade: C+
Signed Through: RFA

Gary Guyton
2009 Grade: C+
Signed Through: Exclusive RFA

Pierre Woods
2009 Grade: C
Signed Through: RFA

Derrick Burgess
2009 Grade: C
Signed Through: UFA

Adalius Thomas
2009 Grade: F
Signed Through: 2012

Shawn Crable
2009 Grade: I
Signed Through: 2011

Tyrone McKenzie
2009 Grade: I
Signed Through: 2012


9 Responses to “2010 Patriots Team Needs: Linebackers”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think an F is high grade for Adalius


  2. Anonymous says:

    Gotta do something with Adalius?!?! Hopefuly he is gone. They need someone like old Ted Johnson to take on blocks. The two TCU LB’s are too small. They need a passrush, no matter where it comes from. B.Graham cant cover anyone and Kindle cant fight off a block. Mayo and Guyton have the same issue. Mcclain would be a dream.

    Oh,and someone wrote we will get a starter out of Crable or Mckenzie. Dont know where u get that hunch but thats laughable.


  3. Anonymous says:

    A great group and the core of the “D” went through disassembly last year. Thomas??? Can you say bust?

    Need a leader, impact player and versatile pass-rusher. Where are you Willie McGinnest?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Personally, I love Hawkeyes being all over the board. However, I don’t think this area needs addressing as much as people may think. Tyrone and Shawn should produce atleast one starter, most likely being Tyrone. Guyton and Mayo, are pretty solid, and Guyton has improved drastically. It would be sweet to get one more solid backer, however, I would guess the first pick will likely be DL.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m fairly certain that it’s no longer useful to analyze the Pats defense/players/potential FA and draft acquisitions strictly in terms of a “classic base 3-4”. I believe that 2009 more or less represented the first step in a shift away from that, though to what exactly, I’m not sure. TBC’s role as a DE/OLB “hybrid” in 2009 (and, to a lesser extent, that of Burgess and Ninkovich) might be thought of as a “proof of concept” and more indicative of the “template” BB may be using from here on.

    BTW – TBC’s and Burgess’ sack totals in this regard don’t even come close to telling the whole story. TBC was able to get pressure on opposing QBs most of the time even when he didn’t get home – AND, he was also pretty decent against the run. Burgess played basically the same role on the other side, but simply wasn’t as effective.

    If BB intends to continue this front-seven role shift, I think he’ll be targeting DE/OLB hybrids more in the TBC mold – guys like Graham and Worilds – rather than more traditional 3-4 OLB’s like Hughes or Kindle (who has similar flaws in his game to those of Burgess).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do not see how the 2009 grade was a B! Burgess and Pierre Woods were D’s!

    So the total is more like C-!

  7. Pats Fan says:

    TBC is not a starter. He wasn’t one here when we had quality starting OLB’s and he didn’t stay in the starting lineup in SF which is why he came crawling back for no money.

    5 of his 10 sacks came against the 32nd ranked pass blocking offensive line of the Buffalo Bills. Another 1.5 sacks came against the 28th ranked pass blocking offensive line of the Jaguars. I stopped looking after that. His season was not that great. Certainly not an A grade.

    Know how many sacks he had against Indy and NO? Zero.

  8. Admin says:

    Tully Banta-Cain played great in 2009, but he needs to be the secondary guy.

  9. Bryan says:

    Burgess mainly played DE. Do you think Cain is the long term answer?

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