I was processing the Patriots’ season after their disappointing home playoff loss to the New York Jets, Bart Scott’s interview with ESPN stuck in my head. He told him that the Patriots’ defense “can’t cover a nosebleed.” It turns out he was right. In that game, the Patriots had a good cornerback in Devin McCourty, but who did New York keep exploiting? They exploited the weaker cornerbacks in Kyle Arrington and Darius Butler. It begs the Patriot fan to wonder, do we have enough elite cornerbacks to get back to the Super Bowl without a legitimate pass rush?
Now, you can make up for the pass rush if you have top cornerbacks. Look at those same New York Jets. With Darrelle Revis and now Antonio Cromartie, New York was able to drop their guys into coverage and not allow any room for receivers to get open. This limited guys like Branch, Welker, and Gronkowski to get yards after the catch.
On a lot of mock drafts, New England’s picks are projected most likely in the first round to come from the defensive end or the running back positions. If that is the case, I would want New England to go after cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders. Asomugha’s contract was voided after the 2010 season because he did not make certain incentives on his deal.
Yes, New England does get Leigh Bodden back after an ACL tear last summer. But, how will Bodden’s health be coming off a surgery that basically needs two years to heal up to full strength? It is a huge gamble to put him at that number two cornerback slot. Asomugha is a playmaker who can develop his own island in Foxboro and be a part of a championship team in his prime. Asomugha and McCourty could equal Revis and Cromartie in terms of production and definitely improve a very bad pass defense.
New England made a play at Julius Peppers last offseason and now they need to make the right move in March regardless of the CBA situation and get themselves a bonafide star. Plus, it would allow them to have a veteran leader on the defensive side of the ball to compete with the Jets come 2011.