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Patriots Roster Prediction #44: OLB Rob Ninkovich

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Player Name: OLB Rob Ninkovich

Experience: 4 Years in the NFL, 1 with the New England Patriots

Past Role: Ninkovich is a man of many hats. He was considered to be the long snapper for the New Orleans Saints. He was a 3-4 OLB with the Miami Dolphins. He was the 4-3 DE with the Dallas Cowboys. With the Patriots, he continued to do it all. He was a star player on special teams, while providing solid depth in the linebacker core. His play was rewarded with a contract extension with the Patriots through the 2011 season.

Ninkovich was a reserve strongside linebacker and often stepped in to give starter Tully Banta-Cain a rest. He did a good job, in his limited snaps, creating pressure on the quarterback as well as stopping the run. He never took over a game, but he was a solid replacement player.

Predicted Role: Ninkovich should be more of the same this upcoming season. He could excel in the pre-season and become a top back-up for Banta-Cain, but don't be surprised if a player like Shawn Crable emerges and moves Ninkovich down the depth chart. He'll continue to play special teams and his value as an emergency long snapper should give him a roster spot.

Predicted Season Numbers: 35 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 3 Passes Deflected, 1 Forced Fumble

Predicted Depth Chart: #3 ROLB, #2 LS

Summary: Ninkovich will provide great depth on the defense and should be an adequate player if called upon. He won't be making any Pro Bowls, but he'll definitely contribute to the team.