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Ten Patriots for 2009: No. 4, CB Leigh Bodden

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Note: The big boss (aka MaPatsFan) will be away for a bit, so I'll be taking over for this series while he's gone.

Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs. These were the names Patriots fans had come to know when it came to the defensive backfield for New England. Both of these players are now cornerbacks for the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving us to wonder who our new starters will be once the 2009 season begins. Bill Belichick addressed the position with three draft picks recently, bringing Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, and Darius Butler onboard. Free agency netted us Shawn Springs and...

Number 4 on our list: Leigh Bodden.

Bodden was signed to a one year deal. You know what that means, right? He'll be playing for a big payday in 2010 (in what could be an uncapped year). Whether Bodden ends up being a one-year rental for us or signing long term, we know he'll be motivated to play hard in 2009. Plus, after playing on the Cleveland Browns and the historically bad Detroit Lions, he sounds excited to play for a winner... and it's no secret that we need someone to step up in our secondary.

"I only visited here. I planned other visits, but I didn’t really feel like it was worth it," Bodden said. "You’ve got to love [Belichick]. When I first met with him, when I first came here on a visit, we just sat down and talked, and he’s just a down-to-earth guy. We talked football, background. He wants to win, and that’s what I want to do. That’s all that we’re here for."

We'll have to see if he can repeat his performance from 2007 (career-high six interceptions) rather than 2008 (only one interception). The good news is that his breakout year occurred while he was playing for Romeo Crennel, in a similar defense employed right here in New England. His down year came on an 0-16 team that tried to fit him into a Tampa-2 scheme with little supporting cast. One writer calls the Bodden and Patriot hookup a "match made in football heaven." Chad Johnson (or Ocho-Cinco... or whatever the heck he's named these days) once called him one of the best cornerbacks he's gone up against in the NFL.

"Yes, he is one of the best cover corners that I have gone against," Johnson said. "He ranks right up there with Champ (Bailey), DeAngelo (Hall) and Nate Clements because of his ability to cover a small area of the field with no help."

While our younger cornerbacks come along, keep an eye on Bodden. He should see a lot of snaps on defense and this could be a big year for him. If he's looking to bounce back from his time spent with the Lions, there's no better coach to do it under than defensive guru Bill Belichick.

What do you think, Pats fans? Do you think Bodden will have a good year? Bad year? Should we have signed him for longer than one year, or do we wait for him to "prove it?" Your thoughts are always appreciated.