Ten Patriots for 2009: No. 8, OLB Shawn Crable

via cache.boston.com

Watching the 2009 NFL Draft, many of us thought, and rightly so, that Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio would grab a pass rushing OLB after sending Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs in a package deal with Matt Cassel.  BZZZZZZTTTTT!!  Were we wrong.  When questioning the collective sanity of the Patriots organization, I often try to remind myself that they're much smarter than me about this business called Professional Football.  After all, I wouldn't want Hoodie building Linux networks with hundreds of clients now would I?  Scratch that.  Belichick probably co-wrote Linux with Linus Torvalds during an off-season.  Moving on...

I believe we have lacked a serious pass rush since the 2007 season and I don't think I'm alone in this belief.  Mike Vrabel will always be one of my favorite Patriots, but I am of the opinion he began to lose a step in 2008.  At 34, age is certainly a factor and the trade to KC was a good one for the Patriots, who were looking to get younger, and the Chiefs, who needed a veteran presence on the field and in the locker room.

Speaking of sanity, you may question mine for not putting Adalius Thomas or Pierre Woods on this list.  Patience, my friends.  This is an organic process. ;-)  Adalius and Pierre, I'm fairly certain, are locks at this position.  They're the everyday workhorses of our 3-4's edges.  While Thomas has shown flashes of pass rushing ability, I'm not convinced he's of the Jason Taylor caliber...yet.

On comes rookie Shawn Crable.  I say rookie because he was IR'd with a shin injury for the 2008 season, so we have barely any info on the dude.  That being said, he's on this list because I believe he is being earmarked to become the Patriots' main pass rusher.  At 6-5 243 lbs, many have said he needs to bulk up to be effective at the position.  That may be true, but I believe his greatest asset is something different: he has freakishly long arms and a torso to match.  Those long arms will serve to wrap up anyone on the edges as well as block passes, something he did more than once in the 2008 preseason.

So, is Crable the dark horse?  Is he the guy they bring in to terrorize quarterbacks?  Or am I all wet putting him on this list?

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