Bill Belichick has been known to take another team's trash and make it the Patriots' treasure. The linebacker position shows it well, where Rob Ninkovich emerged as a starting outside linebacker last season after being cut by the Saints as a long-snapper, and undrafted free agent Dane Fletcher made an impact in the nickel in his rookie campaign. Despite opportunities to address the position with multiple draft picks, Belichick chose to only spend a sixth-round pick on the OLB spot, grabbing developmental prospect Markell Carter.
While there have been cries to improve the pass rush, we hear that Belichick is not expected to make any moves on the defensive side of the ball in free agency. It also doesn't help that there isn't a strong crop of outside 'backers available.
In addition to Jermaine Cunningham, who will be counted on to step up in his second season, DE-OLB Eric Moore could be one of the reasons the Patriots can feel comfortable standing pat during free agency. A typical Belichick find (the 6-4, 268-pound Moore went from the UFL to the Patriots last December), Moore had two sacks and two forced fumbles in his four games with the club and should continue to contribute off the edge in 2011.
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