New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

How to Replace a Mike Vrabel (in a Couple of Years)

With Mike Vrabel exiting the Patriots organization via trade to Kansas City, an obvious hole needs to be filled in the defense. It looks like the Patriots saw this coming drafting and signing 5 young LB’s in last years draft, including 4 that can play outside (Crable, Guyton, Redd, and Ruud.)

Although Guyton looked decent in spurts, none really showed that they have what it takes to be a starter in the league. I think that although they are not going to be able to bring in a rookie right away to perform the way Mayo did, I look to Connor Barwin (DE-Cinci) to fill that spot in the next 2 years.

He makes perfect sense at the 34th pick. He is a hard-working kid who will grind in practice, learn everything he can from Thomas, and then step in as a top-tier pass rusher. After only a year of playing Defensive End, he notched 11 sacks and some 17 or so tackles for a loss.

If you watch his game film the motor just doesn’t stop. He will run down backs from the opposite of the field. He showed great agility at the combine (4.66 40, 6.87 cone drill, and a 40.5 inch vertical.) His size is ideal for a 3-4 linebacker (6’3″ and 255lbs.) I think it would be fantastic 6 years from now to see him lining up next to Mayo reaking havoc in the opposition’s backfield.

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